Monday, February 22, 2016

Lowe's has a robot that speaks 7 languages and can help customers find anything in the warehouse

Lowes Company is a well known American franchise that controls a chain of retail home improvement and appliance stores. As of recently the franchise has introduced the Oshbot, which is a 5-foot-tall robot that can help costumers find anything they need within the warehouse. The Oshbot has many features that will make the experience for customers and the employees quicker and more efficient. The robot is only being tested at this point in hopes for it to reach all US stores sometime soon.

The article focuses on a number of features the Oshbot contains. With facial recognition, it has the ability to identify you as a human and then help you find what your’re looking for.  After you asking for the item it will ask you to confirm exactly what you are looking for and then lead you to the location where it is positioned. It is fast, easy and reduces the stress of the customer when entering a Lowes warehouse. Another idea that article addresses is the concern that many customers complain about, which is language barrier between them and the employees. With the addition of the Oshbot that problem can be easily solved. In fact the article states that ‘it is fluent in seven different language which includes English, Spanish and five different Asian languages.’ One last idea that I found interesting is that the Oshbot is not just there for the consumer but also helps the employees track inventory. The Oshbot has the proficiency ‘‘to track inventory in real time and alert employees when something is either out of stock, stolen or not on the right shelf.” With this feature it can also spot new revenue opportunities for Lowes stores.  It is said, "that eventually the Oshbot will also be able to scan items and tell customers whether the store has more in stock.” Like Lowes, many retailers are using employee robots to increase productivity, speed and customer service. It is important that Lowes keeps up with technological advancements because this is becoming our future.
What I noticed about the article is it focuses more on the positives rather than mentioning more of the concerns of the Oshbot. It stated that it is being tested, but fails to mention how the experiment is going or how people are responding to it. Many people may not feel comfortable with asking a robot for help so it is important to constantly report feedback. Also with any first model comes a number of glitches so what exactly are those malfunctions and how they plan to fix it. One major point I feel the article failed to focus on is the number of employees who will lose their jobs when the company decides to move forward with this operation. Although these robots will work for free there is still the down payment of money in order to purchase them and up keep them. The more robots purchased the less employees they will need to have.   



  1. Hi Kristi,
    I found this article very interesting, and I think you make many valid points. First, I think it is amazing that this robot knows the whole layout of a huge warehouse, and can navigate it. Another impressive feature is the facial recognition, as well as the foreign languages. It will hugely benefit the customers to have a more enjoyable shopping experience and create time efficiency. One concern I have is malfunctions and making customers shopping experiences more stressful than they need to be. If the robot cannot lead them to the right place, or if it simply does not respond, the customer will be lost. Also, how is the company profiting from this, as they must be very expensive and they are not bringing in any money from this. Overall, this was a very interesting read and I will be curious to see how it works out.

  2. Hey Kristi
    This is a very cool article. This is the first time I am hearing about these robots in Lowe’s and I think they are an awesome idea. Shopping can be very stressful for people especially around the times of major holidays such as Christmas and Easter. By having these robots, people can now efficiently be led to the exact product they are looking for and not have to worry about getting lost and wandering aimlessly around the store trying to find what they are looking for. I also think the feature about the robot knowing the inventory of the products in the store is great because it can save people a lot of time. If a person walks into a store and finds out that it is out of stock of what they are looking for they can easily turn around and go to another store instead of being disappointed when they walk to where the product was suppose to be and find that the store has none left. These robots also eliminate the possibility of human error. This makes for a quicker and more efficient process. It allows a consumer to get what they came to get and then leave without any trouble. This helps to reduce traffic in the stores and makes shopping as a whole, easier. I agree with your points in the last paragraph especially when you say that the article mostly talks about the positives and not the negatives of the robots. Robots are still a work in progress so with all new inventions comes flaws and malfunctions and this article fails to mention this.

  3. Hi Kristi,
    I found this article about Lowe’s new robot very interesting. I thought that the fact that this bot would be able to tell a customer, in one of seven different languages, as soon as they walked in the door if they were out of stock of the item they were searching for or show them exactly which aisle to find this item in was very convenient and could eventually change the way our society shops down the line. Another aspect of the bot I liked was how it was not only convenient for customer in obvious ways, but also for Lowe’s management seeing as the bot is able to track Lowe’s inventory of the products in the store.
    Although I did like the idea of a Lowe’s robot, I did have a few issues with this concept after reading your last paragraph and inferring a few things. I agree with you when you mentioned how consumers may not feel comfortable asking a robot where an item is and this led me to think about the outcome of a less tech savvy person, probably older, attempting to use a robot like this. Would they need a persons help using the bot anyways, therefore defeating the whole purpose the Lowe’s bot? Another issue I had was if these Lowe’s bots would be taking place of employee’s jobs, which is the last thing our country needs, or if there would only be one bot? If there would be only one bot due to cost, would this robot idea really be all that efficient seeing as only one customer in the entire store would be able to use this bot at a time? One last thing that I was wondering about was how efficient this robot was; has it ever taken a customer to an item they were not looking for or the wrong aisle? All and all, I think Lowe’s is on the right track and has the right idea choosing to incorporate a robot in their stores.

  4. I think the Oshbot will prove to be extremely beneficial for Lowes. In today’s society, robots are being implemented regularly in stores as a way to improve efficiency. Many companies are starting to create and implement robots to find items quickly and keep track of inventory. By doing this, the company’s overall efficiency improves by increasing the speed it takes to find an item. In addition, because robots can keep track of inventory both employees and customers will be better notified on the stores current inventory. This in itself will save customers time looking for items that are not in stock.
    One of the reasons I think this will be beneficial is because it will increase the efficiency of Lowes overall. By implementing a robot that can accomplish tasks quicker than employees can, efficiency is improved and time is saved. By doing this, customers will have a better experience. No one likes being at a store where the employees are moving slowly and are unaware of what is going on. That is why this robot will help improve customer experiences which will increase the amount of loyal customers and eventually increase the amount of revenue.
    Another reason I think this will be beneficial is because it will save Lowes money. Because these robots can be used to replace employees, Lowes can let go of their human workers which will save the company money. They will no longer need to pay their workers weekly pay checks and will save costs by implementing these robots. By doing this, Lowes overall profit will increase.
    Because this is just a trial run, of course there is some doubt associated with creating these robots. It would be a shame if Lowes took the time and money to create these robots and they did not work as planned and turned out not to be successful. However, even if that is the case, I’m sure they can continue working on developing the robot until it works exactly how they want it to. Even if the robot does not work perfectly at first, I’m sure Lowes will be able to eventually get it to be extremely successful and improve their company in many ways.
    I think using robots will help Lowes improve tremendously and bring it to the next level as a company. So many other companies are currently investing in robot employees to help with inventory and so far there has been nothing but positive feedback. I think Lowes will see a lot of benefits to implementing this type of technology to improve their stores.


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