INFORMS Annual Conference  

INFORMS Annual Meeting 2012, Phoenix, AZ, October 14-17

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by Guillaume Roels on October 16th, 2012

Today, I went on a tour of the Amazon fulfillment center Phoenix 6. Seeing the operations of one of the darlings of Wall Street was very impressive. As many would expect, speed is the motto of company: Every trip of packer is counted in seconds. Scale is also mind-boggling. The facility is huge and contains millions of SKUs. (Due to an NDA, I would refrain myself from giving you precise numbers, but believe me, they are very impressive). Another surprise, at least to people not familiar with their operations, is the labor-intensity of the picking and packing process. But above all, was the kaizen spirit and the dedication to perfect execution. In many respects, we, researchers who spend so much attention to details and preach for greater use of analytics, have found a master. Thank you again for making this visit possible, which nicely complemented the conference!

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