“Amazon delivered more than five billion items under two business days in 2017 to their Prime program members, based on our research, including discussions with Amazon Robotics,” Mr. Capron said. All of this bolstered customer loyalty and demand, resulting in more orders, sales revenue and jobs.
Mr. Brady said it was a myth that automation always destroys jobs.
“Since the acquisition of Kiva, we’ve added 300,000 full-time jobs globally,” he said. “Last year alone, we added 130,000.”
As robots have become faster, smaller, cheaper and safer in recent years, more and more companies — large and small — have been seeking robotics to step up productivity, increase precision or cut costs, said Stuart Shepherd, regional sales director for Universal Robots USA and chairman of the Association for Advancing Automation.
The average hourly cost of a manufacturing worker to an employer is $36 in the United States, while the hourly cost of a robot is $4, according to a recent Pew Research report.
All Axls Machining, a business in Dallas, was struggling to find enough workers to operate its metal-fabrication equipment and to sand and inspect metal parts manually for the medical, aerospace, defense and industrial sectors.
Without workers to run the machines and the assembly lines, production lagged. “After 5 p.m., we’d have a skeleton shift, with only half the machines running,” said Gary Kuzmin, the company’s owner. “It was costing me orders that I couldn’t get to my customers on time.”