By Ann Marie Shambaugh
It might not be Santa’s workshop, but it’s pretty close.
During the holiday season, the miles of conveyor belts within Whitestown’s Amazon Fulfillment Center – a facility the size of 28 football fields – are moving nonstop to get nearly any kind of gift imaginable to customers both near and far.
“It’s able to facilitate and hold millions and millions of unique items at the facility at any given time,” Amazon spokesperson Nina Lindsey said. “Anything from A to Z we’ll likely have in our Whitestown Fulfillment Center.”
With so many items to track, organization is key, although it may not look like it at first glance. Amazon uses a system called “random stow,” Lindsey said, with items placed in bins wherever workers can find available space. Technology is key when it comes time to collect items to ship to customers.
“(Our associates) are guided to that item by some of our innovative technology that optimizes their walking path so they are picking a variety of different items that many different customers have ordered,” Lindsey said. “We’ve found that’s actually the most efficient and effective way to fulfil those customers’ orders.”
High-tech systems also assist with selecting boxes and measuring tape for packing. Trained employees then create a “wall of boxes” on a delivery truck.
“It basically looks like playing a game of Tetris, if you will,” Lindsey said. “All those boxes are fitting perfectly together to create a really dense wall of product. That ensures we’re able to get all those items out the door to our customers super fast, which is always our goal.”
One of four Amazon facilities in the Indianapolis area, the Whitestown center opened in 2008 and delivers most of its products regionally. It employs more than 2,000 workers full time and is still hiring for the holidays, with many expected to stay on board in the new year. Interested candidates can apply online at amazon.com/seasonal.