Amazon’s job-killing warehouse robots now summoned to the headquarters

Amazon’s job-killing warehouse robots now summoned to the headquarters
Jeff Bezos  |  Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Reuters
14 Jun, 2018

Jeff Bezos-led Amazon, which is known to use autonomous robots to manage inventory in its huge warehouses to make delivery efficient for its e-commerce business, might be looking at using artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline operations at its headquarters as well, Bloomberg reported.

This means that machines are not only automating out of existence blue-collar jobs but are also aiming for white-collar jobs that let Amazon employees currently earn six-figure salaries.

According to the report, the employees who are running the risk of being automated out of existence currently negotiate multi-million dollar deals with several major brand partners for Amazon’s e-commerce business. 

The e-commerce giant is also planning to use AI-infused software for making decisions on inventory. By contrast, if a human staffer decides to order too less of a certain item, then the site may run out of the items and in turn lose customers. If the worker orders too much, the site might have to clear the items at low prices.

The entire structure of Amazon departments is also undergoing change. The company has two teams. While one works on industry connections to convince businessmen to sell products on the site and is responsible to get the e-commerce business to where it is today, the other looks at building the e-commerce platform. However, gradually, the second team could make sure that anyone with an internet connection could sell a product online without speaking to a single Amazon executive.

These two teams are now being merged. A few employees have also left, now that the company has its own web services and AI divisions.
This also means paying less for human resources than rivals such as Walmart, Target and Tesco.

“This is why Amazon is the 800-pound gorilla,” Joel Sutherland, a supply-chain management professor at the University of San Diego, was quoted as saying. “Nobody else has the resources and expertise to pull all of these emerging technologies together to remove humans from the process as much as possible while making things more reliable and accurate,” he added.

However, Amazon is looking at it from a different angle and said that it was creating more jobs and making sure that automation leads to better customer experiences. 

“We’ve been working for some time on standardising the products, tools and services we offer to the brands and re-sellers that sell on Amazon, and have made some organisational changes as a result,” the news agency quoted the company as saying.

This shift in strategy towards automation is not new. The company has been at it for a few years now and had started an initiative called "hands off the wheel".