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Inside Newegg's East Coast Distribution Center 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the pick-me-up-a-new-psu-while-you're-there dept.
MrSeb writes "Did you know that Newegg is the second largest e-tailer in the U.S., after Amazon? Perhaps building your own computer isn't dead yet! Matthew Murray was recently invited to take a tour of the Newegg east coast distribution center and see what goes on behind the scenes. 'The 350,000-square-foot Edison warehouse not only houses some 15,000 SKUs of products, it also ships as many as 15,000 packages a day ... All of the different products the company carries are sorted both by category and how easy they are to move: Obviously, HDTVs are more cumbersome and difficult to remove safely than processors. Some mobile equipment, such as laptops, netbooks, and tablets, are stored in a special “high-value” area behind a chain-link fence that’s been erected within the warehouse itself.'"
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Inside Newegg's East Coast Distribution Center

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  • "Some mobile equipment, such as laptops, netbooks, and tablets, are stored in a special “high-value” area behind a chain-link fence that’s been erected within the warehouse itself.'" "

    Prediction: Multi-million dollar tablet heist within 6 months.

    • by DragonHawk (21256) on Friday November 18, 2011 @06:30PM (#38104098) Homepage Journal

      "Some mobile equipment, such as laptops, netbooks, and tablets, are stored in a special 'high-value' area behind a chain-link fence thatâ(TM)s been erected within the warehouse itself."

      Prediction: Multi-million dollar tablet heist within 6 months.

      That fence isn't there to keep you or me out. The walls and doors of the building do that. (Presumably. I haven't been to NewEgg's warehouses myself.)

      The fence is to protect the products from employees and other staffers already in the building. Only the more trust-worthy employees can get into the cage. The minimum-wage semi-transient workers are kept out. It's a fairly common technique -- most retail stores do something similar. Certain items (typically small, high-value, and popular) are frequent targets of employee theft, and that's where that stuff goes.

      • by bmo (77928) on Friday November 18, 2011 @06:39PM (#38104184)

        As a former retail drone, I must confirm this as the case 25 years ago.

        We had the candy room and the car stereo room.

        The car stereo room for obvious reasons, and the candy room for the reason that it's all too easy to just cruise on by and grab something yummy and not even write it in the shrinkage book - keep honest people honest.

        --
        BMO

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2011 @07:14PM (#38104434)

          Your comment reminds me of when I worked in a grocery store during high school. We had a "breakage bin" in the back where damaged product went before it was dealt with. Curiously, the "breakage bin" was always half full of cookies and other sweet treats. When the young employees were hungry we would walk down the aisles and find something tasty, "drop" it on the floor, and then snack on it in the back, before tossing it into the bin.

          Part of it was being young and stupid, but the crucial bit was that the store didn't have perks or staff discounts for the junior staff. They went through entry-level employees so fast they had no interest in trying to retain them, because there was always another student willing to take his/her place. Thus, for us grunts, ripping off the store went beyond mere feelings of being ignored... it was revenge... and practically a fucking sport.

          • by Thantik (1207112)

            Not to sound like I'm just trying to one-up you here: We had a food cafe where we would order food from the deli/hot area, sit down and eat it in the cafe on break, in front of the managers, and then throw away the container/ticket for the food we were eating :)

            Most days I had boars-head footlong subs, other days I'd have honey mustard or buffalo chicken...best minimum wage job I ever had.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            I worked at a grocery store too, way back in the day. If you wanted some Entenmann's cookies or donuts or similar you just needed to walk over to the displays, some fat fingered customer had already ripped open a package or two to snag one. Plenty of ripped open items throughout the store. Of course, if seen eating from an already opened item, you could be termed anyway, but I had no problem doing it as the item would be thrown out at that point, just preserve the box so the store got credit. I did not c
          • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @09:22AM (#38107976) Homepage

            The grocery store I worked in (20+ years ago) had a sort of "thieves code" instilled by some of the managers, they would openly abuse the breakage bin in-front of the employees, and when a new employee would finally do it in-front of them they were "in the club." Abusing the breakage bin typically consisted of ripping a bag of cookies or similar, taking a few, and sending the rest back to the vendor for credit. After induction to the club, the manager would explain which products could be returned for vendor credit, which couldn't, etc.

            Nobody was ever disciplined or fired for abusing the breakage bin, but there were a few fired for other reasons - citing the breakage bin abuse instead of the actual reason for firing.

      • by Keith Mickunas (460655) on Friday November 18, 2011 @06:42PM (#38104222) Homepage

        Some Fry's have this in the front of their storeswhereas the Buy More has theirs in back. I've worked for companies that had a lot of hardware on hand for various reasons, and they had a similar setup. Nothing special about it that I can tell.

      • It sounds like it would be fairly trivial to get someone inside to take a look, tunnel under the building and up through the floor, and haul out all the laptops you can carry overnight. There may be a security guard to disable or it may be easier to fake a hostage situation up front while you take away merchandise through the tunnel.
        • Tunnels? Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by DragonHawk (21256) on Friday November 18, 2011 @07:40PM (#38104638) Homepage Journal

          It sounds like it would be fairly trivial to get someone inside to take a look, tunnel under the building and up through the floor...

          Someone's been watching too much TV. Digging a tunnel is *hard work*. It takes months to do it with expensive machinery, or years to do it by hand, and it leaves obvious evidence while you're doing it (large piles of dirt). So you'll spend more resources than you'll gain, and you'll get caught doing so.

          The exception would be if there's already some kind of tunnel under the secure area. There was one documented case I recall where a bank vault had been built right over a sewer tunnel, or something like that. But most of the time, they don't build buildings over tunnels or pipes -- not because of security, but because it makes engineering the foundation supports harder.

      • by Hadlock (143607) on Friday November 18, 2011 @06:43PM (#38104234) Homepage Journal

        Yep, if you visit a Fry's electronics, the RAM, processors and other high value per volumetric cm objects are kept in a literal wrought iron cage behind the counters. I worked at a CompUSA back in high school; the Palm Pilots and Handspring Visors, laptops and whatnot were kept in a separate room. You had to walk through the cash office (already a locked door), inside the cash office was a second locked door that took you to the electronics lockup room, which contained a fenced off set of 5-10 shelves with laptops and palm pilots, etc. I only saw the inside of that room once in the 18 months I worked there. I think the Fry's cage used to hold SD and CF cards as well, back when an 8GB card fetched more than $15.

      • by TWX (665546) on Friday November 18, 2011 @06:50PM (#38104282)

        The fence is to protect the products from employees and other staffers already in the building. Only the more trust-worthy employees can get into the cage. The minimum-wage semi-transient workers are kept out. It's a fairly common technique -- most retail stores do something similar. Certain items (typically small, high-value, and popular) are frequent targets of employee theft, and that's where that stuff goes.

        That didn't matter at Computer City or CompUSA. A buddy of mine worked at both of those (by virtue of one absorbing the other) and when both stores were closed he was kept on to help close them. One store apparently never had its camera system installed, and they found that out when they took down those fisheye covers in the ceiling to find them devoid of cameras but chock full of empty merchandise packaging, mostly memory and hard disk drive packaging. Literally a couple-hundred-thousand dollars worth of missing merchandise. Based on where the storage for these products was, it looks like employees were opening packages, stuffing the products into their clothes, and then tossing the packaging up above the drop ceiling that was about 7' up, so the packaging went out of sight to anyone coming in to inspect the room. The other store was equally bad, as apparently warehouse staffers who were paid to bring secured merchandise out to customers were bringing more than one of an item out at a time, loading one in the customer's car, then loading the other into their own. This was finally caught on to by a CUSTOMER who saw a worker load a TV into his own car, and asked the store manager about it. Jailtime was the sentence in the latter, but no one was caught in the former.

        The only way, in my opinion, to keep this crap from happening is to find a way to only let real managers (ie, not people promoted to manager so that they can be paid a crap salaried wage while working too many hours) have access to the secured merchandise, and to tie their salaries to the sales and inventory results of the secured merchandise. If the store's inventory gets too out-of-whack, the managers get penalized. Technically they could let non-managers in to these spaces, but if their salaries are based on such numbers they'd be much less inclined to let anyone whose salary isn't based on those numbers in to the area.

        • Hahaha was that CompUSA Skokie #177? That sounds really, really familiar. Or maybe it was just an epidemic cause that exact situation played out there too.
        • Ya know, I hate to say this, but at least they were only stealing from the stores. i used to work in a little shop down the street from a Best buy and we were always swamped taking care of the PCs Worst buy "fixed". it was bad enough when we would get floppies put in upside down, hard drives literally beat into the cage because some clueless GS worker didn't know how to release the latch, but i don't know how many time i had to tell folks the reason their PC was slow, or their new graphics card was running like shit was because somebody at Worst Buy palmed it and gave them some shit out of the back if they didn't just rip it straight from the hinges like they'd do with RAM. That was how I met my last GF, I had to tell her the reason her PC was slow after she took it in to get cleaned was because while her PC was supposed to have 1Gb of RAM someone had helped themselves and left her a 256Mb stick in its place.

          The bitch is the guy running that BB had to know something was hinky just from all the complaints he got from folks that would call them right from my counter but he made it clear that unless they had some before and after pics or some other proof he didn't give a crap what they or even the label on the side of the PC said, it wasn't his problem. Frankly I really wasn't surprised when they ended up moving to a new location because 'business was down' in that area. No shit, ripping off your customers can have that effect or so I hear.

          as for TFA Newegg, Tiger, and Amazon are my three favorite places to shop anymore, never have a bit of hassle, never have a problem. Every time i've tried dealing with local shops I've found piss poor selection, clueless help, and insane prices. With Newegg you can tell pretty easily if something is junky just by the amount of negatives, just look at the rating on some of the Seagate drives for an example. Personally i'd rather shop there than deal with retail hassles, thanks Newegg!

          • by JDG1980 (2438906)

            as for TFA Newegg, Tiger, and Amazon are my three favorite places to shop anymore, never have a bit of hassle, never have a problem. Every time i've tried dealing with local shops I've found piss poor selection, clueless help, and insane prices. With Newegg you can tell pretty easily if something is junky just by the amount of negatives, just look at the rating on some of the Seagate drives for an example. Personally i'd rather shop there than deal with retail hassles, thanks Newegg!

            I do a lot of my shopp

            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              Then you sir are a lucky bastard. Here we have Staples (which i refuse to EVAR enter after their management let their employees rig Black Friday a few years back and hand out the limited items to their friends), we have Worst Buy (which you saw from my post my first hand exp dealing with them) and you have Wally World or the land of overpriced Chinese crap, where a 100 pack of blank DVDs will cost you nearly $50.

              So all those congress critters saying "you should buy local!" and threatening taxing the Inter

            • by ArhcAngel (247594)
              You don't happen to live in the greater Houston metroplex do you? I ask because we have 3 Fry's, a MicroCenter, as well as Tiger's CompUSA brick & Mortar stores. We also have the worldwide warehouse for Directron. [directron.com] I just need Newegg to open a store and my impulse buying will be covered.
        • by DogDude (805747)
          No. The answer is to pay all employees fairly and treat them well. Employees who are happy with their jobs do not steal.
        • by izomiac (815208) on Friday November 18, 2011 @09:17PM (#38105266) Homepage
          IMHO, such businesses ought to have their secured merchandise in a "locked" room (easily circumvented) with a security camera that looks like it was accidentally broken/disabled (e.g. insecurely mounted so it's pointing in the wrong direction). Send new employees back there alone regularly, after hours even.

          Next, review video footage from the four hidden cameras and closely check stock over the weekend. Honest employees will never know, and dishonest employees will get weeded out before their first paycheck.
      • by Rolgar (556636)

        I work at a Postal Facility that ships Money Orders, and we have one of those as well. There is a log book to be signed by any employees who enter other than the 3 or 4 who normally work in their. As the support guy, often time my name filled half the slots in the log book. While somebody couldn't get money from the post office for stolen items, they might be able to trick somebody into selling them something for a bad money order.

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        The fence is to protect the products from employees and other staffers already in the building.

        Well that's no surprise, since ~70% of all employees steal. And the biggest losses come not from shoplifting, but the people who are employed by the businesses. The old 40/30/30 rule applies not to shoplifters but to employees. The break down of course is 40% will steal if they think they won't get caught, 30% will steal anything they can, and 30% won't steal at all. The numbers themselves fluctuate a bit depending on which study and criminology path you're looking at but they're all pretty close to the

        • by raehl (609729)

          I have a friend in loss prevention, retail, like macy's, book stores, etc. Started in the trenches and now has done regional loss prevention management at a couple major chains.

          Her focus is almost entirely on employees stealing.

          A lot of it isn't even making stuff disappear, it's discount scams, markdown scams, return scams, often coordinated with a friend who doesn't work there.

      • by Gerzel (240421)

        Indeed. Also the purpose of the fence isn't to stop someone but to delay them long enough for them to be noticed.

    • Re:Security? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sexconker (1179573) on Friday November 18, 2011 @06:32PM (#38104124)

      "Some mobile equipment, such as laptops, netbooks, and tablets, are stored in a special “high-value” area behind a chain-link fence that’s been erected within the warehouse itself.'" "

      Prediction: Multi-million dollar tablet heist within 6 months.

      Seems to me that new fangled $1000+ Intel CPU is much more valuable and much more mobile.
      Or those PCI-Express SSDs.
      Or server-grade RAID controllers.

      Why not be honest? Instead of calling it a "high-value area", call it "shit our stupid employees would like to steal" area.

      • by tompaulco (629533)
        Why not be honest? Instead of calling it a "high-value area", call it "shit our stupid employees would like to steal" area.
        The thing with people who steal stuff is that they are kind of dumb. If they were smart enough to steal stuff that was worth money, they would be smart enough to not need to steal.
        • by pryoplasm (809342)

          Thats a horrible sterotype, and one that can cause you to overlook things. Smart people can steal things as well, it takes all walks of life. And by thinking someone is too smart to steal, you automatically rule them out when they might be the one behind it in the first place.

          This isn't Scooby Doo, the creepy old guy trying to make a land grab or shut down a factory isn't always the criminal you are looking for....

          • by TheLink (130905)
            The smart people who steal are called investment bankers, and they do it legally.

            They pass stuff to each other at overinflated prices and take a percentage of those prices for each transaction, and get a bonus. Then when someone finally "opens all the packages" there's actually nothing inside. Guess where the "real money" went?

            They then go for a holiday somewhere nice, and later start all over again with an exboss/colleague/partner (hey, they helped make him rich too, so he's going to hire them).

            That's how
      • I dunno about the SSDs and such. Bulk HDDs used to be in there, so I have to imagine SSDs are now.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Why not be honest? Instead of calling it a "high-value area", call it "shit our stupid employees would like to steal" area.

        Fail: It's "shit our smart employees would like to steal" -- stupid employees will risk getting fired for stealing a candy bar.

  • Words (Score:5, Funny)

    by McGuirk (1189283) on Friday November 18, 2011 @06:30PM (#38104100) Homepage
    I RTFS and all I can think is "I have never heard the word 'e-tailer' before, but I already hate it."
    • Re:Words (Score:4, Funny)

      by masternerdguy (2468142) on Friday November 18, 2011 @06:34PM (#38104136)
      How can you hate it? It's sooo cute! It combines "retailer" and "electronic" into one cute little precious package. Honestly, I thought bullshit words like that were dead after the 90s, but apparently not.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Moheeheeko (1682914)
        ....OH, REATILER. shit I was thinking Newegg was making suits online now...
        • REATILER would, if it existed be a person who was not a tiler, becoming a tiler, then relapsing to not being a tiler.

          Tiler - noun. One who lays tile as in flooring or roofing. Or the doorkeeper of a Masonic lodge.

    • by izomiac (815208)
      When I read it my first impression was someone who custom fitted clothing online... which would actually be rather impressive.
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday November 18, 2011 @06:35PM (#38104142) Homepage

    OK, Clueless guy visits an order fulfillment center. Not even a very interesting one. No Kiva robots like "soap.com", no incredibly fast processing on long orders for many tiny items like "digikey.com", no unusual outsourcing like UPS's laptop repair center.. Just an ordinary fulfillment center.

    Maybe next he'll get out of Manhattan and visit a factory.

    (Then again, "Pawn Stars" and "Storage Wars" are actual reality shows.)

    • by Anrego (830717) * on Friday November 18, 2011 @06:45PM (#38104252)

      Meh, I actually found it interesting.

      I've never been inside an "ordinary fulfillment center", and have indeed always wondered how it all works. Sometimes the mysteries behind mundane things are interesting.

      • by mveloso (325617)

        If you think that's interesting, watch the Ultimate Factory episode of UPS:

        http://www.hulu.com/watch/213611/ultimate-factories-ups-worldport [hulu.com]

        There aren't a lot of secrets in logistics, fulfillment, and assembly. There's a lot of technology, or a lot of labor, or both. If you can, head to Asia to a printing plant that does tip-ins. A ridiculous amount of stuff is built manually. There's no secret to it - you do it the hard way, either with machines or with lots of people.

      • by Zibodiz (2160038)
        I think I went through about five on primary school field trips. I really didn't think anyone hadn't been in a shipping center/factory/retail back room (all basically the same).
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2011 @07:04PM (#38104370)

      I've often wondered with McMaster's warehouses (what are now called fulfillment centers) are like. My office is a couple of states away from their NYC center and I routinely get next-day delivery if I order by 7pm the night before, without any rush charges. Back in the day when I lived in LA, I would often get same day delivery if I ordered in the morning, and that includes going through the university delivery service. Again, no rush charges, just astonishingly fast service. That, and in the 15-or-so years that I've been ordering from them, they've made a mistake only once, packing qty 2 instead of qty 1 of an item, over hundreds of orders.

      • by Zomalaja (1324199)
        McMaster is top-notch as far as I'm concerned. My experiences are like yours, one error in over 30 years, next day, no hassles, etc. They have been around for over 100 years.
      • I've been blown away by McMaster Carr's delivery time as well. I think they ship by teleporter. As far as I know they don't have a Canadian center. I've ordered things at 4PM, and had them delivered by 10AM the next morning to a rural Canadian town

      • by Animats (122034) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @02:29AM (#38106750) Homepage

        I've often wondered with McMaster's warehouses (what are now called fulfillment centers) are like.

        Today, there are warehouses, fulfillment centers, and distribution centers, plus many other types of logistic facilities. A warehouse is mostly storage. A distribution center is an intermediate stop between suppliers and retail stores. A fulfillment center does order picking for customers.

        Sears invented the fulfillment center between 1896 and 1906. Their mail order business was successful, but as the business grew the order handing process choked. They figured out how to do order fulfillment efficiently from a broad inventory in huge volume, without computers. They built a 40-acre facility in Chicago, called "The Works", which operated until 1993 when Sears finally exited catalog sales. The "schedule system" which did that is quite clever. In fulfillment, the obvious solution is O(N*M), where N is the number of orders and M is the number of orderable items. This does not scale well. Sears got that down to O(N*log(M)) and dominated mail order for most of a century.

        • I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter.

          Seriously, though, I'd like to read more about Sears and the distribution solution. Wikipedia didn't really have anything. Any links?

          • by Animats (122034) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @05:51PM (#38119218) Homepage

            Seriously, though, I'd like to read more about Sears and the distribution solution. Wikipedia didn't really have anything. Any links?

            No one seems to have described the "schedule system" in detail on line. It gets a brief mention in the Sears archives. [searsarchives.com] Not much detail, though.

            The obvious way to do fulfillment is to have order pickers, each with a few orders to pick, going through the storage aisles picking items, then delivering them to the packing and shipping area. That works if the inventory isn't too big. Safeway, for example, does on line shopping that way, with pickers running around retail grocery stories.

            But the time to pick goes up with the size of the inventory, as the pickers have to travel further. The next idea is to divide up the orders by section, so that the items from each order are fanned out to different departments and picked by pickers in those departments. Then the picked partial orders have to be brought together for assembly. That creates a sorting problem, and as the volume goes up, the order assembly area tends to choke with work in progress.

            The "schedule system" is a variant on picking by department. Orders are divided up by department at the front end of the process, where orders are read and pick slips produced. (Sears had to do this by hand in 1895, of course.) The pick slips specify a time slot and a bin number. Time slots were originally 45 minutes long. During a time slot, the pickers in each department work only on orders assigned to that time slot, picking items and putting them in small bins which travel on chutes and conveyors to the order assembly area, which has a receiving bin for each order being processed in that time slot. At the end of the time slot, the pickers switch to the next set of orders, even if something didn't get picked in time.

            At the end of the time slot, all the bins in the order assembly area are replaced with empty bins, and the filled bins go to order checking and shipping. The original order is checked against the bin contents, anything missing is deducted from the charges and perhaps queued for another try on a later day, and the order is packed and shipped. Meanwhile, the next set of orders is being picked.

            With this system, the pickers are only working on a moderate number of orders at a time, and only have to look within their own department. If they get behind during a time slot, some orders will be partially filled, and that gets caught in order assembly and retried. Order checking, packing, and shipping can be fanned out to as many assembly stations as necessary, and more stations can be staffed and brought on line if there's a backlog.

            In the pre-computer era, this was a good way to coordinate an operation spread across acres of multi-story buildings. The order-checking phase of order assembly generates a ticket for each error, and those indicate what needed to be adjusted - too few pickers in one department, or too many out-of-stock reports from one department. It also provides a retry mechanism which doesn't stall out picking. This makes a huge operation manageable.

            The biggest difference in modern fulfillment is that today, the inventory is known at the front end of order processing. If something is out of stock, no attempt is made to pick it. Manual systems have to carry more inventory to avoid pick fails. Systems today aren't tied to a rigid timetable, and there's a lot of bar coding and RFID tagging to track products and bins as they move around. But the fan-out-to-department and fan-in-to-assembly structure remains, since that's what gives the improvement from O(N*M) to O(N*log(M)). This is just like converting from a bubble sort to a merge sort.

            This field is called "industrial engineering", which is about how to organize work so that it gets done efficiently. Anybody who supervises more than about 10 people needs to know the basics of this. Unfortunately, too many managers don't.

      • by m85476585 (884822)
        If you are ever going to be around their warehouse you can place an order and select "will call" for the delivery method and go pick it up yourself a few hours later. The nearest McMaster warehouse is about 30 minutes away, and I've been there a few times. I would love to take a tour, but I'm also happy just to see it from the door.

        Their delivery is remarkably fast. One time I placed an order, I don't know what time, but they showed up at my house with it at 8pm the same day in an unmarked van. It was an
    • by greghodg (1453715)
      And in TFA, cluelessGuy says "but seeing how a major tech company like this does it sounded like it would be very instructive". Calling a large warehouse that puts products in boxes a "major tech company" is beyond a stretch.
    • Is that really a bad thing? I've NEVER had an order go bad or get delayed by Newegg. Often times, when it comes from their CA center, I get it next day, even though I only pay for three day shipping. Whatever they're doing works, even if it isn't all that interesting. I enjoyed getting a look into how they get it done.
    • Agree. For much better articles about NewEgg's distribution centers, see AnandTech. The first one is a very old article in fact.

      California [anandtech.com]
      New Jersey [anandtech.com]

    • by webminer (1619915)
      I agree. Shipping15k packages a day is nothing. I work in the controls industry (software side, not PLC). Some of our biggest customers are big retailers. The most recent DC that I worked on ships no less than 150k cartons a day. They run 24x7 during peak seasons (Thanksgiving and Christmas). The conveyors we installed run at 500ft per min to accommodate the throughput.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Pawn stars is kind of amusing, not in an American Pickers way, but still amusing. Storage wars is pretty lame, but occasionally there's some interesting stuff on it.

      On one hand it's easy to be smug about how lame reality TV is, but the reality is that this shit is still more interesting than watching another lame sitcom, or watching some talking heads lie to you on the "news".

    • by dbitter1 (411864)

      Uhm.... yeah.... I work in this industry, and 15K packages/day is a "medium" size shipper to us. We have warehouses that easily put a six figure number onto trucks in a day... and I'm sure my competition has others. Not sure how they got the "second" biggest title.

      I agree, he needs to get out more.

      If someone wants to see such a warehouse... look at the "undercover boss" episode for GSI commerce...

  • Here's a YouTube video tour of the process: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2Eu-kY0JVk [youtube.com]
  • More photos? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by massysett (910130) on Friday November 18, 2011 @08:04PM (#38104826) Homepage

    Some more photos would have been good...you go all the way to New Jersey and you only took three pictures? That Pick to Light system sounded interesting, but a photo would have made it all clearer.

    I thought that this story had already been done, and sure enough, it has [anandtech.com]. Of course I'm sure Newegg is happy to give a warehouse tour to any blogger who wants one. I'm not even sure the story I linked is the one I've seen before. Wait, maybe that was this one! [anandtech.com] Anyway, both of those had more photos.

  • Do they keep the air conditioning and the heat running? Do they stage ambulances to keep the operation going in the summer? There's a very disturbing profile on the internet of a large Amazon distribution center in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley.

    • Warehouses (unless situated in an extreme climate) usually do not have Air conditioning. The only problem is Amazon selected the wrong spot for the warehouse or designed the warehouse without proper means to keep the place cool.

      • by rrohbeck (944847)

        I don't know what you call extreme climate but Memphis in summer apparently doesn't qualify. I had to screen and rework some product for three days there. No AC of course. At least they had free water, otherwise they would have needed ambulances nearby.

  • newegg.com.cn (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2011 @11:43PM (#38106040)

    I live in Beijing.

    I would love for a similar tour of newegg.com.cn's facilities to be done. Then maybe I could understand why none of the Rosewill (Newegg house brand) products (designed in Taiwan, made in China) can only be bought in the USA and are not available under any circumstances in China.

    Or maybe I could understand why products made in China and available in the USA for competitive prices are frequently listed on newegg.com.cn for up to 2x their USA$ price. For USA products that must be shipped back to China, ok, I can understand that... but Lenovo??? Power supplies (with meaningful quality), graphics cards (of reasonable performance- requiring a fan to keep from overheating is a typical breakpoint), and motherboards (that aren't more than 2 years old) cost anywhere from 50% to 200% more than they do in the USA. Only drives (optical/mechanical), CPUs, and RAM are within a 5% premium over USA prices.

    And the most fun thing is that as the RMB appreciates (6.3411RMD/1USD this past week, it was 6.75RMB/1USD when I first moved here), none of these products get cheaper in RMB. I get my sister to buy things in the USA and have them shipped here and still save money, unless I need it in a hurry, and then I go to taobao.com for reasonable prices but a much more random user experience.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This answer is based completely on conjecture and hearsay but it may help or may prompt somebody more knowledgeable to chime in.

      As I understand it, China has a strong "made in China" policy with heavy import duties on foreign goods brought in for resale. Those duties do not, however, apply to imports for individual use. And while NewEgg has warehouses over there they don't seem to have a fulfillment center, so the .cn website is exactly that, just a website.

      (Or maybe they're just gre

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Well I used to be a newegg customer. But I got tired of shipments in which the hard drives where right next to the cardboard, and the packing material was on top of them. Yes they toss the item in the box, then put in the packing material.

    The last straw was a speaker in the plastic clam shell packing that was shipped in one of the plastic film envelopes with NO packing at all.

    Newegg used to be great. But I got tired of returning items at my cost because they choose not to pack the items well. When I f

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      Yes they used to do that in the old days when employees at Fry's would slap a bare drive on the counter right in front of you too. But I recently bought some drives at Newegg and they came in a styrofoam shell with more than an inch thick bubble wrap around them. No complaints here, and I worked for a disk drive company and had to deal with shocked drives more than I care to remember.

  • What's the idea in the name "Newegg"? It's cute.
  • This "article" is obvious a thinly-veiled advertisement ahead of the holidays. "Shop with us instead of Amazon." Lame.

  • by Waccoon (1186667) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @02:06AM (#38114284)

    I work at a huge, high-volume fulfillment center shipping medical supplies to hospitals. Despite being a fortune 500 company, our operation and conveyor belt system is extremely crude, though the interior of the building looks a lot like the NewEgg warehouse. Although most items shipped amount to plastic forks, can liners, and paper towels, we do ship a lot of expensive stuff, like surgical trays and airway interconnects.

    I've always wondered how electronics distributors minimize damage to products, and it looks like the red totes are the answer. Don't put regular boxes on the mezzanine, where they can get jammed in the belt and crushed, but instead put them in a hard plastic tote that can slide easily on the rollers. We have grey totes with folding clamshell lids, but those are used rarely and only for items delivered to the shipping area by fork trucks, never off the belt. Even our incredibly expensive items ($1,000 a box, made in China), are packed in cardboard boxes -- without packing material -- and hand delivered to the trucking area. Needless to say, we suffer huge losses due to damaged product, to say nothing about mis-picks.

    I feel bad about the quality of products we send to hospitals, but that's largely out of my hands since I work at the end of the line loading trucks, rather than picking product. As usual, man uses his highest technological standards mostly for amusement. Hospital supplies are treated poorly by comparison.

    Not every warehouse is equal, and just from the few photos in the article, it's immediately obvious to a person like me how well the operation is run. Even though I do this stuff every day, I find it fascinating to see another facility.

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