Everyone know Amazon.com is huge, but just how big do you have to be to sell $17.43 billion worth of stuff in a single quarter (Q4 2011 to be exact)? How big does a warehouse have to be to house all those books, televisions, pens, DVDs, hammers, and vacuum cleaners? How many warehouses do you need to be able to ship products to anyone in the US in just two days, without losing money on every deal?
Apparently Amazon has 80 fulfillment center with at least two more on the way. It’s said that the one featured in this article is the size of 28 football fields (that’s 1,612,800 square feet, with the end zones) which makes sense — one of Amazon’s Phoenix-area centers was 1.2M square feet and the company recently added 400,000 feet more space to it.
Here is a satellite image of the building, which is at 6835 W. Buckeye Road:
If you observe the houses next to the Amazon building, you’ll get a good idea of just what 1.6 million square feet looks like — that’s about the footage of about 800 good-sized homes. So, yes, these shipping centers are extremely large.
While the image at the top showed boxes that looked to be on their way out the door, that’s only one part of fulfillment — there is also inventory. Above we see the rows upon rows of books Amazon houses (and this is after the company’s massive push towards ebooks). It’s not entirely clearly how Amazon organizes their stacks — P-1, B64, 500-670 certainly isn’t the Dewey decimal system we all learned in elementary school. This is likely the markings of some sort of super efficient, algorithmically-enhanced placement system that minimizes lefthand turns and puts more popular books in optimized locations near transportation arteries.