Black Friday is here – take a look inside Amazon Singapore’s giant warehouse, which will handle hundreds of orders

A large spiral conveyor belt sits in the centre of Amazon’s Jurong East fulfillment centre.
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

Got your eye on some Black Friday deals?

While you’re getting ready to shop, Amazon’s delivery facilities worldwide are bracing themselves to ship out millions of products at short notice, thanks to the massive sales happening on Nov 29.

Read also: Inside Alibaba’s insane 11.11 ‘internet gala’, which raked in US$38 billion and featured Taylor Swift, LED lasers, and an enormous money counter

Business Insider visited Amazon Singapore’s fulfillment centre ahead of the shopping festival on Wednesday (Nov 27) to see how the brand plans to cope on one of its busiest days of the year.

Here’s what it was like inside the facility:


Singapore is the first country in Southeast Asia to have a local Amazon presence.

caption
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

To support operations – particularly its Prime Now 2-hour delivery service – the American brand has set up a 170,000 square foot fulfillment centre here.

caption
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

The facility sits inside an enormous warehouse building in Jurong East, which provides local sellers a place to store their stock.

caption
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

Here’s how an Amazon order is sorted in Singapore.

First, products are brought into the warehouse from an unloading bay, which is separated from the air-conditioned indoor area by a thick plastic curtain.

caption
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

Next, a staff member picks up each item and quickly inspects it for defects.

The damaged ones are put in a red bin to be thrown away, while the good ones go into yellow bins.

caption
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

Undamaged items are scanned into the system, and immediately show up as available stock on the Amazon website.

caption
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

Next, fragile items like glass bottles and alcohol go to another counter for a cocoon of bubble wrap.

caption
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

Last, the items are scanned on a device that records their size and weight.

The data goes to a warehouse management system that calculates shipping charges and decides how to store the item for maximum space.

caption
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

Next, the scanned items go into another yellow bin, and are rolled off to a storage area on trolleys.

Most of the warehouse runs on manual labour, with no robots and little automation. Amazon said it implements robotics in its facilities based on market needs.

caption
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

Next, the items are brought to a storage area with rows and rows of shelves, each containing hundreds of brown boxes with little plastic windows.

A computer system decides which box an item goes into. Every item is assigned a box depending on its size, with the aim to put as many items in a box as possible.

caption
source
Amazon

The storage system works much like a library, with names and numbers for aisles and rows.

Amazon explained that boxes don’t contain similar items (eg. 12 different power banks) so staff don’t waste time searching for the correct brand.

caption
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

The items sit in their box until someone buys them. When a batch of orders comes in, staff members will locate the items and put them back into a yellow bin.

caption
source
Amazon

Since the storage area is three storeys high, the bins are sent to the ground floor on a spiral conveyor belt.

caption
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

From there, someone will pick them up and wheel them off to the shipping area.

caption
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

First, all the stuff in the bins gets sorted into individual orders at a sorting station.

If customers order more than one item, Amazon collates the orders and sends them in a single box for convenience.

caption
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

Here’s what a batch of orders looks like after it’s been sorted. Each divider contains a single customer’s order.

caption
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

The (now sorted) items go off to be packed into Amazon boxes.

caption
source
Amazon

The computer will tell staff what size box or envelope to use for each order.

caption
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

The boxes are scanned for the last time, and a shipping label with the customer’s name and address is stuck on.

caption
source
Amazon

The boxes go off on a long conveyor belt to be delivered.

 

caption
Insert the image caption
source
Insert the image source

And your Black Friday parcel is now on its way!

caption
source
Amazon

Read also: