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At Zappos Your Co-Workers Could Be Robots

The word robot always conjures an image of Dot Matrix from Space Balls for me, but the robots Zappos has introduced to its workforce don't need piggyback rides when they're tired and we can be sure they are not equipped with virgin-alarms. The orange robots reside in the company's Kentucky warehouse and are part of the assembly line that packs the boxes containing your shoes.

The robots' job is to retrieve shoes from the warehouse and bring them to a person who packs the boxes, and another robot takes the completed box to another area to be shipped. Incorporating robots is seen by some as an effective way to cut down on costs to prevent US companies from outsourcing.

Join The Conversation
lexichloe lexichloe 9 years
If it means no outsourcing, we should all be for it, right?
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
So Wall*e would help pack my shoes? :)
imcs imcs 9 years
Americans complain about outsourcing b/c it means more jobs overseas and less jobs in the US... however, having robots, though it will cut down on outsourcing, it won't do anything possitive for domestic jobs either, since the position will be filled by a non-human... thus neither in-house or overseas employees will be earning the money. For that I'd rather have an oversea person working and let there be the chance that they'll spend their hard earned money on American goods and American travel, than a robot who won't do either... and at the end of the day, the companies will probably end up hireing engineers overseas to fix the robots. it's a no win situation in my pov.
looseseal looseseal 9 years
Robot co-workers... cool!
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
What's the big deal? I worked on an assembly line at a factory in 2000 and robotic arms had replaced 25% of the jobs there. For what takes 10 people, the robotic arms could do it with only two people working the machine. They were faster but not always efficient because when they make a mistake, they don't notice it and stop. So the machine operators have to watch carefully. I spent numerous hours re-sealing packages that the robot had stamped wrong! One machine also had many mechanical problems and ran maybe once a week. It takes a long time for them to pay for themself, because they are insanely expensive. The only way they even out is that they do not need benefits or insurance or risk injury.
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