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January 31, 2013

Amazon set for an expansion

Jeffersonville facility is Amazon’s largest in North America

(Continued)

JEFFERSONVILLE —

Once the expansion is completed, to the far west side of the building will be another four-story “pick area.”

Amazon Employee Rica Lewis was pulling items that had been ordered in one of the east-end pick areas. She used a handheld scanner that directs her to the item by lane number. She then scans the box where the product is stored and then scans the item itself to make sure it is correct one. Once the product is “picked,” the handheld scanner automatically directs the employee to the next closest item that has been ordered in the storage area.

“[It’s] really an amazing technology setup that we have here,” Walsh said.

The technology maximizes efficiencies for the employees who — when all of the items have been collected — will drop the products on part of the four miles of conveyor belts inside the center to go on to the packaging area.

Through wireless networks and the computers tracking each order — even if items are pulled by different employees — once they reach the packaging area they are lumped together.

“We have our technology that allows us to marry those two items together so that we can pack it in a single order,” Walsh said.

Even the boxes and tape at Amazon are dictated by the computer to ensure employees are using the minimal amount of packaging needed for the item or items being shipped.

“[It’s] optimized so it’s the box that best fits the product, so you’re using less resources, you’re using less tape, so ultimately its more sustainable,” said Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman.

Once the items are boxed, it’s back on the conveyor belts to the shipping area.

Through its technological efficiencies, Walsh said Amazon companywide was able to handle more than 300 orders a second, a total of more than 26.5 million orders, on its peak day Nov. 26, which was Cyber Monday.

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Aikas Speed, 12, Charlestown, takes a photo of a bloody handprint on the countertop while Detective Donnie Bowyer watches over during a mock crime scene investigation at the Charlestown Public Library Wednesday.

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