With the exception of perhaps the automobile industry, Amazon is probably known more to the average person as a company that uses hundreds or thousands of robots in their warehouses to move product around efficiently.
So lets talk here about some of the current and future type of robotics jobs that could be found in a company like Amazon.
- Robot operation/monitor (in person/remote)
- Robot maintenance (board level, parts replace)
- Robot acquisition (dealing with the manuacturer)
- Robot design (design of new types of robot tools)
- Robot legal (if some injury takes place or wrong shipment)
Lets talk a little bit about Amazon and its history and where you can find its warehouses which would have robots in need of some kind of repair/support most likely remotely but also in house at times.
Just knowing how to work around robots is a skill that you may be able to exhibit before being hired for a junior position.
So Amazon as most people know is owned by entrepreneur and ex Wall Street hedge fund executive Jeff Bezos and was started in 1994 in Seattle and went public in 1997. It was first named Cadabra but was quickly changed to Amazon after that.
It began selling books and records in 1998 and the rest is…history.
They purchased a robotics company called Kiva in 2012 for about $775 million and that allowed them to jump quickly into automating their warehouses worldwide.
They currently have over 1.1 million workers in the USA and over 200,000 mobile robots .
Some of the jobs that were being replaced early on by robots were the ones requiring a lot of walking and carrying…they were positions called “stowers” and “pickers”.
The public first got to see the smaller orange colored robots that could go under and move 1,000 pound loads from the Kiva company which is a company that they purchased in 2012.
They apparently use at least 5 or 6 different kinds of robots but this is becoming quite common in many huge manufacturing and warehousing corporations in the world. The trend among robot manufacturers is to name their robots either after a type of animal or something else.
You can go on you and watch videos of an Amazon fullfuillment center and see hundreds of 2 foot square Roomba looking robots underneatch 8 feet of shelved products going up and down and left and right mostly in straight lines on the floor positioning products to be sorted or dealt with by human operators in some way. It is like a choreographed ballet of hundreds of scurrying mechanical foot soldier workers.
In 2021 they had about 110 active fullfillment centers in the USA and a total of around 185 worldwide.
The Amazon EU has about 40 fullfillment centers with 17 in the UK.
The largest Amazon warehouse at about 4 million square feet was being built in 2021 in Colorado Springs, Colorado
This company and website Forest Shipping, has an incredible amount of useful information about shipping and Amazon and lists the locations of all the Amazon fullfilment sites in the USA.
An article in the Dallas Morning news in 2020 explained Amazon’s huge increase in their ownership of warehouses where they want to be able to guarantee 2 day delivery of their packages.
Apparently they are buying so many spaces for warehouses across North America that they are driving the price of land up in surrounding areas and companies like UPS feel that soon business for other shipping companies will dry up as Amazon does most of their own shipping.
Usually cities will get a few of the warehouses which are about 200,000 square feet which is about a quarter the size of their larger facilities.
The article says that in some of these hubs about 20 semi trailers drop off merchandise every night and then dozens of vans arrive to pickup the goods in the morning and then workers with their own cars called flex drivers pick up the remainder of items to deliver.
So there are a lot of jobs being created in the Amazon hubs along with the jobs done by the robots.