WATCH OUT: Here’s how an Ohio Amazon warehouse operates

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WATCH OUT: Here’s how an Ohio Amazon warehouse operates

Ever wonder how your packages from Amazon are delivered so quickly to your door?

Amazon’s intricate network of fulfillment and distribution facilities across the world make it possible for products to be sorted, packed and shipped within minutes. In Ohio, Amazon has launched operations at two different fulfillment centers in Etna and Obetz, and also has Prime Now sites in Columbus and Valley View.

This news organization took a tour of Amazon’s fulfillment facility in Etna, Ohio — about 20 minutes east of Columbus — to find out how Amazon’s operations really work.

The facility has more than 3,000 full-time employees who pick, pack and shop customer orders. The massive facility is more than 1 million square feet — about the size of 28 football fields, and holds tens of millions of products with more than 14 miles of conveyor belts weaving throughout the building.

The building utilizes Amazon robotic technology, vision systems and almost 20 years worth of software and mechanical innovations to fulfill customer orders. Amazon has more than 80 fulfillment centers, and continues to grow nationwide and across the world.

Job seekers stood in line to apply for open positions at the Amazon distribution center in Etna, Ohio. Etna is about 20 minutes west of Columbus, Ohio. KARA DRISCOLL/STAFF Staff Writer

The Etna fulfillment facility is broken up into two work sections — the inbound and outbound crews. The inbound employees receive products from inventory suppliers and check each item to make sure they’re not damaged.

The outbound process includes employees grabbing packages off the conveyed, and then they make sure they’re packed in the correct-sized boxes. Amazon’s conveyor belts and robotic technology scan the packages and stamp the addresses on the boxes before they’re sorted for distribution.

Adam Sedo, spokesman for Amazon, said the Etna facility fulfills the needs of customers across the nation.

“We create. We build. We take ownership for what we do – whether we’re developing a new technology in-house or launching a new Fulfillment Center. Together, we’re constantly creating the ideas, services and products that make life easier for Amazon’s millions of customers. Regardless of role, each Amazonian is completely focused on working hard, having fun and making history,” according to a company statement.

Locally, the online retail giant is expanding rapidly and announced earlier this year that it would invest $1.49 billion and bring 2,700 new jobs to a worldwide cargo hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, which is located in Hebron, Ky., won the bid from Amazon over the Wilmington Air Park in Ohio — bringing those jobs to over to Kentucky instead of Ohio. About 600 of those 2,700 new jobs will be full-time positions.

Amazon will build a 3 million-square-foot sorting facility and a 350,000-square-foot loading dock on nearly 920 acres of land at the airport. Amazon has more than 5,000 full-time employees in Ohio, and continues to look for new employees in the state.

“These are great opportunities with runway for advancement. In fact, of our entry level managers across Amazon’s U.S. fulfillment centers, nearly 15 percent started in hourly roles and were promoted into their current positions,” said John Olsen, vice president of Amazon’s Worldwide Operations Human Resources.

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