By Andy and Angela Parrett
On the morning of Monday 6th August, a group of us visited the Amazon Fulfillment Centre at Rugeley in Staffordshire. The site is essentially a massive shed covering 750,000 sq. ft. (10 football pitches!) and there are about 1800 employees. We were issued with Hi-Viz jackets and headphones so as to hear the commentary given by our guide over the noise of conveyor belts.
In essence the concept is simple: goods come in from suppliers, they are stored, and then they are picked, packed and sent out when orders are received. However, in detail it’s very sophisticated and totally driven by IT. Items are stored at random purely according to where spaces exist on the shelves – everything is located by barcodes so items are always traceable.
After an excellent pre-booked lunch at a nearby pub we continued to Lichfield for an afternoon tour of the Cathedral, including seeing the renowned ‘Lichfield Angel’. This was, of course, a completely different experience but just as interesting. This cathedral has adapted its traditional role to become more of a community asset. Gone were all the pews in the nave, having been replaced by artificial grass for the summer. People are encouraged to come in and picnic and there are various cultural events including concerts.
We were told how things had changed over the centuries, notably during the Civil War when the cathedral changed hands several times between Royalists and Cromwell’s army. It was only a shame that the organist decided to do some practice during our tour (since here we didn’t have headphones!).
Many thanks to the organisers for a super event.
Come and see how Amazon operates and what is involved in distributing orders nationwide from its Rugeley centre. During the tour, visitors will have the chance to take a close look at the daily tasks of employees at work, as well as observing many of the key processes and technologies of the fulfilment centre, from picking – retrieving ordered items from the shelves – to packing, where items are carefully parcelled up in Amazon’s famous brown boxes before being sent on their way to customers.
The tour is followed by lunch at “The Colliers” pub restaurant, which is almost adjacent to Amazon.
After lunch, the day will continue onto Lichfield Cathedral for a guided tour. This cathedral is one of the oldest places of Christian worship, and the burial place of the great Anglo-Saxon missionary Bishop, St Chad. It is also the only medieval English cathedral with three spires. This magnificent building has a rich history, reflected in its architecture and treasures.
Please note: Following registration, further information regarding travel and parking in Lichfield will be sent to you, together with the lunch menu at “The Colliers”.
Please be aware that parking in Lichfield costs £1.00 per hour.
The cost of the event includes both guided tours and lunch at “The Colliers”. This does not include any drinks ordered at the pub.
10:45am Meet at Amazon reception – ample car parking is available
11:00am Tour of Amazon Fulfilment Centre
12:45pm Lunch at “The Colliers” pub/restaurant almost adjacent to Amazon – ample car parking is available
2:15pm Travel to Lichfield – about 15 minutes by car from Rugeley
2:45pm Meet at Lichfield Cathedral for a guided tour ‘Discover the Cathedral’
4:30pm Tour ends – attendees are welcome to stay and explore on their own
Lichfield Cathedral address
Power Station Road
Staffordshire, WS15 1LX