Amazon says its new 630,000-square-foot warehouse in Baldonnel could integrate a new Amazon.ie shopping service if the company launched one, and says the tech giant has a positive employment record in Ireland.
peak on the Irish IndependentAmazon’s fulfillment center general manager Darragh Kelly said an Amazon.ie service is one of the company’s most frequently asked questions in Ireland.
“We have nothing to announce about that at the moment,” he said.
But others said the fulfillment center was set up in such a way that if it switched to Amazon.ie, the company would have nothing to do with integrating it.
Currently, most Irish shoppers must use Amazon.co.uk with sterling as their shopping currency if they want to use the company’s Prime membership features related to free delivery.
Mr Kelly also said it took just months to hire 500 staff for the fulfillment centre, which stocks “millions” of products ready for delivery and is the size of seven full-size football fields.
“Our starting hourly wage of 13.50 euros is above the living wage and the turnover is extremely low,” he said. “We have many benefits such as health insurance, pension schemes, subsidized groceries and good communication with managers. We didn’t have any problems casting all of our roles. ”
Mr Kelly said allegations of mistreatment of employees at Amazon’s US warehouses and delivery trucks a few years ago were unfounded.
He said employees had the right to join a union if they wanted to, but he couldn’t say if any employees were currently union members. He said 150 people, including staff at the customer service center in Cork, have so far taken up Amazon’s course offering and paid up to €12,000 for courses, whether related to their Amazon careers or not.
The logistics center staff consists of order pickers, packers and customer service staff, as well as operations managers, engineers and HR and IT staff.
Employees and order pickers generally work four 10-hour shifts per week in the new logistics center, which is open around the clock.
The warehouse does not use picking robots like some US and UK facilities do, as the items involved are large such as PC monitors.
The new fulfillment center is the largest warehouse Amazon has built in Ireland to date, having opened a delivery center in nearby Rathcoole two years ago. Its actual usable area is many times that of the 630,000 square meter property since it has five floors.
Mr Kelly said that although the fulfillment center already stocks “millions” of products, it is still only 50 per cent full as it “builds up” its inventory.
“Having this facility here has reduced delivery times in Ireland by up to 50 units,” he said. “It makes it much easier to guarantee fast delivery as items are not subject to possible delays on ferries.”
However, Mr Kelly declined to say whether same-day delivery, a feature in the US and UK, is imminent in Ireland because the fulfillment center will open here.
He said the fulfillment center is not yet delivering the majority of items ordered by Irish Amazon customers, which is measured “in the hundreds of thousands”. The fulfillment center is not limited to deliveries to Ireland, but also integrates with Amazon’s delivery logistics for the rest of Europe.
“You may have found something here that is the quickest point to get to a customer in Spain,” he said. “It’s just about getting things to the customer as quickly as possible.”
Mr Kelly declined to say how many Amazon Prime shopping members there are in Ireland but said the global figure is 200 million.
He also said Amazon isn’t out to squash local retailers.
“I think a lot of other retailers have expanded their online options now,” he said. “I think the pandemic probably overloaded it. Many companies that may have only touched the surface are now fully immersed. There is a balance. In Ireland we have around 1,200 small sellers operating through Amazon.”
Amazon has been in Ireland since 2004 when it began planning a customer service center for Cork in 2006. In 2007, its sister company Amazon Web Services opened an office in Ireland and today employs over 2,000 people.
The company claims that its operations in Ireland have generated 8,700 direct and indirect jobs and €7.5 billion of GDP activity here.
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar visited the new logistics center today, where he was given a tour of the facility and met local staff.
https://www.independent.ie/business/technology/amazonie-may-be-some-time-off-but-giant-new-irish-warehouse-is-ready-for-it-say-executives-42073701.html Amazon.ie may be on hiatus, but a massive new Irish warehouse is ready for it, executives say