May 17, 2020

Inside Amazon’s fulfilment centres

Georgia Wilson
2 min
Inside amazon warehose
Supply Chain Digital takes a closer look at Amazon’s fulfillment centre following its recent expansion into Auburndale, Florida.

Multinational techno...

Supply Chain Digital takes a closer look at Amazon’s fulfillment centre following its recent expansion into Auburndale, Florida.

Multinational technology giant, Amazon, currently has over 110 fulfillment buildings worldwide. It’s agile logistics network at its core, is comprised of six different build types.


Typically around 800,000 square feet, Amazon associates in this building pick, pack and ship small deliveries, such as books and toys. To ensure they remain efficient, Amazon has developed innovative robotics to work alongside its associates to help continuously improve customer experience.

2. Non-sortable

Variable in size, this building can range from 600,000 to 1,000,000 square feet and is where large items are picked, packed and shipped such as furniture, rugs and outdoor equipment. 

3. Sortation centers

The powerhouse for providing customers with its fast delivery service. The sortation center is where customer orders are sorted by final destination and consolidated onto the truck for fast and efficient delivery.


4. Receive centers

The hub for large order types. Slightly smaller in size at 600,000 square feet, receive centers support other fulfilment centers by taking in bulk orders of quick sell items and distributing them among the network.  

5. Specialty

A sub, supporting fulfilment center for specific categories of items that are seasonal or are more likely to sell at peak times. 

6. Delivery station

The preparation zone for last-mile delivery of customer orders. 

Amazon has 250,000 associates worldwide in its fulfilment centres, as a result of its new centre in Auburndale, Florida Amazon will create 500 news full time jobs adding to the 13,500 that are currently employed in Florida. 

“We are excited to join the Auburndale community and create more than 500 new, full-time jobs with industry-leading pay and benefits at our newest fulfillment center in the state,” said Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s vice president of global customer fulfillment. “Florida has been a source of exceptional talent for Amazon and the Sunshine state is an ideal location to provide great selection, competitive prices and superfast shipping speeds to Floridians.”

For more information on all topics for Procurement, Supply Chain & Logistics - please take a look at the latest edition of Supply Chain Digital magazine.

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Image source: Amazon

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Jun 15, 2021

FedEx is Reshaping Last Mile with Autonomous Vehicles

3 min
FedEx is expanding a trial of autonomous vehicles in its last-mile logistics process with partner Nuro, including multi-stop and appointment deliveries

FedEx is embarking on an expanded test of autonomous, driver-less delivery vehicles to develop its last-mile logistics. 

The US logistics firm piloted autonomous vehicles from Nuro in April this year, and the pair will now explore that further in a multi-year partnership. Cosimo Leipold, Nuro’s head of partnerships, said the collaboration "will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener". 

FedEx will explore a variety of on-road use cases for the autonomous fleet, including multi-stop and appointment-based deliveries, going beyond more traditional applications of the technology in single-route movement of goods from A-B. Exponential growth in ecommerce is spurring its broader experimentation in new autonomy solutions, Fed-Ex says, both in-warehouse and on-road. 

“FedEx was built on innovation, and it continues to be an integral part of our culture and business strategy,” said Rebecca Yeung, Vice President, Advanced Technology and Innovation, FedEx Corporation. “We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations.”


The changing role of couriers 

Unlike structured delivery networks, operating under long-term partnerships and contracts, agility is where couriers deliver true value - and their ability to deftly solve last-mile fulfilment has most acutely been felt during the pandemic. For the billions of people around the world forced to stay at home to protect themselves and their communities from the spreading COVID-19 virus, couriers have been a constant. They may have been the only knock at the door some people experienced for weeks or months at a time. 

But the last-mile has been uprooted by a boom in ecommerce, a shift that has been most apparent in the UK, US, China and Japan, according to the Global Parcel Delivery Market Insight Report 2021 by Apex Insight. These are markets with dominant economies and populations used to running their lives with a tap of a screen or double-click of a mouse. 

“Getting last mile delivery right has long been a challenge for retailers,” says Kees Jacobs, Vice President, Consumer Goods and Retail at Capgemini. “In 2019, 97% of retail organisations felt their last-mile delivery models were not sustainable for full-scale implementation across all locations. Despite increasing demand from customers, companies were struggling to make the last mile profitable and efficient.”

Jacobs says that the pandemic alleviated some of these stresses in the short term. With no other option, consumers were understanding and tolerant, if not entirely happy, with longer delivery times and less transparent tracking. “But, as extremely high delivery demand continues to be normal, customers will expect brands to contract their delivery times,” he adds. 

Last mile's role in ESG

Demand and volume weren’t the only things that have changed during the pandemic - businesses looked closer to home and as a result became more sustainable. Bricks and mortar stores were transformed from mini-showrooms to quasi-fulfilment centres. Online retailers and other businesses sought local solutions to ship more faster. In densely populated London, UK alone, Accenture found that delivery van emissions dropped by 17%, while Chicago, USA and Sydney, Australia saw similar emissions savings. 

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