Today was our first day at Amazon SDF-8 in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Each fulfillment center is identified by the closest airport, which is SDF in Louisville. There are 8 centers associated with this airport, including the original, SDF-1, in Campbellsville, KY. This facility is so big, I was unable to get it all in the photo.
This center was opened in 2012, and is the first facility dedicated to apparel. According to the General Manager that spoke to our group today, apparel is Amazon’s fastest growing segment in their company. This facility has doubled production every year, which is one reason they are short-staffed. They simply have not been able to keep up with customer demand as they process 4 million items per week. SDF-8 has over 2,000 regular full-time employees, and is expected to have close to 5,000 employees during these next 4 weeks. In just the last 10 days, they have added 1400 new seasonal workers.
When Amazon requested 100 Camperforce associates from Campbellsville, it was expected that 90 would be assigned to Picking, and 10 to Packing. That changed this morning, when they announced only 40 of us would be going to picking, and the rest to packing. That brought a few cheers, and a few ‘other words’ from our group! They only wanted those of us that have been picking, to work in that area. The management at SDF-8 stated, with only four weeks to go, there would not be enough time to properly train anyone in Picking.
After our orientation meeting, we divided into groups of 5 and went out into the two picking areas. They are separated on the east side of the building, and the west side. And the picking mods are very simple, compared to SDF-1. Since this is a brand new building, everything goes in alphabetical and numeric order. The east side has pick mod A, and the west side has pick mod B, C, D. The mods cover four floors, just like we are used to. But, according to our trainer, we won’t be bounced around from pick mod to pick mod, like we did in Campbellsville.
Also, the expectations are lower here. The trainer stated a full-time associate should be picking 50 units per hour. In Campbellsville, they were expected to average at least 120 UPH. In some areas, it was 180 UPH. As Camperforce associates, we are expected to do 85% of what the full-time employees do. At first we were surprised by the low numbers needed, but you do spend a great deal of time digging through cardboard “drawers” to find the right item! They can have a drawer full of black t-shirts, for instance, and you need to pick through all the sizes to get the correct one. And these bins are over stuffed. (just like Campbellsville)!
The warehouse is clean, well light, and has windows. It is also climate controlled, although it did get pretty warm when we were up on the 3rd floor, so we will probably continue wearing shorts at work.
Tomorrow we will have our first 10 hour day, so it will give us a good sense of how the next 4 weeks will pan out. They are hoping to have a Camperforce program at this facility next year, if our ‘trial’ group works out. They are also having a Thanksgiving meal for us as well. We do have to work on Thanksgiving, but only from 7:30am to 3:00pm, and it will be time and a half!! Starting Black Friday, we have the option of working 11 hour days, which we will try.
Last night we had an impromptu ‘meet and greet’ dinner at a nearby hotel, and got to meet many other workcampers that we had never seen before (they were either on nights, or in different departments).
Our campground is small (or shall I say “cozy”), but has free cable television, and decent wi-fi, which is unusual for campgrounds. And we did find a dog sitter for Makena. Today was her first day, and we received a good report card!
Quote for the day: “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” – Jim Rohn