Chinese Association of Idaho State University (CAISU)
Amazon to introduce more automated packaging machines
The company started adding the technology to a handful of warehouses in recent years. The machines scan goods coming down a conveyor belt and package them seconds later in boxes custom-built for each item, two people who worked on the project told Reuters.multi lane packaging machine
Amazon has considered installing two machines at dozens more warehouses, removing at least 24 roles at each one, the sources said. The warehouses typically employ more than 2,000 people.
The plan, previously unreported, shows how Amazon is pushing to reduce labour and boost profits as automation of the most common warehouse task — picking up an item — is still beyond its reach. The changes are not finalized because vetting technology before a major deployment can take a long time.
Amazon is famous for its drive to automate as many parts of its business as possible, whether pricing goods or transporting items in its warehouses. But the company is in a precarious position as it considers replacing jobs that have won it 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," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. "We expect the efficiency savings will be reinvested in new services for customers, where new jobs will continue to be created."Amazon last month downplayed its automation efforts to reporters visiting its Baltimore fulfillment centre, saying a fully robotic future was far off. Its employee base has grown to become one of the largest in the United States, as the company opened new warehouses and raised wages to attract staff in a tight labour market.
A key to its goal of a leaner workforce is attrition, one of the sources said. Rather than lay off workers, the person said, the world's largest online retailer will one day refrain from refilling packing roles. Those have high turnover, because boxing multiple orders per minute over 10 hours is taxing work. At the same time, employees who stay with the company can be trained to take up more technical roles.