Have you ever wanted to visit a massive building the size of 24 rugby league fields, with more steel than the Sydney Olympic stadium that was staffed by robots and had over 11 million lines of consumerist goodies inside? Great news, Amazon just built one for you, in Sydney.
In an under the equator first Amazon is continuing its push to dominate the Australian online sales and logistics market with what can only be described as a feat of engineering. I have to admit, I would give almost anything to just stand inside this colossal structure, it will be the largest Wearhouse in Australia, ever, bar none (I trained as an architect many years ago, so forgive me a little building geek-out).
For those worried about the robots taking all the jobs, Amazon is quick to mention that beyond the thousands of construction and fit-out jobs the warehouse has created once operational the Fulfilment Centre (FC) will employ around 1500 people to work alongside those robots. Thanks to Australia’s far more protective employee relations legalisations Australia FC workers won’t face quite the same conditions that have placed Amazon in the crosshairs in the USA.
As Amazon outlines the work practices, the robots will pick the larger and heavier items, which for OH&S is hard to argue against, and then for the smaller items, the robots will bring the bins to the fulfilment associate who will grab the actual items and stick them in a box.
OIn the surface this sounds like a great model where dangerous and repetitive tasks are handled by machines, and the finer tasks that require real-time object identification is left up to the humans. I predict a great Dreamworks movie about this oneday.
If you ever needed proof that Amazon is 1, taking the Australian market seriously, and 2, that they want a much bigger slice of all commerce then I’m not sure what would be more compelling than this giant monument to capitalism. Just think, sometime in the future your packages may just be picked and packed by a human-robot team.