We know the BCN1 and MAD4 Amazon warehouses
- The San Fernando de Henares logistics centre was the first to be opened by the company in Spain, while the one in El Prat de Llobregat is one of the largest in the country.
- All products go through four stages of preparation before being shipped to their recipient.
Yesterday afternoon we attended a virtual tour guided by professionals working in Amazon’s logistics centres in Barcelona (El Prat de Llobregat) and Madrid (San Fernando de Henares). A session in which we could observe the inner workings of the company’s logistics model.
In this post we’ll focus on the BCN1 logistics centre, as it is the largest in Spain. It has a surface area of 200,000 square metres, is four storeys high and requires at least 4,000 workers to operate. This is a figure that falls far short of the number of robots at work, with 6,000 machines active 24/7.
Jeff Bezos has relied on robotics to make 24-hour package delivery feasible and to develop a logistics system capable of preparing up to one million orders in a day.
What role “drives” play in the logistics centre
Amazon Robotics”drives” weighing 150kg have the capacity to carry up to 1,500kg of load, similar to an adult hippopotamus. They are a type of “roombas” with programmed QR codes, which rotate 360º, are autonomous and have 24 hours of battery life.
Also, they are so intelligent that when they run out of electricity, they communicate by sensor with the nearest robot so that it can pick up the stock of products and move to the recharge point. Also, they need basic maintenance every 26 weeks, and every 52 weeks they undergo a thorough maintenance check to be reconditioned. The aim is to avoid failures in the supply chain.
Stationary product preparation and packaging system
During the preparation process, the products go through different phases catalogued as inbound and outbound, with four stations: Receive, Stow, Pick and Pack.
- Receive: Workers check that the goods have arrived in perfect condition. In fact, if the items come with a defect, they go to the “damage” container and through the quality department. If the products are okay, they are scanned and placed on a totem with a corresponding barcode, black storage boxes. The code is scanned at the following stations.
All products pass through a 22.5 kilometre long conveyor belt, which runs the entire width and length of the facility. In total, Amazon’s logistics centre in Barcelona has 56 loading and unloading bays, with a storage capacity of more than 25 million products.
- Stow: Three-storey storage area, with two fields separated by a main corridor. In each field there are three zones: the highway zone is where the machines move quickly, the aisle zone is where they load and unload the racks, and the parking zone is where the robots go to pick them up.
- Pick: This phase corresponds to the “outbound” stage, the moment when a customer buys a product and the picker selects it from the shelves based on the registered data. In this case, a reference, name and location are added and passed back to the totem. All products must be placed in these boxes regardless of their category.
- Pack: Last station: once the orders have been received from the customers, they are packed. The company’s intelligent machines have the ability to select the most appropriate package for each product via its barcode. And finally, the parcels leave the conveyor belt in two directions according to their size, taking the utmost care of the condition of the item until it reaches its destination.
The logistics centre facilities are fully equipped with the best technology to save time and take care of every stage of the product preparation process. For Amazon, the most important thing is the customer’s shopping experience.