Why the retail industry is broken and what can be done to fix it
The news is full of stories about disappearing retail chains, from BHS and Maplin in the UK to Toys’R’Us, Aeropostale and A&P in the US. Recognised names are vanishing overnight with the loss of hundreds of stores and thousands of jobs. As such large organisations disappear, so the malls, shopping centres, high streets and main streets become less appealing to visit.
Mark Pilkington argues that, while the decline in manufacturing receives more news attention, the retail sector is more important in terms of job numbers. Anything that jeopardises this sector will therefore have a deep and lasting impact on millions of lives, as well as on public policy.
While many people point a finger at the ‘Amazon effect’, this is an oversimplification. Deeper forces are at work that are changing people’s relationships with brands, the balance of power between producers and consumers, and the whole nature of the supply chain that has existed since the industrial revolution.
A special Pi visit to Amazon's Tilbury fulfilment centre in Essex
Tilbury is one of the Amazon fulfilment centres in the UK to use Amazon Robotics technology. During the 60-minute tour, visitors will have the chance to see how Amazon employees – working alongside innovative technologies including Amazon Robotics – pick, pack and ship small items such as books, electronics and consumer goods.
If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at packing one of the iconic Amazon boxes, this may be your chance!
We will be running two tours, 10h45 and 13h15. For the morning tour we need to catch the 09h41 train from Fenchurch Street station. For the afternoon tour we catch the 12h11 train. It is a 40 minute journey and a 10 minute walk at the other end.
Paul is Chief Technology Officer at Ocado, the world’s largest online-only grocery retailer. Ocado Technology, with its 1,300 software engineers and other IT specialists, is responsible for building all the software and IT infrastructure that powers Ocado’s end-to-end e-commerce, fulfilment and logistics platform.
Hear Paul talk about next generation logistics, the non-linear impact of AI/robotics and what the UK needs to do to prepare itself for the future it must embrace.
Amazon UK Country Manager on AI everywhere: the future enterprise
Amazon is at the forefront of using AI at scale, across the whole enterprise.
Hear from Doug Gurr about the transition from humans to AI and robots: how do the two relate to each other at corporate level and how does this change the way the company integrates new staff and thinks about working practices and leadership? What is it really like to work with robots? And what are the implications of this shift for staff, for investors and for society?
This event is part of the Pi/Quantum Black series on ‘AI and us’. It will take place at the Quantum Black offices near Trafalgar Square.