I accepted an invitation to tour an Amazon fulfillment center, this one near Kenosha, WI, and charged with handling only small articles (less than 25 pounds). I arrived at shift change, and was able to view the streams of employees existing the building, going thru a TSA type inspection station, some then stopping at their private lockers, before heading out to the parking lot. I didn’t see any scowls or hear any expressions of discontent, as are often rumored.
You are (or I was) struck by the abundant signage, cautioning employees with all sorts of safety tips, including how to walk across a parking lot glazed over with winter ice.
Signage is everywhere throughout the building, mostly addressing employee welfare.
I have to say, I was amazed. I can’t even conceive what kind of brain it took to think up how all this works. The building is multi-story, as big as dozens of football fields, criss crossed by conveyors, with “robots” traversing the floors, carrying bins of merchandise to different work stations/processes.
The guide was excellent, she knew the company, the processes, the procedures. Very enthusiastic about what it was like to work there, all the benefits available to employees, from day one, and the fact that the starting wage is $15, compared to the state’s minimum wage of $7.25.
As one would suspect, the operation relies heavily on technology, and tech prompts employees as to what their tasks are.
The local (Milwaukee) TV station ran a piece on the center when it opened.
I probably get 2-3 deliveries a week at home from Amazon. Now that I’ve seen the inner workings, I am still amazed that they rarely make a mistake.
The current government thinks they should be “broken up.” I don’t. I think they are one of the few things in America that really works. Well.
You don’t have to be a special person like me to tour one of their facilities. If there is one near you, sign up here.
By the way, this one is called “MKE” because that is the airport code for Milwaukee.