Hey guys! I just got through my first 2 weeks interning at Amazon. It was definitely a very interesting experience! I learned a lot about the culture, the expectations, and the people that are working in my fulfillment center. It was a great start to my 10 weeks here.
Amazon has a really great introductory week for its incoming interns and managers: Associate Experience Week (AEW). For the first week, we go around and train in the associates’ jobs at the fulfillment center. This is SUCH a great idea; I loved being able to develop an understanding of the roles that I will be leading. It was super informative and a great opportunity, but it was also exhausting! I’ve never done anything remotely close to factory work. The only “physical” work experience I have is waitressing. The associates work 4 days of 10 hour shifts (which I started after AEW), but I was working Monday through Friday and only worked an 8 hour shift that week. Being on my feet, moving, and lifting heavy things at high intensity for that long was pretty killer to say the least. I think this is a great process to have new leaders go through, because I earned even more respect for the associates. Those jobs are TOUGH and the rates at which they do them are so impressive! I enjoyed getting to know everything, and I relished a bit in getting paid for a daily workout, but I was definitely happy to see Friday come to a close. Over the week, I learned how to do jobs receiving packages from the dock, scanning them into the fulfillment center, stowing them in the aisles, picking them for orders, and packing them into boxes to be shipped. All these different roles are equally challenging, but the associates that trained me were all so encouraging and fun, making it lots easier.
There were a few more administrative things to get done in that first week, too. I learned how to drive PIT (Power Industrialized Trucks), and getting my approved PIT license was pretty fun. My trainer was really awesome and then embellished it with the OSU logo. Go Bucks, even from New England! I received my work laptop, which is nice but unusable outside of the Amazon network since I’m hourly. I was also able to meet the managerial staff, including my area manager (AM) and the other AMs, as well as the operations manager, senior operations managers, and general manager of the facility. Everyone was very friendly and accepted me with welcoming arms, which is a great feeling. Amazon is a very young company, which helps keep me comfortable. My AM, who I’ll be working with closely all summer, was an intern 2 years ago. In addition to everything else I learned that first week, I started to understand how the work day flows. There’s morning standup – led by the AM with general best practice tips, daily expectations, safety tips, and input from associates – first thing, a 15 minute break, lunch, afternoon standup after lunch, then another 15 minute break in the afternoon. Before each break and lunch, the AMs sync up with their process assistants and other AMs in their section of the fulfillment center (inbound or outbound). Days at Amazon are long and fast-paced, so it’s been difficult to adjust, but I really enjoy the challenge!
The second week was much more relaxed than AEW, but still long and demanding. Not to mention my first day in operations came with a power outage and the second day saw the last day of our inbounds operations manager. Yeesh. I began my actual schedule, which is Wednesday through Saturday, 7am-5:30pm. Amazon has pretty funky schedules: front half works Sunday through Wednesday; back half works Wednesday through Saturday; donut works Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; and wrap works Friday through Monday. There are days and nights for each of these schedules, as the fulfillment centers function 24 hours a day. I’m on back half days to follow what my manager was assigned. In these four days, I was able to spend two of them shadowing an AM and the other two working on my project. As an intern, I am assigned a specific area to work on for my 10 weeks. I’ll be learning the area to develop an understanding of it then finding a way to improve its efficiency/flow/productivity. Once I develop my project, I pitch it to the upper manager staff at my fulfillment center and they decide if they want to implement it. Working on that has been quite the experience. I worked closely with associates, questioning them about processes that could be improved, eliminated, etc. They were super helpful, and I could feel them start to open up a bit more to me. Win-win! My project is still in the very beginning phases, as expected, but I like how well it’s going thus far.
Going forward, I’ll keep working on my project, getting to know my associates, getting a better understanding of the daily AM schedule, and trying to take it all in. As one of the senior operations managers describes it, it’s like “drinking out of a fire hose.” Regardless, I’m really enjoying getting to learn all of this and accommodate to the pace it takes to run a huge facility. I’m still enjoying the New England area and have used my three day weekends to take in some of the sights, so I might be able to put out a post about that fairly soon!
Go Bucks, and #BePeculiar 🙂