Amazon's Automatic Packing Machines Could Replace 1300 Jobs

Cornelia Mascio
Mag 14, 2019

According to a fresh exclusive report by Reuters, "The company started adding technology to a handful of warehouses in recent years, which scans goods coming down a conveyor belt and envelops them seconds later in boxes custom-built for each item".

In the long run, installing the aforementioned automation hardware in all 55 fulfillment centers for standard-sized inventory now operated by Amazon in the U.S. would lead to over 1,300 job cuts. Worryingly for workers, one robot at a warehouse means 24 human roles are no longer required.

CartonWrap can pack up to 700 boxes per hour which is four to five times the rate of a human packer.

And they require only three operatives: one to load customer orders, one to stock cardboard and glue, one to fix occasional jams.

Bottom line: Amazon isn't planning to lay off employees whose jobs will be replaced by machines but rather, let its headcount drop through attrition.

The logic: An Amazon spokesperson said the aim is to increase safety, speed up delivery times, and, of course, save money.

But before getting the pink slip, existing employees can quit and start their own business-delivering Amazon packages. However, Amazon insisted that savings will be "reinvested in new services for customers, where new jobs will continue to be created". This offer has been made available to both part-time and full-time Amazon employees including the warehouse workers who may soon become obsolete with the introduction of Amazon's new packing system. Contractors that participate in this new program can lease vans from Amazon with blue Amazon branding displayed across them.

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