HomeNewsA look at Amazon's final mile

A look at Amazon’s final mile

Operations manager Tom Marsella

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The local Amazon station has two deaf employees, and coworkers are encouraged to learn to communicate with them.

If you drive by the Amazon delivery station at 2900 Grant Ave. any time day or night, there is activity around the clock.

The Times paid a visit to the center one day last week, and operations manager Tom Marsella said it happened to be the busiest day since the 100,000-square-foot facility opened last October. Some 30,500 packages were processed on June 15.

More than 120 people work full time at the site, and hiring continues. Each employee makes at least $15 an hour. The average Amazon employee nationally earns $18 an hour.

Management stresses safety, with employees wearing gloves and specialized shoes, and mobile carts used instead of forklifts. Sophisticated technology is also used throughout the process – from inside the center to on the road – to promote efficiency and eliminate errors.

Marsella pointed to some employee perks: 20 weeks of paid leave for new parents, a 401 (k) with a company match and job training and education opportunities.

“You get benefits on day one, which is nice,” said Marsella, who grilled food for employees on June 15 as part of a calendar of monthly feedings that also includes popcorn, doughnuts, pizza and water ice.

The local station, known as DDP1, is not open to the public. It receives bags and boxes from trucks that pick up the goods at sort centers, such as ones at an airport in the Lehigh Valley and a Burlington, New Jersey industrial park. Amazon’s fulfillment centers are the ones that hold the inventory that is brought to sort centers.

There are 10 docks for trucks to drop off bags and boxes that are then placed on a conveyor belt and “picked” before going into large reusable bags. There are six doors for Amazon drivers to load those large bags into their vans in a covered outdoor loading area for delivery to sites in the Northeast, Bridesburg and eastern Montgomery County.

The work being done at delivery stations is known as the “final mile,” with the end result being a package on a customer’s doorstep.

Blue-vested drivers are generally on the road from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the busiest times being the back-to-school season, Christmas and Prime Day sales.

The local center could see daily “waves” of up to 80 vans hitting the road. Once drivers reach a destination, they are required to turn their engines off, take the keys out of the ignition and put on the emergency brake before grabbing a package and “delivering it with an Amazon smile,” Marsella said.

Anyone 18 or older is welcome to apply for employment at amazon.com/jobs. ••

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