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Richard Dyce, director of operations for the new Amazon fulfillment center, presented new details on the incoming business at the town’s annual spring breakfast. (Photo by Nathan Hughart/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Locals looking for more details on the July opening of the Amazon fulfillment center at the former Pratt & Whitney site got a major update at the April 25 Economic Development Commission spring breakfast.
Richard Dyce, who will be the director of operations at the North Haven Amazon location, presented a keynote speech focused on the fulfillment center’s operation.
“On behalf of Amazon, it’s very exciting for us to be expanding our presence in Connecticut in general. I will say it’s personally exciting to bring Amazon here to North Haven,” Dyce said.
This will be the second Amazon fulfillment center in the state. Dyce previously worked at the existing facility in Windsor, which was built in 2017.
The North Haven location will only ship items 18 inches long or smaller. From the fulfillment center, ordered items are sent to a “sortation” center, like the one in Wallingford, where items are organized and sent to a delivery center for local delivery.
According to Dyce, the North Haven facility will be capable of shipping out more than 1 million items per day during the peak buying season around the holidays.
“When you place an order for that [item], it sends a signal down to the floor and then we have associates who are responsible for picking, packing, and shipping those items out,” Dyce said.
The picking process is aided by new robotics technology. Prior to the introduction of robotics, Amazon workers would need to manually find the required item. Now, electronic services track the location of each item and robots bring it to a stationary worker who then packs and ships it.
Each item is tracked by a code that the robots can read. The system can ship out an ordered item in as little as 30 minutes.
“What we say is that the technology actually enhances the experience of the associate and it actually allows us to offer a more efficient means with which to satisfy our customers,” Dyce said.
Dyce said the company will be looking to hire for 1,800 positions, of which most will be full time, in addition to salaried managerial positions. In 2018, Amazon increased its minimum starting wage to $15 per hour.
The center’s opening date has not yet been announced; a job fair at the North Haven recreation Center originally scheduled for Tuesday, June 4 has been pushed back to a date in July to be announced.
Upon the completion of the North Haven facility this summer, Amazon will have created four total locations in the state since 2015: the sortation center in Wallingford, the fulfillment centers in Windsor and North Haven, and a delivery center opened last year in Bristol.
“We will continue to grow in the state of Connecticut,” Dyce said. “We’re happy to be here as partners and we’re happy to be here as part of the growth in the state of Connecticut.”