College of Business and Information Technology’s Graduate Student Business
Association travelled to the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Columbus, Ohio,
on November 10, 2017. Thirty members and Ramesh Soni, Management Department
faculty member, saw first-hand Amazon’s efficient use of up-to-date technology in a
complex and continuously changing environment. It was also an opportunity to network with high-position management
at the Amazon facility, GBSA members were greeted by operational managers. They
were provided with safety protocols and then equipped with headphones and
guided into the main hall.
The first impression of the huge warehouse was
especially interesting because it offered a peek into Amazon’s organizational
culture. Approximately 50 speakers played loud music in the main hall. The
hallways were decorated with appreciating words from customer reviews and
pictures of employees rewarded for outstanding work. Amazon’s main values and
beliefs were in large print above the walls of the dining hall.
impressive Amazon facility processes, with inbound and outbound, about 7
million units per week. This is not just the largest facility company-wide, but
also distinguishes itself from other warehouses through its outstanding level
of automation technology. In comparison, a similar factory of the same size and
number of employees without the high technology level of automation will handle
about 4.5 million units per week.
of the tour was witnessing Amazon’s robotic technology, which makes the
facility unique. Dozens of flat robots drive around a locked area of the
facility, enabling the transportation of whole shelves from point A to B. This
simplifies the tasks for employees and makes the processes of the supply chain
more efficient. The tour guides provided explanations of the underlying
technologies and concepts.
Five senior operation managers took time to answer
questions. Items discussed included career opportunities, contents of job
interviews, and public controversies regarding Amazon. The Q&A session was
interrupted by a pleasant surprise. Mike Roth, vice president of Global
Customer Fulfillment, joined the group via video conference from Seattle, Washington.
This opportunity enabled GBSA members not just to ask numerous questions about
Amazon’s strategical point of view in terms of technologies, but also about
specific topics like details about the factory’s complex supply chain and
characteristic attributes of Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos.
GBSA members were amazed by the Amazon experience. The GBSA
officers, on behalf of the group, thanked Amazon officials for this opportunity
and their generosity.
For more information about GBSA, feel free to contact one of
President, Farhan Ahmed, RRCX@iup.edu
Vice President, Lillian Berish, DZQX@iup.edu
Secretary, Florian Tenbergen, QYWW@iup.edu
Treasurer, Emeka Okolo, MWFR@iup.edu
PR Coordinator, Daniel Werner, SCBX@iup.edu