OPERATIONS

Online giant expands its fulfillment network in Michigan

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon is further bolstering its presence in The Wolverine State.

The online giant will open a new, 1 million sq. ft. fulfillment center in Shelby, Michigan. The building is set to open in 2018.

The warehouse will focus on picking, packing and shipping large items, like household decor, sporting equipment and gardening tools. These operations will be managed by approximately 1,000 associates, according to Amazon.

The new facility comes on the heels of Amazon’s plan to open an 855,000-sq.-ft. fulfillment center in Romulus, Michigan. The facility will use technology from the company's Amazon Robotics division to pick, pack, and ship smaller customer items, such as books, electronics and toys.

The Shelby fulfillment center brings Amazon’s warehouse count to three facilities in the state of Michigan. Amazon also operates a sortation center in the city of Livonia, and a corporate office in Detroit.

“Michigan has been a great place to do business for Amazon and we look forward to adding a new fulfillment center to better serve our customers in the region,” said Sanjay Shah, Amazon’s VP of North American operations.

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OPERATIONS

Discounter swaps out Apple devices for Android on its sales floor

BY CSA STAFF

Target associates are using new devices to complete their daily tasks.

After using iPod Touches for the last three years to manage stock, pull items, and handle other essential sales floor duties, Target is now putting Android devices into its associates’ hands, according to Gizmodo.

On average, Target is swapping approximately 30 iPod Touch devices in use across approximately 1,800 Target stores. However, the discounter still plans to use iPads for online order pickups, and managers will still use iPhones, the report said.

Two factors that influenced the discounter’s decision to upgrade its sales floor devices were the need for longer battery life, and Android’s flexibility to develop new apps, Gizmodo reported.

Click here to read more.

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Holiday hiring outlook for retail looks positive

BY Marianne Wilson

Early signs from retailers indicate a hot job market for workers this holiday season.

Despite store closures and consolidation within the industry, retailers are signaling that there might be high demand for seasonal jobs, according to a forecast from global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“The competition among major big-box retailers will incentivize consumers to spend more this holiday season. These stores will need to add staff in order to meet demand,” said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The Challenger forecast comes on the heels of an announcement by Target that it hiring 100,000 seasonal store associates for the holidays, up some 40% from last year.

Last year, seasonal retail employment increased by 641,000 during the final three months of the year, the lowest number since the 495,800 retail hires announced in the final months of 2009. Last year’s job gains were 9.6% lower than the previous year, when retailers added 708,800 jobs, according to employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Last year, BLS data showed that transportation and warehousing employment increased by a non-seasonally adjusted 246,700 workers in the final quarter of the year, 8% higher than the 228,400 workers hired in this sector in the final three months of 2015. In 2007, the seasonal job gains for this sector measured just 24,300.

“As holiday shopping habits turn virtual, retailers are responding by hiring more warehouse and transport workers," said Challenger. "While retail hiring has fallen over the last couple years, major announcements indicate workers will still be needed for customer-facing positions, as retailers attempt to give consumers an experience they cannot receive online.”

According to Challenger tracking, retailers have announced over 6,000 store closures and 67,000 job cuts in the first eight months of the year. However, despite these numbers, retailers projected the highest number of hiring announcements for any industry, with over 248,000.

Since 2012, holiday hiring announcements have averaged 604,000 per year, according to Challenger tracking. Some of those announcements are from non-retailers, such as FedEx and UPS. The bulk of those hiring announcements occur in September. In fact, between 2011 and 2016, hiring announcements in September have averaged over 415,000.

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