Millions of people order millions of things from Amazon.com.
It’s the default “app” we use to order just about everything. One pair of socks. 3 bundles of paper towels. 50 baseballs. Whatever we want we order it from Amazon.
But there’s not many people, comparatively, who’ve been INSIDE of an Amazon fulfillment center to see how it works. I did.
Overall it’s overwhelmingly amazing to see the blend of people, robots, efficiency and overall technology.
It’s absolutely amazing to see hundreds of robots, weighing about 300 lbs each, whizzing across the floor bringing plastic shelves to an Amazon associate who picks the item you order.
It’s pretty neat.
Each robot is guided by bar codes on the floor. We humans read street signs and other signage, the robots read bar codes.
Beyond the robots are of course miles of conveyor belts and other automated warehousing logisitcs systems that take your package to the place it needs to be within the Amazon system.
From what I can gather, just about everything at Amazon is measured and squeezed for maximum efficiency.
Amazon seems to ask the question, what can we do to make this process faster, better, more profitable.
It’s all about making the customer experience as great as possible while of course increasing profitability as well.
Since “everything” is tied to a sensor and observed with a camera, Amazon managers can tweak the entire logistics process in the warehouse, including the human associates, for maximum efficiency.
Of course “technology” is the underpinning of the enablement to Amazon’s success. The speed in adoption of smartphones and increase mobile ordering and of course the overall evolution of ecommerce has enabled Amazon to explode as the number one retailer in America, giving Wal-Mart and other retails a major headache.
By leveraging technology, Amazon is able to rapidly scale, analyze buying trends, be ruthlessly efficient and more.
Even to go in and out of the Amazon center, there is minimal human security. The entrance and exit from the building is all badge controlled with ceiling height turn styles.
During our tour so much of what the tour guide shared with us was focused on how Amazon can make working at Amazon a great experience for their ASSOCIATES.
Sure, it’s about the customers, but also very important to Amazon are it’s associates.
It’s minimal wage is $15 an hour. Sure this might have been forced on it due to social change, but it is what it is.
Within the fulfillment center it’s a tedious job with lots of repetitive motion and standing all the time, for hours.
It’s not a job for everyone, but it is a job for many people who need work and want to work and I can see why.
Amazon provides health care for all employees from day one. Furthermore, employees have a fast track to career advancement.
There’s quite a bit of variety in an fulfillment center associates time at Amazon. One day they could be loading a truck, and another day they could be packing things into a box destined for a customer.
Although the moves are repetitive, leveraging technology, Amazon works hard to ensure they’re as smooth and have the least strain for each Associate.
For example, instead of using one hand to hold a scanner and another hand to hold an item for packaging, an associate can use both hands as the scanners are affixed on stands. This “small” change in process reduces muscle strain for associates.
This is an example of how Amazon is always changing to do what’s best for the customer, its employees and its profits.
Throughout the fulfillment center were vending machines which contained gloves, box openers and other items an employee might need to do their job. Again, saving employees time and increasing efficiency for Amazon.
Free Market Economy
I was only in the fulfillment center for an hour, but just that time gave me a greater appreciation for Amazon.
I did then, and I feel strongly now, that it was a MISTAKE for New York lawmakers and community organizers to fight against Amazon’s move to Long Island City.
Amazon is a HUGE company, making over $200 billion in revenue. This is good. We want strong companies.
It’s also providing jobs for over 600,000 people.
Amazon fulfillment centers are not the “factories” of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
No this is a safe fulfillment center, paying a good entry level wage.
Amazon is a good company, providing a great service to the US economy and the globe.
It’s only a because of a free market economy, with competitors, entrepreneurs and innovators that enable an economy to thrive.
Seeing this small part of Amazon today also gives me a greater appreciation for Jeff Business as an entrepreneur and his team who over the years has SCALED Amazon from his garage to a global company.
There’s many small business and entrepreneurs who are Smart Hustlers, like me. I also must acknowledge the trail blazers and risk takers like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Carnegie Mellon, Nelson Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbuilt, JP Morgan, Thomas Edison and many others who THOUGHT BIG and BUILT BIG businesses to power global economies.