Chinese e-commerce company is running a nearly autonomous warehouse with almost ZERO human employees
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has constructed a fulfillment center that handles as many as 200,000 orders each day - and it only has four employees.
中国电子商务巨头京东建立了一个工作中心，每天处理多达20万份订单 – 但只有四名员工。
That's because the roughly 100,000 square foot facility is run almost entirely autonomously, with human employees solely on site to tend to the robots.
According to JD.com, the warehouse leverages 'highly-automated sorting technology' to sort up to 16,000 packages per hour with 99.99% accuracy.
Located outside Shanghai, the sorting center uses artificial intelligence to scan and inspect packages as they're being processed.
'Once packages are taken off trucks at one side of the Kunshan facility, they’re loaded onto a complex network of automated machinery, where fast-moving, automated conveyors zip each box around,' JD.com explained.
Then, image scanners check the packages in 'microseconds' and the firm's smart logistics system calculates where they should be dropped off.
The packages are grouped by region, picked up by autonomous forklifts and brought to a truck for delivery.
The firm employs 17,540 people at its other warehouses, but acknowledges that the rapidly growing e-commerce sector calls for speedier solutions to ensuring packages make it to shoppers doors.
It faces steep competition from fellow Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba, as well as Amazon, Walmart and others.
'At the rate that e-commerce is growing in China and around the world, robotics and automation will be a necessary solution to meet that explosion in demand,' said JD Logistics CEO Zhenhui Wang.
'We are investing in this advanced technology, and other automation throughout our supply chain, with an eye on the long-term.'
The idea of automated fulfillment centers may scare off many, but as MIT Technology Review noted, many of these facilities were already automated for a while.
Amazon uses robotic machines to organize shelves of goods and for routing and tracking packages.
Alibaba has also built a warehouse that's almost entirely autonomous.
But JD.com has been doubling down by applying automation to several different areas of its logistics process.
The firm constructed a network of autonomous drones that can handle long distance deliveries.
Drones are primarily based out of the northern Chinese province of Shaanxi and travel through a network that spans a 200 mile radius, with drone bases throughout the province.
They took our job!!! Durka duh.... Joking aside some good progress. What they need to do now eventually cut down the length of the working week to compensate for loss working man ours. People still have jobs, more leisure time means happy people.
Amazing. Then they go in the post and take 2 months to reach you.
why can't the USA do this then? no workers salaries to pay or their healthcare unemployment subsidies