The sheer size of the Amazon Fulfillment Center sent the abc30 drone, higher than it's ever been. Just to show you the area of 15 football fields the camera became a dot in the sky.
The center is similar to the one in Tracy and we were given exclusive access to see the magic in action from order to delivery.
"When you order something on your phone, the Amazon itself will decide itself, okay, where is the best place to ship that order? If, or instance, you're close to this building, it's going to say, 'Hey, we have that item in our inventory, on this floor, this shelf, that the Kiva is then going to pick up," said Alex Ries, Amazon employee operations manager.
The Kiva robots are Amazon's busiest employees and have made it into one of the most innovative and fastest online businesses. Once inventory comes in, its separated out by employees and put onto cubbies on stows and carried by robots. Kivas can carry 600 to 800 pounds each.
Operations manager Alex Ries explains the small stickers on the floor allow the Kivas to know where to go.
"The robots are essentially working off an algorithm to find and go and pick up that shelves. I don't spend a lot of time individually micromanaging robots, the system usually works itself."
These small machines are moving to their own electronic beat. It's a whir you can hear and the pulse of the building. The robots and human employees work in absolute tandem. One can't work without the other. It's the secret to Amazon's success. Kiva can carry 600 to 800 pounds each and some are even named after employees -- like Christina L.
"An interesting thing about an Amazon fulfillment center is you're not going to see product laid out like you do in a grocery store. Instead, Amazon has something we call random stow and that's where we have all the different items we have on Amazon.com, they're stowed in random cubbies in those yellow pods," said Lauren Lynch, Amazon spokesperson.
That system cuts the time between order and delivery because every Amazon worker is close to the moving stows that carry almost every popular product. So if you ordered cotton balls, that item is within reach of every worker. No more hunting it down across a massive warehouse. Once the item is picked, it's put into bins and sent down conveyor belts. Computers tell workers which boxes and how much tape to use.
"So all of these great key moments are made in advance so that people who pack boxes don't have to make a million decisions. They can knock it out quickly and put it on the conveyor and load it onto the truck and put it out to the customers," said Lynch.
Then, it's down the chute! And on the way to your home or office. And remember how the system identifies how close someone lives to a fulfillment center? Valley customers can expect even faster deliveries because of the Fresno facility.
The Amazon fulfillment center in Fresno will be very similar. In Tracy, this building is about five years old and officials say it's already outdated. But here in Fresno, we will have the latest technology including 16 miles of conveyor belts to send products across California and the Valley.
Eventually, more than 1,500 people will work at the center when it becomes fully operational in a year or two. Ushering Fresno into the future of e-commerce that's already revolutionized retail.