Thursday, August 6, 2015


So the business model is to try to clone Amazon?  Where is the differentiation?  There is more to the New Supply Chain than robots.


Webvan Founder Plots an Amazon Prime Competitor Powered by Robots

Shutterstock/Robert Kneschke


Fourteen years after his first same-day delivery service went belly up, Webvan founder Louis Borders is working on a redo. The serial entrepreneur, who also co-founded the Borders bookstore chain, is developing a $99-a-year shopping club that aims to deliver groceries and other merchandise from partnering retailers on the same day they are ordered, he told Re/code in an interview last week.
If that sounds familiar, it should. Webvan rose to prominence during the first dot-com bubble on the promise of same-day delivery, but flamed out after expanding too much before figuring out how to conduct its business profitably. This time, though, Borders thinks he has a secret weapon to make the economics work: A robotic warehousing system where people are an afterthought.
“It takes out almost all of the human labor,” he said.
In Borders’s vision, less than 10 percent of orders will be touched by a human; the rest will be picked and packed exclusively by a robot army. The model has the potential to drastically reduce operating costs by 50 percent while improving delivery times, Borders said.