In an attempt to provide their Prime members with one-day shipping instead of two-day delivery, Amazon is offering employees $10,000 to leave their jobs and start a business delivering packages, per The Daily Mail. The incentive was announced on Monday and was offered to both part- and full-time employees, including warehouse workers.
The company launched a program about a year ago in an attempt to control more of its deliveries, and to start its own delivery service. So far, about 200 delivery businesses have been set up by independent contractors. However, Amazon is hoping to increase the number of independent businesses delivering their packages by incentivizing current employees to change jobs.
Startup costs for a delivery business with the leading e-commerce company are about $10,000, and include the opportunity for a van rental that has the company’s logo printed on the side.
Milton Collier is one freight broker who started a delivery business with Amazon, and he currently employs 120 people with a fleet of 50 vans. As they prepare for the switch to one-day delivery, the company is hiring more people, hoping to expand past their current 200 delivery stops in one day.
In addition to increasing the amount of independent businesses that will deliver for the company, Amazon is also adding more automatic machines — machines that can handle the packaging side of customer orders — to their fleet.
For every one machine added to a factory, 24 human roles are taken away. As warehouse automation increases, the company hopes that the people whose jobs will be displaced will consider the delivery side of the business.
An Amazon spokesperson expanded on the company’s goals, writes The Daily Mail.
“We are piloting this new technology with the goal of increasing safety, speeding up delivery times and adding efficiency across our network. We expect the efficiency savings will be re-invested in new services for customers, where new jobs will continue to be created.”
Despite the addition of automated technology, Amazon says that human labor will not be eliminated, but rather repurposed. As packing roles are eliminated, more technical roles will open up, as the machines require humans for programming, supplies, and to fix any problems that may arise.
Completely automated warehouses are still a distant dream, as automated machines have yet to master grasping technology, which allows artificial intelligence to grasp a diverse range of objects quickly and fluidly without breaking them.
Amazon’s employee base is one of the largest in the world, and the company is constantly building new fulfillment centers in locations all over the United States. The company seeks to ensure that Prime members receive their packages as quickly as possible.