In an Amazon fulfillment center, every second counts toward beating the competition. Amazon wants clean energy vehicles in the warehouses, but electric take too long to charge up. That’s where fuel cell technology could be the perfect solution. Amazon is working with fuel cell maker Plug Power to put fuel cell powered-industrial trucks in its fulfillment centers. The Wall Street Journal has more:
Amazon plans to spend $70 million with Plug Power this year. Plug Power, which generated $85.9 million of revenue in 2016, has granted Amazon warrants, which will vest when certain spending goals are reached. If fully vested, Plug Power said Amazon would have a 19% stake in the company.
The two companies started working together a year ago and Amazon completed the installation of Plug Power technology at a warehouse in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Amazon is well-known in supply-chain circles for its efficiency, from its methods of storing products to how it trains workers. It isn’t surprising Amazon would want to apply that discipline to forklifts as well.
The company has a history of acquiring technology that it believes would boost its warehouse operations and provide a leg up against competitors. Amazon’s most notable investment in warehouse efficiency was its $775 million acquisition of robot maker Kiva Systems Inc. in 2012. Those robots bring shelves to warehouse workers, keeping the workers from having to wander through giant fulfillment centers looking for customer orders.
Warehouse efficiency helps reduce costs and improves the speed of shipping orders, an increasingly important focus at Amazon as it builds its $99 annual Prime membership program, which offers perks such as free two-day shipping.
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