Main entrance of Amazon Fulfillment Center in San Bernardino, CA. (Photo by Shaun Baek)
Portola High School

The Amazon Fulfillment Center Tour allows Prime members an insight to Amazon’s delivery system

With few clicks of a button, Amazon Prime members instantly receive parcels in front of their doorsteps with a premium subscription. With the usage of advanced technology, Amazon makes high-speed delivery possible, which fascinates online shoppers.

Established in 2012 as the first in California, Amazon Fulfillment Center Ontario 2 in San Bernardino is one of 175 fulfillment centers worldwide. These centers are the heart of Amazon’s dynamic movement, where customers’ orders are processed, packed, and shipped.

With 1.2 million square feet of space, there are three stories with approximately 2,000 dedicated associates, 10 miles of swift conveyor belts and 40,000 yellow totes that carry customers’ items.

As Amazon started advancing, they were able to settle 15 other equally substantial centers just in San Bernardino that deal with different sized objects. Without any use of robots, the Ontario 2 building only handles small to medium-sized items. 

“Amazon [does] not store items in an organized fashion but rather randomly on shelves,” Clinton Y., an Amazon employee said. 

Even though there is enough space to fit 20 football fields, Amazon has to stay efficient by storing all different items randomly on barcoded shelves on all three floors, reducing congestion and saving an abundance of space.

Each picker associate has a designated area to pull things off the shelves by reading a list of orders with a picture and specific details on their chunky scanners. After locating the item, the totes hold a group of customer’s requests, which is sent down a conveyor belt and into a packing line.

“When Prime Day comes, all of the packing stations will be running,” Clinton said.

As the packers scan the items, the computer recognizes it, displays the type of box, and dispenses the length of tape and label to utilize when packing. Swiftly, the packer packs a customer’s order and slides it onto another conveyer belt, which goes to the SLAM Machine.

The machine scans the label, slaps a shipping label onto the box, and monitors any suspicious packages before it leaves to the shipping trucks while moving at a top speed of 20 miles per hour. 

“[Amazon] takes care of its employees,” Clinton said.

For the employees, the busy, stressful work comes with many benefits. With a minimum $15 hourly wage, associates can receive free education by college professors to further explore other professional careers, free self-care tools, free medical care at a newly created medical facility just for Amazon employees, and reduce priced retirement saving 401(k) plan.  

“It is amazing how much Amazon is giving back to the community,” visitor Sam Baek said.

With an abundance of profit earned, Amazon has a passion for giving back to their community through their Amazon Goes Gold program. They mainly inspire the youth community, especially for the ones with disabilities, by making their wishes come true and giving exclusive tours just for him or her. 

img 20200203 093642 The Amazon Fulfillment Center Tour allows Prime members an insight to Amazons delivery system
At the front security checkpoint, a board says “Work Hard. Have Fun. Make History.” (Photo by Shaun Baek)

While San Bernardino’s Ontario 2 facility runs on a non-robotic layout, many other newly created warehouses throughout the globe effectively use robots to aid Amazon associates through hard work.

For individuals that have more interest in Amazon’s technology, selected facilities offer free one hour tours. On the ground of Ontario 2, the mission statement “Work Hard. Have Fun. Make History,” truly inspires all employees to come to work with joy and ambition.