Our e-Commerce team spent the day at the Amazon FBA warehouse in Hemel Hempstead, and were bowled over by the sheer size of the place… 

If you’re selling on Amazon’s UK marketplace and use Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), the chances are the World First team walked past your inventory, as last week, some of our team got the chance to experience Amazon’s Hemel Hempstead warehouse.

The World First team at the Amazon FBA warehouse in Hemel Hempstead

The first thing that struck the team was the sheer size of the warehouse, which is the equivalent of seven Wembley football pitches! But it wasn’t all on one floor; they had floor upon floor of extra space to accommodate for the ever increasing sales volumes on Black Friday and over the Christmas period. Put simply, the place is designed for mass fulfilment and shipping on a grand scale.

The next thing hit us was the technical flow of how the systems work. At first glance it looks ridiculously overcomplicated and hectic, but once you take a closer look, the whole operation is meticulously organised and thorough. With items seemingly stocked at random on thousands of warehouse shelves, you’d think that finding a specific product and SKU would be a total nightmare! But each shelf has a code and number matched with the product, so find what you want is actually rather easy.

That brings us onto the next notable theme – technology. This warehouse was using Amazon’s 7th generation software for their fulfilment functionality. This would cleverly provide the right box size, tape length and bar coded label, once the order items were picked, sorted and sent onwards. Then the magic happens, with each box sent on a conveyor, scanned and labelled by the ‘Stamper’. Thousands of parcels are then forwarded on to be sorted and put on crates for shipping.

Lastly, a theme in the news at present: the Amazon employees’ culture and treatment. From our experience (albeit we were part of a planned tour) Amazon seemed to take seriously the care and wellbeing of their employees – a scheduled community board, smiles aplenty, busy working but not overworked and a clean pleasant working space.

All in all, it is hard to describe the scale and enormity of the FBA warehouse, its processes and mechanics. A true thing to behold if you are operational enthusiasts like us!