A Look Inside Amazon’s New Sortation Center in Maple Grove
Convenience is something we’ve come to expect when it comes to online shopping.
“It’s gone a lot more from what people want when they buy online to, people are actually ordering things that they need,” said Tommy Johns, an Amazon site lead.
When people buy things they need, they want it as soon as possible. Amazon has become the undisputed leader of quickly getting packages from point A to point B, which is especially important during its peak season between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“We really work all year for Christmas,” said Johns. “We call it peak for a reason because it is our peak. So we try to make sure that we have everybody in place to meet the customers’ promise, but also have some fun doing it.”
Johns is the site leader of “MSP 7,” Amazon’s new 350,000-square-foot sortation center in Maple Grove.
Now hiring for the holidays
The site currently has 200 employees, but the building has the capacity for 1,000. The company is offering incentives to get more people on board.
“Wages start at $18 per hour and can actually grow from there,” said Scott Seroka, Amazon’s regional operations public relations manager. “We’re also offering, at this time, $3,000 signing bonuses, as well as after 90 days of employment, Amazon will pay for your full college tuition.”
Those employees would be joining what Amazon refers to as “the middle mile.”
“So this is our inbound dock area where the trailers will come in and bring the packages in from different locations throughout Minnesota and the Upper Midwest,” said Bryan Levandusky, an operations manager, as he pointed to a loading dock area.
When the packages enter the building, they’re loaded onto an elaborate system of conveyor belts that help sort each box.
“It’s engineering at its finest, right here,” Levandusky said.
Every package is scanned by a machine that reads the zip code of its final destination.
“Then after it goes through the scanning process and makes a final turn, then it knows which chute to deploy, and then each chute represents the location where we’re going to be sending it to,” Levanandusky said.
At that point, the employees grab the items and place them on the appropriate pallet to be sent off for delivery.
Tens of thousands of packages come through the building every day, and as Christmas approaches, the numbers will only increase.
“I think Amazon is prepared, and we’re going to be ready to meet those demands as they come through,” Johns said.