As you enter Amazon’s fulfilment centre, you will find long shelving, packing lines, and millions of products. Inside, the shelving can span over a space of 40,000 square metres. Some space left to store large products known as pallet land, and at the other end, several shelving floors are stacked, known as the tower.
Pickers constantly keep walking up and down to grab carts into which they are to keep an ordered item. Amazon is the largest retail store and worth about $250 billion. This raises the question of what exactly keeps it afloat. How does it smoothly handle a large number of orders placed online every day? What makes it potential to wrap up the deal quickly?
Handling such several products, staff, and orders together is not an as easy job. Here comes the role of technology. A study has revealed that data drive the retail company. It uses software that collects the feedback of employees. It allows employees to share praise or criticism of their colleagues. This software also monitors workers.
When you order a product online, they do not recall where it is. The software can quickly detect where the item sits in the inventory so the picker can fetch and put it into the cart. This way, you do not need to remember where the ordered item is. This technology makes this task simpler than your imagination.
Pickers do not have to think too long
If you visit the fulfilment centre, you will note that things are not kept on shelves in an organised way or in the way that a human would use. Instead of organising them in categories, they are placed randomly.
For instance, a baby’s bottle lies near to seven copies of Harry Potter sheet music. This unorganised way of keeping things on shelves can appear like madness to you. Imagine the scenario of picking a baby bottle from hundreds of shelves.
Keeping the stock in an unorganised way can help the picker fetch an item without thinking too long. This whole process is extremely smooth. At the item of picking the item, the picker scans it with a handheld device.
This is used to make sure that they have picked the right item and the fulfilment centre constantly keeps monitoring the progress of the entire work. With the help of software, the management staff knows where the item is currently, even at the time of packing and labelling. Accuracy and productivity are extremely high on Amazon.
The handheld device counts down the seconds that pickers have to pick the next item to meet performance targets. This is how technology is making all the Amazon staff productive. This largest retail company plans to develop hi-tech warehouse robot shelves that take the headache of pickers going to and from shelves to pick things.
The shelves are expected to travel across the aisles so the pickers can quickly pick items, and then the robot shelves will go back to their place.
Sophisticated sensing equipment
One company has invented sophisticated sensing software that especially aims at warehouses. Understanding the fact that human eyes can be weak due to ageing, genes, or other medical reasons, fulfilment centres need automation to scan the items to pick and place. This sensing machine is known as P30.
However, it does not mean that the robots will take over the entire responsibility of operation. Human involvement is yet necessary. This is because human beings also perform a role in packing goods. They are also responsible for stuffing packing paper and prepare a voucher.
They pick several packed boxes moving on the conveyor belt at a steady pace, and then a delivery boy sends them to the people. Robots cannot so smoothly perform these tasks. Although Amazon fulfilment centres are using drones to make deliveries faster, there is some confusion about its long-term success.
Technology to optimise delivery
Ai-powered technology is everywhere in Amazon’s fulfilment centres. The technology can utilise AI technology to anticipate the number of units that customers can buy in a particular timeframe. This technology anticipates the demand based on the orders already done in the past in a specific timeframe.
The company utilised artificial intelligence technology to do so it can avoid running out of stock when there is a sudden surge in demand for a particular product. Although it cannot estimate the exact demand to happen in the future, the estimation can save from huge losses.
This AI-powered technology uses decision engines and decision logic. It can minimise the distance that the pod has to travel from one point to another. This technology can also anticipate how likely it may be needed in the next couple of hours when it is in the function.
Fulfilment centres also use robots to travel to the conveyor belt and prepare the items for shipment. Although human involvement is required, it is not 100%. Robotic assistance can make it faster and smoother.
After the labelling of products, the transportation management staff can use machine learning to determine the effective way of transporting the goods from one point to another.
There is no denying that Amazon uses machine learning and AI technology to optimise all operations. This has made the delivery of all products faster and smoother. Several other companies are investing in software technology, and they do not hesitate to fund them with guaranteed acceptance loans and other long-term loans.