Voice of the paper: Awesome Amazon makes my Christmas shopping a slick operation

The Gazette’s group editor Roger Hawes sings the praises of the web giant which is also a major local employer.

Saturday, 13th December 2014, 8:15 am
Group editor Roger Hawes

If, like me, you are one of the millions who shop regularly through Amazon online, you will understand why I am writing this piece as a big fan.
Of course, this multi-faceted American organisation hasn’t been paying its full whack in taxes in the UK. But putting this negative issue to one side, Amazon is by its very nature a slick operation generating huge wealth in the economy.

Here in Hemel Hempstead the huge distribution centre in Boundary Road, just east of the town, is in full swing for Christmas. And to do this the company has taken on around 1,000 extra workers to boot.

Add that to the 700 permanent staff employed locally and you can imagine things are really buzzing in the huge, 450,000 sq ft, annoyingly-named ‘fulfilment centre’.

As a customer all I really need to know is that I can order without fuss and my pressies arrive safe and sound in good time for Christmas. Few of us know, let alone care, too much how it all happens... it just does.

Last week I was given an inside look at the Hemel Amazon operation and I can truly say (trying to avoid sounding like an American), it is awesome.

I am a bit of a logistics geek and the ‘fulfilment centre’ just about ticks all the boxes with regard to time, matter and space.

The Hemel site is one great big warehouse and distribution centre serving thousands of businesses. A place that, sorts, picks, sends out and delivers millions of items all over the country.

Currently with more than 1,600 people working a rolling 22 hour programme, things are at their busiest demonstrated by the high profile airport-style security inside and outside the centre.

Valued associates (workers to you and me) are bussed in from all over the area by the company which recently announced it planned to create another 1,000 permanent jobs to add to the 6,000 full-timers already in the UK boosting its £1bn investment.

First opened in Hemel a little over two years ago by PM David Cameron, Amazon has become a real local friend and part of the town’s economic history. Something to think about when you next click and collect.