Inside the Story: Tour Amazon's main fulfillment center in Reno
RENO, Nev. (News 4) —
Most of us have ordered items from Amazon without giving much thought as to what goes on behind the scenes to get your package delivered. We wanted an inside look at Reno's main fulfillment center, and we got one.
As soon as we entered the facility, it was instant sensory overload. It's like a tiny town inside this massive building, complete with pathways, traffic signs, conveyer belts and of course millions of items tucked away in towering shelves called pick-mods. Walking through, you almost have to stop just to soak it all in.
Amazon's Ashley Robinson gave us a tour. "Yes, I still get amazed to see the enormity of the place," she told us. "What's amazing is some of the other buildings in our network are 1.25 million square feet; you could fit 28 football fields in those buildings."
Reno's fulfillment center is a mere 625,000 square feet. Or if you're counting, big enough to store 14 football fields.
The cavernous size catches your attention, but perhaps more impressive is the attention to detail from the moment your order comes in. "I know our customers would be fascinated to see how deliberate we are with their item and their order, and how much care we put into making sure they get their item to them in good shape and on time," said Director of Operations Paul Pace.
As complicated as the system looks, the concept of storing and moving items around is rather simple. There is no separate category where items go; they're just stored where they fit best. Amazon calls it their random stow process.
Industrial trucks go up and down the narrow isles scaling 30-foot shelves to store and scan each item. They may sit there a few seconds or a few weeks based on on-line orders.
"The associates have scanners that tell them where that pick path is and where they can go get it," said Robinson.
The technology may wow you inside this place, but officials credit people power for Amazon's success. Robinson told us, "There's a lot of invisible technology behind the scenes, but it's all associate driven."