Webvan Founder Plots an Amazon Prime Competitor Powered by Robots
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.