How Technology Helps Amazon Shorten Training Times for New Hires

Amazon is ready for the holiday shopping spree: Besides seeking to grow its workforce with 120,000 temporary workers (an increase of 40%) at its US warehouse, the online retail giant is also using technology to reduce the training time needed for these new hires.

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According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon has built 26 new warehouses this year alone, which brings its worldwide total to 149. Its latest facilities incorporate the most automated use of screens, robots, scanners and other technology to get the new hires up to speed, according to John Olsen, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide human resource operations.

The retail giant targets an increase of 27% in holiday sales, or roughly $45.5 billion. To achieve that, it needs staff to fulfil orders in time. “Though worker training is a year-round challenge for Amazon, one of its priorities for the fourth quarter is as follows: “what technology can set an employee up as efficiently and as safely as possible?” Olsen said.

Amazon’s new hires get hands-on training as early as their first day on the job, which compares to conventional warehouses, where new employees spend their first few days in the classroom, hence giving Amazon an important advantage: efficiency.

“Employee turnover becomes a little less of a problem when the learning curve is short,” said Brian Devine, senior vice president at logistics staffing firm ProLogistix.

The newest warehouses are filled with robots and require a higher head count than typical Amazon facilities, because it allows them to process more orders. For example, in DuPont, Washington, a large yellow robot arm moves pallets of items to the second story of the facility, while orange, pallet-sized robots carry shelves full of products to stations where workers can reach them.

Then workers can see on screens what the desired item looks like and where it is located, so everything should move fast.
You can read more about Amazon’s new technology on the WSJ website.

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