Suppose you are wondering how you will get the product after placing an order at Amazon. Let’s reveal the magic that happens after clicking on the “buy” option on Amazon.
As a customer, I sometimes become curious to know what happens behind the scenes of Amazon inventory management and how I get the product by clicking an option.
If you are just like me and want to explore inside Amazon fulfillment centers, here is your chance. The in-depth warehouse tour program offers a virtual tour worldwide, allowing guests to explore what it is like to work inside fulfillment centers. They will also get the foretaste of the latest technology and employees at the amazon center.
What is the history of Amazon fulfillment centers?
In 1995, Jeff Bezos founded the tiny company “Amazon” and is currently one of the world's largest e-commerce platforms. The first fulfillment center was built in 1997 in Seattle at 93000 square feet. The second one was in Delaware at 202,000 square feet. Today in the USA, Amazon has 110 fulfillment centers and 185 fulfillment centers worldwide, as large as 28 football fields.
How does the Amazon fulfillment center work?
Despite the resounding space, the climate on the roof is extremely comfortable, maintaining the ambient temperature throughout the year. Employees pick, pack, and then ship Amazon.com buyer orders at overall 175 similar facilities around the world.
Let’s check what will be done after placing an order and how it will be delivered to you from the warehouse.
First step- where the product enters the warehouse:
When the product reaches the inbound dock, it gets taken off previews by a forklift built into pallets. After that, whether the product comes from another amazon facility or a vendor like a seller is using FBA or Fulfillment by Amazon is checked. With FBA, small sellers can store their inventory at the warehouses, and Amazon picks, packs, then ships and also provides customer service, plus helps those small sellers to reach more customers.
Second step- The Storing process:
Amazon stores inventory randomly, which means they have not separated the products. Yellow-tiered pods load bins full of distinct products tracked by the computers. It makes it easier for employees to rapidly pick & pack multiple items.
Depending on item size, robots ship these pods to employees at stow points, directing 2D barcodes. The stow points look for appropriate space for every product, stow it into the pod, and make it in stock for purchase.
Third Step- Picking orders:
Pickers are like individual shoppers, choosing from hundreds of products daily to justify customer orders. When an order arrives, the robot brings capsules filled with items to colleagues working at the picking stations. The collector reads the screen, takes the correct product from the bin, and places it in a yellow plastic box named tote.
The robots are extremely smart but don't compete for work — they're made in Amazon's fulfillment centers. By transporting thousands of capsules with millions of items stored inside, the robots allow more inventory to be routed through the fulfillment center, which means more employees are needed to manage that inventory
Fourth Step- Quality Assurance:
Different teams ensure smooth order processing along the way. The Inventory Control and Quality Assurance team ensures that the item's physical location matches that on your computer by tracking millions of SKUs. Even the robots need help, so Amnesty's floor guards keep the floors clean and rearrange the elements when needed.
When you visit Amazon's fulfillment center, you will witness a procedure constantly being perfected. For example, where employees used to have to manually scan the location of a basket after dropping each product, machine learning can now automatically learn where the employee dropped the item. Today it is impossible to forecast what technological innovations you will see six months from now.
Fifth Step- Packing Order:
First, items from different products are sorted and scanned for accuracy. They are then sent to the packing station, where the computer recommends carton sizes to colleagues, and the machine measures the amount of adhesive tape required. Many products ship in their original packaging, and Amazon works with suppliers to decrease packaging. There are no shipping labels at this stage – the machines do it all down the line, caring for customer privacy and ensuring process efficiencies.
Sixth Step- Shipping order out:
The envelopes and wrapped boxes then pass through the SLAM machines, which apply the shipping labels surprisingly quickly and easily despite the name. A shipment sorter reads bundle labels to regulate where and how quickly customer orders should be shipped and acts as a traffic controller.
Ready-to-Roll packages are moved from the conveyor belt to the right trailer depending on the shipping method, delivery speed, and location. Every shipping dock door can accommodate trailers from different locations and carriers.
What is the timing of those fulfillment centers?
Amazon warehouses are busiest over holidays. Especially during the peak season in Nov and Dec, FCs ship more than a million packages daily. At that time, associates work for 12 hours a day.
If you want to take this 1-hour tour, you must schedule it online, and the age limit is 6 or more. Wear flat shoes, tie back long hair, and, most importantly, use handrails on stairs for safety. So now it has become easy to explore things.