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Amazon's Huge, Efficient Tracy Shipment Center Speeds Up Cyber Monday Deliveries

TRACY (KPIX 5) — It's estimated that 68 million shoppers this year will have ordered items online on Cyber Monday. And a peek inside Amazon's state-of-the-art shipping center in Tracy gives a glimpse of how so many products can be delivered so quickly.

"Cyber Monday is one our biggest days of the year. It's really our Super Bowl here at Amazon," said Amazon public relations manager Molly Wade.

Going by the name "Oak 4," the fulfillment center in Tracy is immense, more than one million square feet in size.

"That's the size of 28 football fields," Wade said. "There's 20 miles of conveyor belt rolling around in here and we've got more than 4,000 full-time associates working this holiday season."

The process begins in the "stowing" area, a huge space near the unloading dock where tens of millions of products are shipped in and stored.

The moment a customer places an order, the fulfillment center springs to life. Products are placed in robotic carriers and sent to the "picking station." As the robots dance in and out, a human "picker" pulls out the ordered items, placing them in bins that are whisked away on conveyor belts to an area where they are boxed up for shipping.

"Once it's all taped up and ready to go, it goes through our 'slam' machine, which is where it gets its label, and then it's off to shipping," Wade explained.

Using bar codes and high speed scanners, the packages are pushed and shoved along the correct path until they reach the right conveyor belt that feeds them into the back of a truck to begin the journey to home delivery.


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