Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) pressed further into the bricks and mortar business, but in the most recent case, it was not stores. The e-commerce company has set an 855,000 square foot distribution center which is located just southeast of Cleveland.
The operation will be in North Randall, Ohio which has a population of just above 1,000. The Amazon facility will employ 2,000 people. They will work with what Amazon calls Amazon Robotics. Amazon defines that system this way:
Amazon Robotics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.com, empowers a smarter, faster, more consistent customer experience through automation. Amazon Robotics automates fulfilment center operations using various methods of robotic technology including autonomous mobile robots, sophisticated control software, language perception, power management, computer vision, depth sensing, machine learning, object recognition, and semantic understanding of commands.
Whether robotics will eventually replace fulfillment center jobs, Amazon stressed that the new positions come “with benefits and opportunities to engage with Amazon Robotics in a highly technological workplace.” Eventually, the “engagement” may be a mixed blessing.
Village of North Randall Mayor David Smith was happy, and left aside the eventual fate of workers as automation progress:
“Words cannot begin to express what Amazon’s commitment to the development of its fulfillment center means for the Village of North Randall. “This is a generational project that not only redefines the future of our community but the future of more than 2,000 Cuyahoga County residents who will be employed at the facility.”
As Amazon opens this sort of facility across the U.S., it says it will add tens of thousands of jobs to the national economy. In January, the company said it will add 100,000 jobs in American between 2017 and 2018, robotics as replacements for jobs notwithstanding
Presumably, as Amazon’s U.S. e-commerce sales grow, its job engine will add more jobs well into the next decade. There will be other Village of North Randall moments. That is until robots run all of Amazon’s fulfillment