We all know the Kindle will be a hit this Christmas – but nappies are unexpectedly big business for Amazon all year round, and there are crates of them stacked high at the online giant’s Hemel Hempstead warehouse.
They’ve been ordered by money-savvy mums who are reaping the rewards of buying in bulk according to UK operations director Catherine McDermott.
It’s one of the more unusual items that Catherine, who has been with the firm for two years, admits she did not expect to come across in such vast numbers at the online retailer’s fulfilment centres, where products come in, are sorted, packed and sent out to customers.
“We have pallets and pallets of nappies,” said Catherine. They’re a hit because parents can save pounds through subscription and membership deals.
The Gazette was given a sneak peak around the Boundary Way distribution base, which is gearing up for Christmas.
You might imagine a more manic environment when entering the world where thousands of presents-to-be are being sent out in the build up to the big day – by the start of December the Christmas operation will be in full swing.
But somewhat disappointingly for visiting media crews, it’s less elves dashing around and more trained ‘Amazonians’ – a more trendy term for workers – following a tried and tested way of working to receive products into the warehouse, sort them, pick them for orders and then pack them.
Working efficiently is the name of the game, according to Catherine – the aim is ‘to execute as smartly and as well as we can.’ There’s also a focus on quality with staff constantly doing ‘six-sided checks’ to ensure products are not damaged.
“The absolute worst thing we could do is get it wrong for customers,” said Catherine.
An extra 1,000 temporary workers – each guaranteed 20 hours a week under – have been recruited for the Christmas rush when the warehouse - just under 500,000 sq ft - will be full to capacity with goodies from the start of next month.