>> Amazon's use of robotics and automation to help fill hundreds of billions of dollars in sales each year, sparking rampant speculation that it will use that same technology in its purchase of Whole Foods and ultimately, put more humans out of work. That threat striking fear in the hearts of American workers but one company believes it's found the key to coexistence.
I'm in New Jersey at this fulfillment center where Boxed, the online bulk shopping startup has automated this facility without the loss of any jobs. This 144,000 square foot warehouse has been digitally enhanced with two miles of conveyor belts and sensors everywhere with the capacity to boost productivity by 350%.
Here workers had to learn how to communicate with the technology via headsets and scanners, training simple enough for anyone used to playing a video game or interacting with modern day technology, but sufficient enough to turn temp workers into full-time staff. Boxed CEO, Chieh Huang.>> It's no longer just a very easily replaced, unskilled position.
These folks are working with state of the art systems that we spend a lot of time and money training them on.>> In a warehouse stocked with 1,400 different products of varying sizes, textures, and packaging, it's human hands not robotic ones that can handle that differentiation. The robots that can do that are way too expensive, so it's the humans who decide the best way to pack huge rolls of toilet paper, laundry supplies, food and other items into a delivery box, along with the most human of touches, a personalized handwritten thank you note.
Then the machines take over again, it's back to the conveyor belt for protective padding, sealing, a computer generated shipping label and finally, to the truck. In this warehouse, where nearly half of the orders filled are shipped within 15 minutes, it's a race against the clock that requires both man and machine.