23 May 2019
Amazon Inc has started rolling out new robots that will box up customers’ orders. The job is currently held by thousands of its workers and is likely to make them redundant in the future.
Amazon has been adding technology to a handful of its warehouses in recent years. The new machines added in its plants can scan goods coming down a conveyor belt and envelopes them seconds later in boxes custom-built for each item, according to sources aware of the project.
The company is reportedly considering installing two machines at dozens of more warehouses, which will take up 24 roles at each one. These facilities typically employ over 2,000 people. This will account for nearly 1300 cuts across the company’s 55 US fulfilment centres. The company costs will be recovered in under two years. The machine costs $1 million per unit plus operational expenses, sources said.
The report highlights that Amazon Inc is pushing to reduce labour and boost profits with the automation of the most common warehouse task. The changes are not finalized as yet as the technology is still being checked thoroughly, so deployment across all centres will take a long time.
An Amazon spokesperson stated that the company doesn’t plan to cut jobs with the new machines. "We are piloting this new technology with the goal of increasing safety, speeding up delivery times and adding efficiency across our network ... We expect the efficiency savings will be re-invested in new services for customers, where new jobs will continue to be created."