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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Comparison of Amazon Jobs

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 62, Low 42)

Another week down! They are flying by!

12295202_10208580474096084_254745475_oBefore I get to the main topic of my post today, just wanted to share a picture from last night. We went out with friends to celebrate the end of the work week and Harry took this picture of me with my celebratory margarita. I love this picture! I am making such great progress now toward my weight goal, losing about 1.5 pounds a week. I’ve lost 21 pounds since we arrived here and almost 52 altogether. The only downside (which is a mixed blessing) is that most of my clothes are now too big. So I see a shopping trip in my future.

At work this week, there was still a lot of what they call labor-sharing. That is when you go out of department to work in another function. On Friday morning after first break, (the first day of our work week), both Harry and I (as well as a bunch of others) got the message to go to Inbound where we found out we were being trained to stow. Since we were pickers, the trainer gave us a pretty abbreviated training and an hour later we were stowing clothes. We ended up stowing two full days and half of the day yesterday. That was the last job that I hadn’t done yet, so now I’ve tried them all. I thought I would give a short description of each of them which might be helpful for anyone thinking they might work at Amazon someday.

A couple caveats before I begin…the following is based on my experience at the fulfillment center in Campbellsville, KY. At another facility things might be done differently. For example, in Haslet TX, they have KIVA robots which bring the bins to the employee, so the picking job would be much different. Secondly, although I don’t plan to specifically say it under each function, all of the jobs require actually standing on your feet for ten hours. There is no way to get around that.

Inbound

IC/QA

IC/QA stands for Inventory Control/Quality Assurance. This is the function where I have the least amount of experience. I worked doing this job for only about 45 minutes and they were having computer issues that day so I spent much of the time staring at my scanner waiting for it to do something. But that was ok, because this is not the best job for me. It is a very slow paced position which involves scanning a bin and then counting the number of items located there. I personally find this job to be tedious, but if you are looking for a more low intensity position, then this might be the one for you.

Receiving

Harry and I spent two seasons (well, one full and two third of last year’s) in this department. It is the part of the facility which brings the product in. From what I have seen this year, this job appears to have changed a bit since we were there. Now that Campbellsville has become a clothing facility, a lot of the job function involves various kinds of product prep, including bagging the clothing. Even so, one thing that has stayed the same is that it requires more upper body movement. The product comes in pretty good sized and heavy boxes. The receiver has to pull on the heavy boxes to bring it from a conveyor onto their work station, open boxes, do whatever prep is required and then place the product on carts. (The carts have three shelves so the receiver also will do some bending and squatting.) It doesn’t require much walking though.

Stowing

I think I would consider stowing to be the second most low intensity position, although my back did feel a little tired at the end of the day. Stowers take the product, either off a juice cart or out of a box, and find a place for it in a bin. It doesn’t require much walking or heavy lifting. I think what bothered my back was the unusual movement of bending over frequently to get the product off the two lower shelves on the juice cart. If we had been working in that job fulltime since the beginning of the season I think I would be used to it by now. The nice part about that job is that you take your cart and go into whatever mod they send you into. Other than that, you are pretty much going on your own. Harry and I were able to work in the same area and talk as we worked which made the time go reasonably quickly.

Outbound

Picking

Picking, of course, is what Harry and I have been doing all season. It doesn’t really require any heavy lifting at all, just lots and lots of walking. If you are picking, you can expect to walk upwards of fourteen or fifteen miles a day. For Harry and I, other than being tired at the end of the day, we haven’t experienced any real discomfort. I have been thankful for our good shoes and the fact that we have trained for half marathons. This is my opinion, but I think campers who have problems with picking do so because of the fast increase of mileage when they first start. (Check out this article.) If you decide to do picking, I would definitely recommend you spend some time each day during the summer before walking to prepare for it, as in get yourself to the point where you walk at least ten to twelve miles a day. You will thank yourself later!

Packing

Packing is the last step in the process. Once the pickers have taken the product out of a bin and sent it on its way, it arrives at a packer’s station where it is boxed and prepared for shipping. I think packing is my second favorite department. I liked the fact that there were a number of different jobs to do within the department. The variety made things more interesting. Of course, we worked in Pack in Jeffersonville, so I’m not sure whether campers are working in all those different functions here. Packing is also more upper body focused. You are taking the product out of totes and placing it in the box (after you make it) or into a plastic bag for shipping. I think there were some campers this year who also ended up in the shipping part of the pack department. So they were putting the boxes of product actually right onto the truck. Again, more lifting and squatting. I would estimate that Packing and Receiving require about the same amount of walking, several miles over the course of the day probably, but much much less than picking.

There you have it, the department options in a nutshell!

With Black Friday in just a couple days, I’m hoping that we will mainly be working in our own department now for the rest of the season. We have only four weeks to go now!! That’s 20 more work days!!

4 comments:

  1. I won't ever be doing any of those jobs but it was interesting to read about all the work that is done to get my order to me.

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  2. Love your new look.

    Sorry, I skipped over all those job descriptions. Your first warning was enough. Ten hours on the feet....not for me.

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  3. Excellent overview! Appreciate the details as I have never been to a facility and always wondered what workers do at Amazon. Your post gave some great insight. Congrats on all the walking and the weight loss. Looking great. I would think that would be a great benefit to those that are in pretty good shape but want to be more consistent with the daily excercise.

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  4. Congrats on your progress! We have a few other friends who are working there for their first time and it has been a real eye opener for them, sounds like a lot of hard work and time on your feet. Hang in there, only a few weeks left!

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