Amazon Warehouse Workers on the Front Line

Amazon Warehouse Workers on the Front Line

April 26, 2020

Amazon operates more than 175 distribution centers primarily in North America and Europe.  Warehouse workers are concerned about the virus impact on their health and their family’s health.

Amazon has experienced more demand given online sales have increased as many consumers are in self-isolation or working from home.  While Amazon looks to add 100,000 workers quickly and require many current employees to work overtime, the work conditions cannot honor the social distancing recommendations.  Amazon is performing more cleaning, but the fact remains that the nature of the work and the demand increase put workers at increased risk.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the CNN article, Amazon warehouse workers fear catching coronavirus just to get you your packages, by Sara Ashley O’Brien and Nathaniel Meyersohn, March 20, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight Continue reading

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Fulfillment Centers

Fulfillment Centers

April 13, 2020

As online orders are becoming a more important part of many retailers’ business, how those online orders are fulfilled is increasing in importance.

Many organizations take an omni-channel approach.  In this approach, regardless of the purchase method used (online from desktop or mobile device, social media selling, or brick and mortar), the experience is seamless.  The various methods are combined together to work with each other so that the customer experience is similar.

Another approach is multi-channel.  In this case, the retailer is selling through a variety of approaches, with each operating separately.

One approach for online orders is to use fulfillment centers.  Fulfillment centers have changed from the traditional warehouse primarily dealing with pallets shipments to and from the warehouse. Today’s fulfillment center ships out individual orders to customers.

Because of all these differences, a variety of approaches are being used.  For example, Home Depot has decided that a fulfillment center should be used for professional customers and large consumer orders of lumber.  Its Dallas fulfillment center will serve a 75-mile radius with flat-bed delivery.  It also has the ability to receive rail cars.

Hy-Vee is using a different approach.  The Continue reading

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Ramping Up Mask Manufacturing at 3M

Ramping Up Mask Manufacturing at 3M

March 17, 2020

One of 3M’s largest manufacturing facilities, located in Aberdeen, South Dakota, has ratcheted up production to try to catch up with the growing demand for its N95 respirator masks.

Since there is no vaccine for COVID-19, the masks provide an important first line of defense in keeping medical and other emergency care employees protected while they tend to the needs of infected patients.  At the same time that demand has surged in the medical community, individual consumers have snapped up any available masks for their own personal use, despite the CDC’s claims that healthy individuals need not wear them.


Video Spotlight: 3M ramping up respirator production due to coronavirus (Feb 21, 2020, KSTP)


This post is based on the CNBC article, 3M ramps up N95 respirator production as demand surges from global coronavirus outbreak, by Seema Mody, February 28, 2020; the BBC article, Coronavirus: Sharp to use TV factory to make surgical masks, March 2, 2020; and the YouTube video featured in the Video Spotlight. Image source: Travel mania/Shutterstock.

Discussion Questions:

1. How has 3M been able to rapidly increase its capacity?

Guidance: 3M was not fully utilizing its mask production facility, so it Continue reading

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