Amazon India’s 22nd and largest fulfilment centre in Sonipat, Haryana, sprawls over 200,000 sq. ft.

Situated in the Agsons Global Logistics Park, near Kishora village, around 55km from New Delhi, the fulfilment centre (FC), or warehouse, has a capacity of more than 800,000 cu. ft.

Amazon, which launched its e-commerce marketplace in 2013, is already the second largest in India after Flipkart. It has brought in processes and technologies similar to the ones it uses at its facilities everywhere else in the world. The FCs stock goods from 80% of its 100,000 sellers, who use company services—known as Fulfilment By Amazon—such as warehousing and shipping. More than 1.3 million products are available for immediate shipping through Amazon’s 22 FCs.

An FC is essentially a large warehouse, where sellers stock products to help an e-commerce platform pack, dispatch and deliver them at faster and cheaper rates.

Giant racks as high as the ceiling are stacked neatly through the Sonipat warehouse; machines that can pick huge cartons dot the area. Carts move products from one end to the other. What you cannot miss is the web of long conveyor belts, stretching from one end of the warehouse to the other.

Unlike in the US, where the processes are far more technologically driven—think robots, conveyor belts, even drones— Amazon’s India warehouses are dominated by men, largely owing to the affordability of labour.

The Sonipat warehouse is divided into “Inbound", where sellers bring in their products at a designated time and day, and “Outbound", where the goods are packed and sent out for shipping.

Once the sellers arrive with their goods, the huge boxes are opened and each item is separately scanned and taken to designated shelves. Each shelf is further divided into small cubicles and has a separate bar code to make spotting easier when an order is received. Hand-held scanners direct the workers to the product and the specific shelf.

Algorithms and math decide which product sits where. So one shelf may house men’s trimmers, and baby apparel may be placed in a cubicle beside it. This helps optimize space and time.

Amazon claims that within “minutes" of receiving an order, the product is picked from the racks and sent for packing. There are different packaging stations, depending on the size and nature of the product. A computer screen on the worker’s station tells him the size of the packaging material required. Bills are placed in the boxes and slips with the buyer’s name and address pasted on top.

The products then move through conveyor belts to their final destination in the warehouse, where they are sorted and put in tote bags according to their pincode. The bags are sealed, transported on trucks and shipped to customers by road or air. Apart from its own transport service, Amazon uses the delivery services of FedEx and Blue Dart.

Spread across 200,000 sq. ft, this is Amazon India’s 22nd fulfilment centre

Amazon Transport Services (ATS) is Amazon’s in-house logistics firm, tasked with ensuring better and faster delivery.

More than 1.3 million products are available at any time for immediate shipping.

Workers sorting the products with hand-held scanners, according to the delivery address, before packing them in different tote bags.

Carts are used to move goods from one end of the warehouse to another.

After going through several quality checks, the products are sealed, packed and taken to the Outbound area, where they are sorted and put in bags to be shipped out.

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