In its never-ending quest to increase efficiency, Amazon is rolling out machines that will replace human workers that pack orders, while it is telling its employees it will pay them to quit and start their own business delivering Amazon packages.
Amazon replacing human packers with robots
Amazon has begun a rollout of new technology at some of its warehouses, using machine automation to help pack orders, according to a new exclusive report by Reuters.
The company is now considering installing two machines at dozens of its warehouses, which would replace about 24 jobs at each, eventually cutting more than 1,300 jobs across 55 fulfillment centers for its standard-sized inventory.
These packing robots aren’t cheap, at a price tag of roughly $1 million per machine, plus operating expenses. However, Amazon expects the efficiency of these machines to help it recover these costs in less than two years.
Amazon first began using machine automation in 1997, with one machine. In 2010, the company operated 21 machines, and that number is expected to increase to 177 by the year 2020.
Amazon wants to pay employees to quit and haul packages
As Amazon strives to get its Prime delivery down to one day – or even same day – it is now propositioning its employees with an offer to help and pay them to start their own Amazon package delivery business.
Amazon has already overtaxed the resources of UPS, USPS, and other carriers, and currently also uses many independent delivery services. Still, the demand for Amazon products is growing faster than the company can deliver the goods.
As a remedy to their delivery bottleneck, Amazon is trying to encourage its eligible part-time and full-time employees to get into the delivery business (Whole Foods employees are not eligible).
Amazon offering startup cash
The company is offering an incentive of up to $10,000 in startup costs for employees it accepts into its program. Of course, there is one catch: The companies have to quit their jobs as employees and become independent contractors.