Amazon Fulfillment Technologies (AFT) powers the physical engine at the heart of Amazon. AFT builds and operates software, hardware, and processes that run the global network of fulfillment centers that move many millions of units of inventory, employ tens of thousands of people, and ensure that customers get what they want when we promised we would get it to them. We do this by building automated solutions to handle things that technology does well, while relying on people to handle things that humans do well.
Flow management is aimed at balancing the input and output of physical processes while minimizing the buffers between them. Balanced flow is achieved when the input from an upstream process is equal to the output of its downstream process. In the context of our fulfillment centers (FCs), everything that is picked has to be packed and everything that is received has to be stowed. When the rate at which the FC is picking is equal to the rate at which the FC is packing (or conversely receiving/stowing) we achieve balanced flow. Outbound Flow is a flow management solution that automates human decision points for our fulfillment center leads. It removes the need for these individuals to manage software controls and allows them to focus on managing people. All the sophistication and technical complexity is moved to software systems. Outbound Flow automates intra-day shift planning and labor allocation. The system uses capacity and charge (incoming customer orders) forecast information to determine the right allocation of labor across processes at the start of the shift. It also monitors buffers throughout the day and uses a cost-based system using mathematical models to decide if and when to move labor.
The vision for Outbound Flow is that when associates clock-in at the start of shift, they are presented with a message that tells them which process area to report to. This is based on the optimal start of shift labor allocation computed by the system and accounts for their training. Over the course of the day, when the system detects a need to move labor, the corresponding associates are presented with a message on their scanner to move to the new process area. Similarly, when operations and area managers start their shifts, they are presented with the system-generated shift plan for the day and are able to monitor the production rates for their area. They are notified when there is a deviation from the plan that requires their intervention (e.g. insufficient labor/capacity, missed rate targets, etc.). The Outbound Flow system automatically manages software controls, performs load balancing across process paths, and moves labor when appropriate. We work backwards from the customer and eliminate all fulfillment related misses.
As a member of a small team, you will get the opportunity to work on highly visible, innovative projects that directly impact the customer experience. You will be involved in all the aspects of the software development cycle including scoping, design, implementation, testing & delivery of your product. Our engineers are top-notch software developers who love listening to the customers, working as a team, and proactively taking the lead whenever necessary.”