Bright eyed and bushy tailed, four Clearbox team members, including two newbies, caught a flight to Manchester last week to visit Amazon’s fulfilment centre for a public tour of the facility. We asked Darryl to write a few words about his maiden voyage to Amazon.
Waking up at 5am is never fun.
This is why I chose to wake at 5:30am for the day ahead, instead.
I have been with Clearbox now for just over two months and have worked predominantly on the Amazon team in that time, so it was incredibly exciting for me to finally see one of the facilities I had heard (and written) so much about.
It was a beautiful day, and the sun was shining. After fuelling up on a very specifically made iced chai latte at Belfast International Airport, I was ready for the day ahead. This was also my first time travelling to Manchester, despite having so many friends in the city.
The fulfilment centre appears out of nowhere, close to Manchester Airport, and is designed as beautifully on the outside as it is on the inside. Amazon has done everything to make it look modern, fresh and welcoming.
Carl on the welcome desk made us all feel very at home, as he showed us to our meeting room for the day where we kept up to date with everything going on back in the office and beyond.
Our tour time came very quickly and we were welcomed by Sandy, who was chatting and interacting with all the guests waiting for the tour to start. These tours are open to the public, are completely free and easy to sign up for, and it was great to see so many people willing to visit and engage.
We first went to get briefed and set up for the tour ahead, leading to a walkthrough of the staff facilities, including the canteen, before heading to the second level of the facility where we would have a full walkthrough. In between locations, Sandy told guests about different Amazon initiatives and staff benefits. Just last week was Learning at Work Week, which Amazon celebrated by urging staff to sign up for a programme called Amazon Career Choice that offers funded, nationally-recognised training courses aimed at developing their career.
From there, we learned about totes, stacks and shelves and met some of the team. I was genuinely blown away. There are thousands of cool Amazon Robots whirring around, organising shelves and putting things in the right place. It was fascinating to see.
These little Labrador-like creatures were bringing the shelves to staff to fill up. Get this. They are filled up totally randomly and items are simply put wherever there’s space. This makes no sense to me at all and I can’t understand it, but clearly the robots are smarter than me. I’m at peace with that.
From there, we visited the packaging facility where we learned about how Amazon is dedicated to reducing packaging waste where possible, and what actions are being taken to combat this. I actually packed, scanned, and sent an item away myself, which was really fun! My takeaway from this was that, whilst there’s incredibly efficient and high-tech equipment involved in the process, it’s the people that are overseeing the facility that make sure your items get to you efficiently, ensuring reliability in a seamless customer journey.
I know that Amazon is my client, and this may appear biased, but I would genuinely recommend to anyone to go along to one of these tours. I know that the Clearbox team all found it very interesting, and it was truly fascinating to see the product journey and everything that happens after you click ‘buy’.
I honestly had such a great day…
It must have been that 5:30am start.