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An inside look at an Amazon warehouse

Dan Graziano
November 30th, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Amazon Warehouse An Inside Look

Ordering something from Amazon (AMZN) couldn’t be easier, however many people are unaware of the journey a package must go through before reaching a customer’s doorstep. The world’s largest online retailer has 80 giant warehouses strategically located around the globe that are ready to fulfill an order at a second’s notice. These warehouses are massive, with a singe building taking up 1.2 million-square-feet and containing miles of conveyor belts. The logistics of running a single warehouse are mind-boggling, even before you add in the fact that Amazon doesn’t use any robots. For a retailer that stocks everything from clothing and toothpaste to books and giant TVs, one of the biggest tasks is making sure to always have enough of the right product.

“That’s kind of the magic of Amazon and the selection. Making sure you have all that and it’s here at the right time,” Josh Teeter, the general manager of Amazon’s Phoenix warehouse, said to ABC News. “So we’re the kind of customer facing side of that there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure we have the right product.”

The secret to Amazon’s success — barcodes. Everything inside the company’s warehouses has a bar code to help locate the product, ship the product and track the product. Instead of storing items in specific, Amazon utilizes a system known as “chaotic storage,” in which products are stored wherever there is free space. You may think to yourself that this controlled method of chaos wouldn’t be efficient, however you are wrong.

The chaotic storage system allows Amazon to utilize more shelf space and doesn’t force employees to waste time organizing products. Locating items is a breeze thanks to computer-generated product lists, which help warehouse workers easily locate the specific products and prepare them for shipment.

This holiday shopping season is expected to be Amazon’s biggest yet and to meet the demand, the company has brought in more than 50,000 seasonal workers to occupy these massive warehouses.

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