Amazon Warehouses Have 45,000 Robots To Keep Things Moving


Online shopping giant Amazon has done some amazing things with the help of technology and without compromising its human workforce-at least in its warehouses. In preparation for 2016’s holiday season, the company acquired 50 percent more Kiva Robots than 2015, when they had 30,000 robots moving around, but also hired more human workers to handle the holiday rush in its warehouses across the continent.

Perhaps Amazon’s tendency to automate manual, time-consuming labor to complement and without completely removing the human side of the work flow is what contributes to the company’s success. Of course, we can only still say that because Amazon Go’s fully automated grocery store would impact the jobs of human cashiers and grocery staff.

Early in October 2016, CNN Reporter Matt McFarland was given a tour of Amazon’s warehouse outside Baltimore and he witnessed for himself how much quicker and more efficient the human workers are as they work alongside the Kiva robots. In fact, both the Kiva Robots and other automated machines installed in the fulfillment center allowed Amazon to not only store 50% more items in 2014, it also considerably lessened human error, which means the workers’ jobs are somewhat more secure .

In 2015, Amazon had a team of 230,000 humans working alongside the 30,000 robots in its fulfillment centers. In October 2016, Amazon opened a new robotics fulfillment center in Ontario, Canada where more than 700 new jobs were created, though it was not specified how many of the robots were stationed in that facility.

So just how does 15,000 additional robots increase human efficiency? Instead of workers manually searching for the item in its hundreds of shelves in the facility, the worker-called the picker-will just stay in his or her station while the Kiva robot quickly maneuvers to the correct aisle to carry and bring the entire shelf to the picker.

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