Reflections from Visiting an Amazon Fulfillment Center

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By Michael Larner | 4Q 2019 | IN-5673


A Trip to Tilbury


In October I visited the Amazon Fulfilment Centre in Tilbury, London; the company’s largest such facility in Europe. The center receives packages from suppliers and third-party sellers on the site and packs them in the eponymous boxes before sending them to their distribution centers. I was there in a private capacity with members of my family. Amazon packages arrive at our home once or twice a week and we wanted to understand what happens behind the scenes when we place an order. The following is a write up of our time in the facility but also my perspectives as an analyst covering smart warehousing.

What Happens after Customers Place an Order


First, some numbers; the Tilbury facility covers 2.2 million square feet (or, to use a more common unit of measuring, 28 soccer fields) and contains 16 miles of conveyor belts connecting with 360 work stations. There are 1,500 staff members throughout the year and up to five thousand at peak times; there is an office for temporary staff provider Adecco on site. The facility has 38 lorry bays with …

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