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February Event Recap: Amazon Tour

On Wednesday February 19, 2020, 35 supply chain professionals took advantage of the members only tour offered to CSCMP members by Amazon as a pilot to a deeper relationship between Amazon & CSCMP.

CSCMP attendees from our local NY/NJ roundtable have now experienced some of the magic behind Prime Delivery at the Fulfillment Center LGA9, in Edison NJ, which has been open for about 2 years now.

The tour of the LGA9 facility offered the CSCMP members some insight into an AR (Amazon Robotics) sortable facility and how it all worked. It was impressive to witness Amazon Associates, Stowers, Pickers, Packers and Robots work together in a maze of over 13 miles of conveyor belts, which covers a space equivalent to fourteen football fields. What was most interesting was to watch the Amazon Robots move pods in a system choreographed dance where all the robots knew where the others were, while ensuring that both the pickers and packers had “pods” waiting to either have products picked for orders or stowed for storage.

We learned that some of the best innovation comes from Amazon associates themselves, and that small, incremental change can make a large impact on their entire warehouse operation. This LGA9 facility has over 2,200 employees across various shifts, and Amazon has embraced the idea of 10 hour work days for their employees while offering multiple increments of weekly hours (from full time 40 hours to part time 20 hours and everywhere in-between). The biggest takeaway for most tour participants was that while Amazon is innovating and utilizing robotics to accomplish many tasks, there are certain tasks that still can’t beat a human touch. Amazon has done a great job of eliminating travel time from the associates’ jobs, which everyone in the warehousing and distribution world knows is the biggest cause of unproductive time. It’s a goal that we should all strive for, to eliminate the unproductive time and to maximize our time doing the things that drive value.

Thank you to our Gold Sponsor for this event, Advanced Technology Solutions (ATS) and ATS’ president, Sandy Vosk! We look forward to next year's tour to see what changes this facility adopts to improve delivery speed and customer experience.

For more on this innovative facility, please check out this July 2019 article from Quartz:

Our next event in March will cover "Maximizing ROI of Supply Chain Software" with a star-studded panel, featuring UltraShipTMS, FourKites, and Adrian Gonzalez of Talking Logistics. Please be sure to visit our "Upcoming Events" page for more info on great tours, panel discussions, and networking events.

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