Amazon Fulfilment Centre Tour

It’s school holidays at the moment so we did something a little bit different on Monday.

A tour of an Amazon warehouse!

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I’d seen them promoted on their website and via Facebook a few times but at that point the nearest centre was about an hour away in Rugeley. The Coventry centre opened in July last year and is only about twenty minutes away so I booked a tour for myself and the girls.

I was a little worried that this might only be something that would interest nerds such as myself but we were one of three other families so there at least a couple of other people who were on my wavelength! On arrival we were given visitors passes and given a quick overview of what we’d be seeing, a short corporate video with some footage of what staff got up to on the day the building opened, safety notices, a high-vis jacket and some headsets, similar to the kind you’d get on a tour bus so we could all hear what the guide was saying.

The site is called BHX4. Apparently Amazon name their locations depending on their closest major airport so this was basically Birmingham #4.

There was also a general airport like theme in the building which we were told was to do with Frank Whittle being from Coventry.

From there we went out into the warehouse proper. The headsets were a good idea. There was just enough noise to have made it difficult to hear what she was saying. I’m not sure how that would have worked if Bryony had come with us. When I registered on the website there was no mention of accessibility but the booking email did ask me to get in touch if I had any accessibility requirements.

The warehouse was surprisingly quiet. But I think this was combination of the time we arrived. The canteen was quite busy and the time of year. The tour guide did talk about how it’s a totally different place in the run up Christmas.

The place was huge as you’d expect! We were shown various different machines, processes and met people who did specific jobs and given details about the kind of things this specific facility deals with. Including what happens when things go wrong. One poor guy had the added pressure of trying to fix a problem with the eyes of everyone on our tour watching. He was professional throughout though.

I don’t have much in the way of photos. There were strict instructions not to take pictures on the tour with the exception of one area at the end.

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They also had a selfie station which Evie was keen on.

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IMG_20190415_135246We then made our way back to where we started and we all given flashy Amazon water bottles. Evie also snagged a cube of some sort with pictures of the centre inside it. I haven’t seen that since we got home though!

We were in there for about an hour in total. If I had to describe it in one word it would be “informative”. It was interesting for me as a “tech enthusiast” and someone who is involved in the running of a business. Seeing how their processes work, how they try to improve them and how their staff fit into all of that was certainly interesting. I imagine they get a lot of school tours there as it’s perfect for that kind of thing. The staff were really great though. All enthusiastic and keen to answer any questions.   

There are eight different locations around the country if you fancy a look yourself

https://www.aboutamazon.co.uk/amazon-fulfilment/tour-an-amazon-fulfilment-centre

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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