Valley Amazon centers well-prepared to handle last-minute holiday rush

Earns Amazon
Posted at 3:13 PM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 14:20:27-05

TEMPE, AZ — We are now less than a week from Christmas, which means it’s crunch time for last-minute shoppers.

That’s even more true if you need to order online and get those gifts under the tree by Christmas Eve.

Luckily, the Valley is a great place to be for procrastinators. Amazon has eight fulfillment centers here and 17 delivery centers.

Amazon’s Zoe Richmond says this means Valley residents can procrastinate a little bit longer.

“It makes Phoenix a great place to be a procrastinator and do that last-minute shopping. You still have time to order 15 million items from Amazon and still be sure they’re delivered before Christmas,” she said.

Inside the Amazon delivery center in Tempe, you feel like you’re in a modern-day Santa’s workshop.

Dozens of employees come in at 1:30 a.m. to sort a semi-truck full of packages; those packages coming from one of the Valley’s eight fulfillment centers.

“You have the fulfillment centers where the items are actually going into boxes and then they are trucked to these smaller delivery stations,” explains Richmond.

They sort the items based on areas that determine which truck they end up in. Then another employee scans and sorts the areas even more specifically and places them into a designated bin.

“After these are done being sorted, our algorithms take over and they decide what’s the most efficient route," Richmond said.

A proprietary Amazon algorithm determines each driver’s route based on where the items are going, preventing unnecessary zigzagging across the Valley.

It’s a system of mastered efficiencies that work well for Amazon year-round and becomes even more critical during their peak time from Cyber Monday to Christmas Eve.

Richmond says it’s a package rush they’re well prepared for.

“We’ve been preparing for months for the holiday, so we are definitely ready for the challenge," she said.

That preparation includes hiring 150,000 seasonal employees and partnering with outside delivery companies.

That additional force, along with Amazon’s existing fleet of vans, is the final piece to the puzzle that guarantees holiday happiness for Valley procrastinators.

“I can’t think of a world without Amazon! What would procrastinators do to get their presents in time?” Richmond said.