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Old 08-11-2017, 12:29 PM   #1
line-em-up
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Default How Amazon robots make your order happen.

This is really cool!

http://www.chonday.com/Videos/how-th...arehouse-works
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:09 AM   #2
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It is really cool, but we're also looking at the end of unskilled factory labor. Frankly I'm surprised they haven't replaced the guy doing the packing yet.

Also, I'm very curious to know how those pods are getting stocked. It looks like it would be very difficult to do that with a person.

Amazon is opening a fullfillment center in Thorton, CO, just 5 miles from me. I hope they offer tours.
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:14 AM   #3
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I just answered my own question. There are tours in Dallas if any of you are interested.
http://amazonfctours.com/
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:44 PM   #4
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It' like 1 human per 100K sq ft of warehouse space
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Old 08-12-2017, 05:16 PM   #5
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Their inventory system is revolutionary.
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:29 PM   #6
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My company has built a lot of buildings for them. I am selling seven of them that are in the process of being built. The amount of money they spend on them is beyond ridiculous.
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:48 PM   #7
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It is really cool, but we're also looking at the end of unskilled factory labor. Frankly I'm surprised they haven't replaced the guy doing the packing yet.

Also, I'm very curious to know how those pods are getting stocked. It looks like it would be very difficult to do that with a person.

Amazon is opening a fullfillment center in Thorton, CO, just 5 miles from me. I hope they offer tours.
I work maintenance for a distribution center in the metroplex (not Amazon), and about half of our stock is picked by an automated machine if I recall correctly. The only human interaction in that area is restocking items, clearing jams, repairs, and reconfiguring the slots for new product. The main thing that keeps a lot of product form being auto picked, as opposed to manual picked, is size, shape, weight, and if it is easily damaged. Tech is improving in that area though. We are an older facilitry at 12 to 15 years old I believe, and the newer ones seem to use newer automated pickers with more capability. I really think the main obstacle is size and shape right now; once machines can adapt to that unskilled jobs disappear. My company puts as much on the auto pickers as possible, so I am sure if they could get away with 100% they would. However there is still a long way to go with 100% automation. You have to receive in product and unload trucks, transfer it to where it goes, put it on the shelf, then once it is picked it has to be loaded on the truck and the driver has to sign for it. Some companies are more automated in those area than others so it is only a matter of time, but they still have a ways to go. Also don't forget buidings often need to be designed around all this; some would cost a fortune to convert over.
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:32 PM   #8
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I used to work as a ticket puller in high school in a warehouse. it could have easily been automated. Just walk in a circle and pull things out of bins to put in a packing box. Mindless work.
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Old 08-13-2017, 08:17 AM   #9
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I used to work as a ticket puller in high school in a warehouse. it could have easily been automated. Just walk in a circle and pull things out of bins to put in a packing box. Mindless work.
Very much. The hardest part for them seems to be that you are standing for 8 hours. Like I said the only reason more of our stuff isn't automated is because it just doesn't fit in the automatic pickers, which should be an easy thing to solve.
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Old 08-13-2017, 01:22 PM   #10
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I don't understand why they don't put the rack back where they got it from
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Old 08-13-2017, 05:01 PM   #11
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I don't understand why they don't put the rack back where they got it from
Because moving the rack based on its current inventory is more efficient.

Each rack has a value based on the goods on it. If you remove a hot item from it, the rack value went down, so it should be placed in a lower priority of the warehouse until its rack value goes back up and the need for quick access becomes a priority.
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Old 08-14-2017, 07:09 AM   #12
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I work maintenance for a distribution center in the metroplex (not Amazon), and about half of our stock is picked by an automated machine if I recall correctly. The only human interaction in that area is restocking items, clearing jams, repairs, and reconfiguring the slots for new product. The main thing that keeps a lot of product form being auto picked, as opposed to manual picked, is size, shape, weight, and if it is easily damaged. Tech is improving in that area though. We are an older facilitry at 12 to 15 years old I believe, and the newer ones seem to use newer automated pickers with more capability. I really think the main obstacle is size and shape right now; once machines can adapt to that unskilled jobs disappear. My company puts as much on the auto pickers as possible, so I am sure if they could get away with 100% they would. However there is still a long way to go with 100% automation. You have to receive in product and unload trucks, transfer it to where it goes, put it on the shelf, then once it is picked it has to be loaded on the truck and the driver has to sign for it. Some companies are more automated in those area than others so it is only a matter of time, but they still have a ways to go. Also don't forget buidings often need to be designed around all this; some would cost a fortune to convert over.
This makes me wonder about the un-skilled labor market. Un-skilled laborers are wanting minimum wage to be raised. But honestly, with the advancement of automation greatly replacing jobs, mostly un-skilled labor jobs, its obvious that soon there will be a flood of unemployed un-skilled labor. If anything minimum wage should flat-line for a long time.
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Old 08-14-2017, 09:12 AM   #13
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This makes me wonder about the un-skilled labor market. Un-skilled laborers are wanting minimum wage to be raised. But honestly, with the advancement of automation greatly replacing jobs, mostly un-skilled labor jobs, its obvious that soon there will be a flood of unemployed un-skilled labor. If anything minimum wage should flat-line for a long time.
Yep. Look at the automated cash registers at walmart, home depot, etc, and even automated ordering at fast food restraunts. Most of those jobs will be gone soon. Mom and pop owned businesses will likely still employ people in thos positions, but they don't employ nearly as many as the big chains. Hell, some stores like lowes and home depot are even putting live inventory online and listing the location, so you can look it up online, walk to the location, then check out and not need to interact with an employee unless it is on the top shelf or you need it loaded. I hate to see a guaranteed minimum income, but there will be so many unemployed unskilled laborers that I don't see another answer at the moment. Automation will create jobs in maintenance, management, advertising, etc, but anything it creates will be skilled. Most of these people working cash registered or stocking warehouses work there because they have no other training. It isn't an easy problem to solve, but there is time. Unfortunately the masses and government will jump at free money.
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Old 08-14-2017, 03:47 PM   #14
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Yep. Look at the automated cash registers at walmart, home depot, etc, and even automated ordering at fast food restraunts. Most of those jobs will be gone soon. Mom and pop owned businesses will likely still employ people in thos positions, but they don't employ nearly as many as the big chains. Hell, some stores like lowes and home depot are even putting live inventory online and listing the location, so you can look it up online, walk to the location, then check out and not need to interact with an employee unless it is on the top shelf or you need it loaded. I hate to see a guaranteed minimum income, but there will be so many unemployed unskilled laborers that I don't see another answer at the moment. Automation will create jobs in maintenance, management, advertising, etc, but anything it creates will be skilled. Most of these people working cash registered or stocking warehouses work there because they have no other training. It isn't an easy problem to solve, but there is time. Unfortunately the masses and government will jump at free money.
I'm thankful constantly that I have an automation background
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Old 08-14-2017, 04:23 PM   #15
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Very cool but not many companies can afford this kind of automation or get an ROI if they did. I would wager that there is less than 5% of the companies that have this level of sophistication. The flip to that is there are a ton still on antiquated paper based systems and vast majority on some kind of WMS RF based systems with some level of smart conveyors, voice picking/putaway or ASRS
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Old 08-14-2017, 04:39 PM   #16
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Very cool but not many companies can afford this kind of automation or get an ROI if they did. I would wager that there is less than 5% of the companies that have this level of sophistication. The flip to that is there are a ton still on antiquated paper based systems and vast majority on some kind of WMS RF based systems with some level of smart conveyors, voice picking/putaway or ASRS
I agree with you, but automation is only getting cheaper and more reliable and its advancing rapidly. Your statement is true today, but it becomes dated very quickly.

I would love to do this amazon tour in a few months
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Old 08-14-2017, 07:37 PM   #17
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I'm thankful constantly that I have an automation background
I am thankful as well. The future may not have me working in a job I like or for the company I want, but at least I shouldn't have to worry too much about putting food on the table.
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Old 08-14-2017, 07:49 PM   #18
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Very cool but not many companies can afford this kind of automation or get an ROI if they did. I would wager that there is less than 5% of the companies that have this level of sophistication. The flip to that is there are a ton still on antiquated paper based systems and vast majority on some kind of WMS RF based systems with some level of smart conveyors, voice picking/putaway or ASRS
We use an rf based system, and the only thing keeping them from automating more of the picking is a lot of the product won't fit. Easy fix, and I believe our newer buildings have a much more updated auto picker that blows ours away. I have talked to some of our corporate automation team and they are constantly looking at new stuff for the new buildings. Even our building is due for an upgrade sometime soon. It isn't a giant leap to automate stocking and shipping too. With an older building like ours it may not make sense to retrofit the entire building, but new builds will eventually be designed around it. Small companies will be the last to automate, everyone eventually migrated to cash registers and them to card readers. Think of how rare it is now for even a small store to not accept debit cards or not use barcode scanners. Problem is, these large companies that can afford to automate when the tech is here employ the most workers. Walmart, target, amazon, costco, mcdonalds, etc would put a ton of unskilled workers out of a job. Mom and pop can't create that many jobs, so even if small business never ever automates, you are stuck with a bunch of unskilled and unemployed workers spanning multiple generations and economic classes. It will be a large problem that is very close.
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Old 08-15-2017, 08:52 PM   #19
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No wonder their warehouses are so big, they're not taking advantage of the Z axis.
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Old 08-16-2017, 06:14 AM   #20
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This makes me wonder about the un-skilled labor market. Un-skilled laborers are wanting minimum wage to be raised. But honestly, with the advancement of automation greatly replacing jobs, mostly un-skilled labor jobs, its obvious that soon there will be a flood of unemployed un-skilled labor. If anything minimum wage should flat-line for a long time.
Hell, makes me wonder about part time workers that are young with no skills. McDonald's was my entry into the official workforce for about 2.5 years, then Circuit City warehouse work after that.

I guess if none of that existed I could have just continued mowing lawns, but that's seasonal. Up north, maybe shoveling snow or something. Either way, those entry level jobs (regardless of wage) are nice since they go year round.

Edit: Also for at least us slightly aged folks, I don't want it all automated where I go an get some chow. Automation is great, but I don't think it'll be 100% utilized in the next 10 years. Over 20-40 years when we croak, the youth probably will embrace it though as they are already much further into automation than we were at their ages.
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