Macon’s Long-Awaited Amazon Fulfillment Center Provides More Than Twice The Jobs They Promised

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Macon’s Long-Awaited Amazon Fulfillment Center Provides More Than Twice The Jobs They Promised

The fulfillment center, SAV3, has an internal motto:

The fulfillment center, SAV3, has an internal motto: "Where Grit Meets Soul." The name is based on the Savannah Hilton Head International Airport, and the slogan is a play on Macon's city motto, "Where Soul Lives." Photo credit: Emily Rose Thorne

The fulfillment center, SAV3, has an internal motto: "Where Grit Meets Soul." The name is based on the Savannah Hilton Head International Airport, and the slogan is a play on Macon's city motto, "Where Soul Lives." Photo credit: Emily Rose Thorne

The fulfillment center, SAV3, has an internal motto: "Where Grit Meets Soul." The name is based on the Savannah Hilton Head International Airport, and the slogan is a play on Macon's city motto, "Where Soul Lives." Photo credit: Emily Rose Thorne

If you ask General Manager Corey Landry, Macon’s new Amazon fulfillment center is “where grit meets soul.” That internal motto was chosen for the 1.1 million-square-foot facility to reflect Amazon’s core values as well as Macon’s own slogan, “where soul lives.”

So far, Landry said, his associates resonate with that message.

“This is the most exciting associate group that I’ve seen coming into a building,” Landry said. “It’s (that) they’re excited to have the good job with benefits up-front on day one, and the solid $15 minimum wage seems to really excite them.”

Landry said during a press conference and tour Friday that the facility, named SAV3 after the Savannah Hilton Head International Airport, now employs almost 900 people — about 800 of whom are Middle Georgia residents. That’s close to double the number of jobs Amazon originally offered.

At a logistics job fair in May featuring Amazon, Tractor Supply and more, 3,500 people formed a line a mile long down Eisenhower Parkway in hopes of getting their resume into a manager’s hands. However, Landry confirmed during the press tour that the company did not conduct interviews or offer jobs at the fair itself.

“We handed out information on how to receive the job notifications, so that’s where the associates, our new associates, could have gotten the information on where to apply, but all of the applications are done online,” he said.

Landry also responded to questions about the delay in the grand opening. SAV3 was initially slated to open in spring 2019, but its first day of operation was July 28.

“Our launch dates are typically always flexible. We never set a hard launch date,” he said. “A lot of it depends on our transportation infrastructure. Not just infrastructure but also carrier lanes, set-ups and all kinds of elements factor into (it), so we have to make sure that not just the building itself but also everything that goes in partnership with that building is set to go.”

There’s still work to do before SAV3 is fully stocked and operational. At its long-awaited grand opening Sept. 6, the center was only stocked at 30% capacity, and not all associate positions had been filled.

Landry said he expects to grow the team by “over 100 in the next week or two.”

Interested applicants can explore available positions online or text MACNOW to 77088 to receive notifications when positions open. Landry said the online portal is updated every Friday.

Any new hires will be trained across departments in the facility.

“We cross-train a lot of our associates between functions to maintain flexibility between inbound and outbound,” Landry said. “When you get hired, you get hired as a warehouse associate, and you are trained depending on the need of the department where we need to get people trained.”

SAV3 mostly handles larger packages of 18 inches or more. Some items that are too large for Amazon’s standard boxes will require packaging specially printed to fit the item’s dimensions. Landry said producing tailored boxes is one of the most difficult jobs at a fulfillment center.

For Kewanda Grayson, however, it’s just the daily grind. She chose to transfer to SAV3 this summer from another Amazon facility near Chicago, Illinois. Within just six weeks in Macon, she has been promoted to a leadership role within the box production team, where she now helps train new hires.

She’s part of a peer leadership program in Amazon facilities that helps streamline the process for new associates.

“For the first three to six weeks, we have ‘away team ambassadors,’” Landry explained. “They’re associates from other sites that are very similar to this. They come in, they train our new starts, and after the first week, we start to identify the new starts that are catching on quickly, that are doing really well, and we ask them if they’re interested in becoming an ambassador.”

The “away team ambassadors” slowly depart, leaving the training up to leaders like Grayson.

“I’m one of the six that was first trained in this building. I come from a sort facility, so this is my first time even working in a pack facility,” Grayson said. “I became so good over here, they was like, ‘hey, let’s get you a team together!’”

Grayson’s 18-year-old son attends college in Illinois, but she said he plans to transfer to a school in Macon after this semester and apply to work at SAV3 with her.

Landry said that his associates’ desire to be there is part of the workplace culture that makes SAV3 so exciting.

“(Grayson) thought we were crazy for the first week, ‘cause we were all high-fiving, and she said, ‘you guys smile too much around here,’ but now she smiles all the time, too,” Landry said.

“This is new for me,” Grayson said. “But I like it.”