Five and a half weeks gone at Amazon, five and a half more to go – time for a mid-season status report. Wondering what this CamperForce thing is all about? You can find the comprehensive About Amazon’s CamperForce post here.
Overtime has been scarce at the Haslet site so far, a stark contrast to last year where voluntary 50 hour weeks started the third week in October. As mentioned in a previous post, all campers were put into the ICQA (inventory control, quality assurance) department this year, and ICQA has had no overtime opportunities so far, and no word on if or when overtime will come.
It’s theoretically peak season for Inbound right now (Receive, Stow), but the volume of product coming into the warehouse is not what it was last year. I’m not sure about Receive, it being in a different part of the building than I work, but Stow is on 44 hour weeks (11 hour days). Some campers have been cross-trained into Pick or Stow (I’ve been training in stow the past two days), but as we’re still in the ICQA department, most managers aren’t giving their stow cross-trained campers the overtime hours. Pick has no overtime as of yet, but Outbound peak doesn’t kick off until the day after Thanksgiving.
There’s been a lot of speculation among campers about why the hours are so much lower this year from last year. Of course none of us temps really know what’s going on, but here’s my theory:
- Last year the north half of the building was not in use and empty when we started arriving in August. Us campers in Receive had to bring in a lot of product to fill that half of the warehouse in time for Outbound peak, and this is the largest Amazon warehouse by square foot in the US, so there was a LOT of product needed to fill it up. In turn, campers in ICQA had to work extra hours to make sure all that new product being put on shelves was in good shape and being stowed accurately. Once it was filled up, Amazon only needed to bring in enough product to replace what was sold, so it’s a steady flow coming in this year instead of a massive flood.
- Three new warehouses opened up in the DFW area since last peak, and they’re likely taking some of the pressure from this one. I heard last year by Thanksgiving the building was over 110% capacity for product. When the pods get that full, productivity drops because stowers have to take more time to find space for each item, and pickers have to spend more time hunting around in the bin trying to find the item they need. It probably saves Amazon money to not fill the building past capacity.
Otherwise, this year has not differed significantly from last year in my opinion, although a few of my fellow work-campers say otherwise. My first year doing CamperForce I noticed how big of an impact the leadership you’re working under has on how you perceive your experience and that hasn’t changed. Few of the same people are around from year to year, I’ve never been under the same manager twice. My area manager this season is inexperienced (most of them are) but rather easy-going, which makes for an easy season.
If the overtime situation changes or any new developments arrive, I’ll let you all know.
There isn’t much to report on the home front. A couple weeks ago, new washers and dryers arrived at Boyd RV park, that’s about the most noteworthy thing that’s happened. The hot and humid weather finally broke last week after a few overcast and rainy days and it’s been more comfortable since then. If this continues, I may go somewhere next weekend and spend some time outside.
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