An army of small robots orange will soon invade France in the service of e-commerce. Amazon has decided to automate its next warehouse, which will open at Bretigny-sur-Orge (91) at the end of this year. A first in France in order to propose always more items on its site, which already has 250 million, and deliver even faster to its customers in the île de france, sometimes in less than an hour. This technology team of 25 distribution centers Amazon 140 in the world. “It saves time during the preparation of the orders, a gain of productivity also, thanks to the flow of robots, and a space savings of 50% compared to the warehouses classics”, explains Ronan Bolé, president of Amazon logistics in France.
A constant ballet of robots
Has Dunstable, to the north-west of London, it’s now been three and a half years that the site LTN4 converted to the technology Amazon Robotics. “It is not necessary to think that we don’t have employees here,” insisted the head of operations, Matthew Smith. In effect, the reception of the articles, unpacked and scanned one at a time, as well as preparation of parcels, is carried out manually. Between these two operations, 2.000 robots equipped with laser to form a constant ballet by following the QR codes that crisscross the floor. At the discretion of commands, they are set in 15.000 shelves loaded with products as diverse as CDS, chocolates mint or ink cartridges. “This storage of chaotic articles is much more efficient,” explains Matthew Smith.
2.000 hires announced in 2018
Amazon uses 100.000 robots in the world, including 8,000 in Europe. The distribution centre in Brétigny-sur-Orge will be the next to be equipped. With what social consequences? Ronan Bolé wants to be reassuring. In addition to the fact that it avoids the need for ” pickers “, those who prepare the orders, browse dozens of kilometers on foot, pushing their cart, the automation does not condemn all the jobs of handling. “We employ 2,000 people on the site of Dunstable,” recalls Matthew Smith. And his French colleague says: “Amazon France had 5.500 employees at the end of December. And there will be 2.000 hires in 2018.” Numbers which are added the thousands of courier service providers to deliver orders to individuals. As A comparison, Monoprix, which has a turnover equivalent to the american giant in the Hexagon, that is, 5 billion euros, taking 21.000 employees. Robots will not replace totally the men, but at Bretigny-sur-Orge, as at Dunstable, they will be as numerous as the employees.