Amazon opens first robotic fulfillment center in Mississippi

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Aproximately 70,000 of these shelving units are in the fulfillment center, and each can be moved quickly by small kiva robots to stations where workers pack or unpack items.

The new facility, called JAN1, is located in the heart of Madison County, and the three million square foot building is capable of processing up to one million orders per day.

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One main conveyor belt links all four floors of the building, transferring products between their intake area, storage, and packing. To have quick access to all of the items, the facility is using small robotic vehicles that can move a stack of canvas shelves, or ‘Storage pods’, from a densely packed holding area to a station where workers can access them. Spokesperson Divina Mims says items are stored seemingly at random, but their electronic systems are able to track where and how many items there are at all times.

“So here we just have a lot of inventory that’s waiting. Again it’s smaller household items, dog food, toys, books, things that can fit into one of those yellow totes,” says Mims. “And what you saw earlier is some employees doing training this morning, learning how to make sure they are keeping an accurate count of that inventory and learning how the process works and getting familiar with those robotics.”

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There are 47,000 kiva robots in the facility, which have sensors to navigate between each of the storage pods. These robots connect wirelessly with the building’s logistical system and can be charged on pads throughout the storage rooms. If something falls off a pod during transit, special Amazon workers will go in and remove those items.

The new facility already has around 700 employees and is currently hiring. They offer benefits, such as dental, retirement match, and a college assistance program.

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Attending the grand opening, Governor Tate Reeves says this is a big step forward for Mississippi’s technology industry.

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Reeves says “When you walk through this facility, what you’re going to see is that most everything is automated. We’re going to have 1,500 employees, there’s an awful lot of technology inside this facility and the reason that these individuals are getting paid above average wages and great benefits is because you have to have a skillset to operate this and we’re training those people right here in Mississippi.”

Although much of Amazon’s packing is done in this facility, packages must also go through shipping and delivery facilities before arriving at the doors of customers.



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