Amazons Prime Now warehouses randomly stock shelves on purpose

first_imgWe’ve all seen images of Amazon’s massive warehouses, which are highly organized, full of people running around collecting products for orders, and increasingly dominated by robot helpers. These are the main hubs that handle millions of products and over a billion orders every year shipping out on a fleet of trucks. For the more local and much smaller Amazon Prime Now warehouses, things work a bit differently.Prime Now is Amazon’s latest delivery option, which promises to get items to you within an hour. 27 US cities (and counting) have access to Prime Now, with “only” tens of thousands of products available for super-fast delivery (even ice cream before it melts) if you don’t mind paying the $7.99 shipping.You’d expect the Prime Now warehouses to be even more organized than the main Amazon hubs because time is always going to be a problem. So it may surprise you to know that Prime Now products are stored completely randomly on the shelves.Why randomly? Because it’s much more efficient that way believe it or not.It makes sense when you see it explained. Every item is scanned and its location logged on computer. Amazon then uses software to scan orders, look up where all the items are stored on the shelves, and plot the most efficient and fastest route for a worker to take to collect them all.Ultimately, the random placement doesn’t matter as long as the scanning happens. It also speeds up the restocking of the shelves as workers don’t need to worry where products are placed.I guess the one thing they have to keep in mind is placing hard objects next to soft ones and the potential for damage. But the workers can make those decisions as they add stock and randomly put such conflicting products elsewhere before scanning them.Efficiency through randomization, I wonder who first came up with that idea inside Amazon, or did they just copy an existing well-known practice?last_img read more