Monday Morning – Where Did You Put That?
With the Christmas shopping season going into full-motion this week, the world's Number One online retailer Amazon has their merchandise movement operation staffed, stocked and picking up speed along with the demand. It's hard to comprehend this, but Amazon fills and ships out orders by the millions each day. They have 80 distribution centers around the world – 40 of them in the U. S. alone – and in last year's peak day the facilities picked, packed and shipped out 17 million individual items in a 24-hour period. Seventeen million! As I said, that's hard to comprehend.
photos provided by Amazon
How they do it in an economically practical method is interesting in itself. Amazon practices the chaotic storage method of warehousing, a time-saving mode made possible with computers and bar codes. Simplifying the description of what's going on, whenever a shipment arrives at the warehouse, time is not wasted sorting the items and then storing them among similar products. They are just placed into any available space that is identified with a barcode label of its own and filed under the package's barcode. The immediate savings are evident, no time wasted looking for the proper allocated space. Plus the utilization of space is more effiecient with no vacant shelving awaiting stuff that might not even be on the way. Of course, all books are in the same shelving and not mixed with power tools, for example.
When the workers receive a customer's order, the computer tells them exactly where the items are stored and he zips around picking the items and placing them in one container for the shipping folks to safely package and dispatch. All in a matter of minutes. It's all so efficient that for the second time in a month I received an order here at home the very day after I ordered it online. In this most recent case it was a dvd that UPS delivered 14 hours after I ordered it. Very impressive.
If you're interested in this kind of stuff, I found this information in an article published by International Business Times HERE where they go into more detail of the operation and have an 11-image photo gallery with it. It's a little hard to understand the accent if you don't live in UK, but this video shows everything going on that I just told you about:
I have seen some ambulances and battalion chief's desktops where chaotic storage is practiced, but fortunately it hasn't spread to pumpers and trucks yet. So let's get going on this morning's equipment check while we still know where everything is. I think the coffee is still stored in the cabinet under the Bunn-O-Matic, so I'll get some more of that started. See you back in the day room when we're finished.
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