Amazon Warehouse Robot will take over and eventually replace workers

Amazon Warehouse Robot will take over and eventually replace workers

Automated fulfillment solutions represent a compelling evolution for retailers.

At least for giant players. Fresh off the news in October that Walmart had acquired Alert Innovation, a robotic automation company that “develops material handling technology to automate order fulfillment in retail supply chains,” Amazon just announced. the launch of Sparrow, which he calls “an intelligent robot”. system that streamlines the execution process.

The back-and-forth battle of cutting-edge technology currently between the two retail titans is reshaping the industry landscape by innovating – and automating – more touchpoints throughout the customer journey.

It is also redefining the future of work by redefining the role of over one million Amazon warehouse human workers.

Sparrow uses artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision to distinctly recognize and manage millions of items. The ability to “recognize” various items represents a major technological advancement in the use of AI in the order picking and fulfillment process.

Last year, Amazon employees picked up, put away or packed more than 13 million packages a day. With the help of Sparrow robotic assistance, the company expects that number to grow.

Changing the balance of power

Using machine learning algorithms, built-in cameras, and a custom gripper designed to pick items stacked in shelves or bins so they can be packed into orders for shipment to customers, Sparrow take on repetitive tasks in Amazon’s warehouses and improve efficiency by automating critical steps. throughout the production process.

The increased reliance on robots for warehouse tasks is shifting the balance of power from machines serving people, towards people serving machines. “Portion [our employees] transitioning and advancing their careers into roles by working with our technology is an important part of how we will continue to innovate,” the company said.

In fact, Amazon said in November that this reverse, tech-powered approach had already created more than 700 new job categories within the company, noting that the new hybrid roles are expected to employ tens of thousands of new workers. throughout the company.

Just in time for the holidays

This shift is also occurring in response to continued consumer demand for convenience and tools that blur the lines between the physical and digital shopping experience.

After flexing its considerable e-commerce muscles as the pandemic-driven digital commerce transformation has seen consumers increasingly shift their spending online, PYMNTS research finds Amazon now has 45% of the U.S. commerce market national electronics, against only 5.4% for Walmart.

This competitive fluke is due to Amazon’s vast expertise in fulfillment and cutting-edge resources.

The company controls the shipping, ordering, packaging and delivery of its products, leveraging operational innovations like the Sparrow robot to take advantage of its comfortable position atop the rest of the field.

Amazon has built its fulfillment footprint like crazy in the COVID era. In fact, as PMNTS previously reported, Amazon doubled in just two years the footprint of the warehouse it took more than two decades to build, according to CEO Andy Jassy.

The company has millions of products of all shapes and sizes on more than 374 million square feet of total warehouse inventory space. The scale at which Amazon operates has created the opportunity, as well as the need, to innovate with new technologies and advancements in operations and order fulfillment.

Sparrow is the first robotic system capable of detecting, selecting and managing individual products, and the holiday shopping season will be its first test, particularly around the high cost of reverse logistics and returns management. turned out to be the downside of online shopping. for retailers.

But is it safe?

Amazon is known for the high quotas it sets for workers and the level of productivity expected, as well as its internal efforts to keep up with the pace and performance of its employees. It’s a fact that’s partly responsible for its current dominance in the market, but has also raised concerns among staff and labor rights groups.

It’s unclear whether the introduction of Sparrow robots, which will speed up the fulfillment process beyond what was possible with strictly human workers, will help or hinder Amazon’s workplace safety goals, but the company made little secret of its intentions to use technology to reduce risks and accidents.

How consumers pay online with stored credentials
Convenience drives some consumers to store their payment credentials with merchants, while security concerns give other customers pause. For “How We Pay Digitally: Stored Credentials Edition,” a collaboration with Amazon Web Services, PYMNTS surveyed 2,102 US consumers to analyze the consumer dilemma and reveal how merchants can overcome holdouts.

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