UK Amazon warehouse jobs could be lost to new packing tech
eCommerce giant Amazon is reportedly testing a new automated system in locations around the globe, including the UK.
The company has acknowledged that it is experimenting with an automatic boxing system at a location “driving distance” from Manchester, as well as in other European cities, according to Reuters.
It reports that the machines have the potential to automate 24 jobs per facility, but its source suggests this number could be higher.
The CartonWrap technology, from Italian firm CMC, can create 600 to 700 boxes per hour, or four to five times that of a human packer.
“We are piloting this new technology with the goal of increasing safety, speeding up delivery times and adding efficiency across our network,” Amazon said in a statement.
“We expect the efficiency savings will be re-invested in new services for customers, where new jobs will continue to be created.”
At a reported $1 million per machine plus operational expenses, Amazon’s investment in new technology is part of its wider goal to automate as much of its process as possible, though the company urges that humans will still be necessary and savings will be passed on to customers.
The new machines will still require human assistance to load items and to restock cardboard and glue, as well as an on-site technician to maintain it.
The company is reportedly vetting the technology before the major deployment to test its viability.
Amazon already uses robots in some of its warehouses to carry out and aide staff in fulfilment services.