With Black Friday just passing and the upcoming Cyber Monday, it is the busiest time of year for online retailers like Amazon and eBay etc. and things are going absolutely crazy inside Amazon warehouses. You think you have it difficult to choose amongst the thousands and thousands of items Amazon lists? Well, you definitely did not peek inside any one of the Amazon warehouses. Ever wondered how Amazon handles everything? It’s not just about Amazon, it’s the same pretty much with every online retailer yet few could boast such a system. Amazon currently has 50 fulfillment and 20 sortation centers spread across the States. Things inside those centers are beyond what you may have imagined.
Join us as we take a look inside Amazon Warehouses below.
Amazon Warehouses are referred to as Fulfillment Centers or FCs. It also has sortation centers which are responsible for prepping and sorting the packages before they are shipped off to individual post offices.
These fulfillment centers are the busiest during the holidays which peak in November and December, so that’s right now! Hold your breath. FCs send over a million packages every single day, and sometimes, employees have to work over 12 hours in a day.
Amazon warehouses employ over 90,000 full-time employees. An additional 100,000 are employed for the holiday seasons. Amazon employee wages are amongst the highest in a similar category. They are paid between $10 and $14 per hour. Moreover, they are entitled to benefits such as health insurance and 401(k).
The largest of Amazon warehouses can be found in Phoenix, Arizona. It is 1.2 million square feet which means you could house roughly 28 football fields in there.
Working in an Amazon warehouse is no piece of cake. You need to be able to lift up to 49 pounds in weight, and stand or walk for anywhere between 10 and 12 hours every single day. Moreover, depending on an employee’s role, one may have to walk between 7 and 15 miles inside the warehouse every day. If that wasn’t enough, temperatures inside Amazon warehouses can rise above 90 degrees (32oC).
Every time you order something on Amazon, the order will be pinged onto an pick mod. It is a handheld device kept by all the employees. The pick mod lets the employees know where every item is stored. Upon reaching the item, the employee will scan it, place it in a tote, scan the tote, and send it for shipping prep via a conveyor belt. Sounds easy, but it’s really not.
It’s all about efficiency in such huge warehouses. One move out of place and the system crumbles. The machines are efficient too. For example, a conveyor belt handle over 400 orders per second. This number varies from warehouse to warehouse.
Not everything is handled by humans. There are algorithms that determine what box is suitable for a particular order. Actually, software is in integral part of all the Amazon warehouses. There are hundreds of algorithms running in a warehouse, controlling a lot of tiny different things. According to Wired, an Amazon Fulfillment Center is like a giant robot. Amazon deploys some really cool robots too, over 30,000 to be more specific. They run around the warehouses, carting products around in order to save time and improve efficiency. The tiny orange things you see in the picture below, are robots.
Take a look below to see these robots in action.
In order to enter or exit these giant Amazon Warehouses, one need to pass through metal detectors. The queue is so long, and the security screening is so stringent, that getting in and out can take 25 minutes each.
Amazon started tours of their fulfillment centers just last year. You can visit to look at the massive activity. Since last year, 26,000 have people have visited. It’s really fun, and honestly it would blow your mind away.
Fun Fact: Amazon fulfillment centers are so huge, that employees end up wasting their time just to get to the proper areas. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ for more updates. Otherwise fill in the subscription box above, or subscribe to our RSS Feed.