Amazon Launches Automated Warehouse Machines

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Online retail giant Amazon is putting machines into its warehouses to automate a job that thousands of workers currently hold which is packaging / Photo by: Tony Webster via Flickr

 

Online retail giant Amazon is putting machines into its warehouses to automate a job that thousands of workers currently hold: packing the customers' orders.

A recent report from Reuters said Amazon began adding technology to a number of warehouses in recent years. The technology scans products that descend from a conveyor belt and puts them in boxes made for each item, people who worked on the initiative told Reuters.

The sources also said the retailer considered installing two machines at dozens of more facilities, which typically employs more than 2,000 people, effectively removing at least 24 jobs at each one.

As Amazon pushes through on the project, it would cut over 1,300 roles across 55 fulfillment centers in the United States for standard-sized inventory. It was further said that the company is expecting to recover the costs in less than two years at $1 million per machine along with operational expenses.

The previously unreported plan shows Amazon's plan in its drive to reduce labor and raise revenue as automation of the most common task in the warehouse—picking up a product—has yet to be achieved. However, such changes in the company aren't finalized yet since vetting technology prior to a major deployment takes a long time.

According to Reuters, while Amazon is known for its effort to automate as many areas of its enterprise as possible—be it pricing goods or transporting items in its fulfillment centers—the company is still in a precarious stance as it thinks of replacing roles that helped it garner subsidies and public goodwill.

“We are piloting this new technology with the goal of increasing safety, speeding up delivery times, and adding efficiency across our network,” said an Amazon spokeswoman. “We expect the efficiency savings will be re-invested in new services for customers, where new jobs will continue to be created.”