Silicon Collar looks at machines and humans at work in over 50 settings across industries and countries. On this blog I will excerpt many of those settings over the next few weeks. On Deal Architect I will excerpt more of the policy parts of the book.
Amazon's recently opened fulfillment centers in Ruskin and Lakeland are each twice as large as the Valpak center. They are designed for speed, driven by the move to same day and Sunday delivery in the grocery/retail business. Within minutes of orders being clicked by customers, Kiva robots start picking the items and bringing them to humans to inspect and pack. The short (a little over a foot), square, yellow robots whiz around and carry pods (tall racks) with items weighing up to 700 pounds. Instead of humans walking around those giant facilities, the items are brought to them, shaving time on each package. The Lakeland facility, which ships larger items than the Ruskin center, also boasts the Robo-Stow, which stacks pallets of merchandise. It's huge—as big as an adult African elephant.
Meanwhile, at Amazon’s Davenport distribution center, the whizbang is found in the sorting technology with its miles of conveyor belts. This center receives packages from other locations, sorts them by zip code and stacks them six feet high on pallets before trucking them to nearby post offices. It allows Amazon to control each package much longer and further down the delivery "last mile," which helps it to further optimize the shipping process.