E-commerce giant Amazon is expanding its presence in the Windy City. According to the Chicago Tribune, Amazon announced plans to set up shop in a warehouse located in Romeoville, Illinois, a southwest suburb. This will be the company's third Chicagoland area warehouse, as it has two other Willy County properties in nearby Joliet.
A Change of Pace
Amazon's growth in Illinois over the past year comes as somewhat of a surprise. Previously, Amazon had stayed away from the Land of Lincoln to avoid the state's infamous sales tax. However, the e-commerce company announced in the summer of 2015 that it would open a 500,000-square-foot facility in Joliet. In May of this year, Amazon reported it would open an even larger warehouse in the same town.
Even with its historic reluctance to move to Illinois, the business did not receive any state or local tax breaks. That said, opening an additional warehouse in Will County puts Amazon in a prime position for logistics optimization. Located at 1125 Remington Boulevard, right next to Interstate 55, Amazon is situated in a hub, meaning deliveries can easily be transported in any direction. Plus, the close proximity to the city makes shipments easier.
According to Crain's Chicago Business, the latest Will County warehouse is 767,273 square feet and 12 years old. It will act as a fulfillment center where Amazon employees will ship big-size items like TVs and kayaks.
Filling New Job Openings
Romeoville mayor John Noak said he was happy to hear Amazon's newest warehouse was in his town, as the move opens up plenty of jobs. In a company press release, the vice president of Amazon's North America Operations, Akash Chauhan, he highlighted the company's confidence in being able to bring opportunities to Illinois' unemployed.
"Expanding our footprint in Illinois brings hundreds and hundreds of full-time jobs with competitive pay and great benefits starting on day one to the state," he said.
However, it is unclear whether Amazon can fill those jobs. As a separate Crain's Chicago Business article highlighted, wages are starting to rise in the region as unemployment rates fall. That makes the talent recruitment market more competitive than ever.
To help with this effort, Amazon has partnered up with Workforce Investment Board of Will County. Together, the organizations are reaching out to candidates to fill entry-level positions. Amazon is offering $13.50 per hour, which is a competitive wage for the area.
Optimizing the Workplace
To really succeed with its new warehouse, Amazon must retain its workers and give them every opportunity to succeed. For such a large company that must rise to customer demand, it seems only logical that Amazon utilize mobile data collection devices. Not only does this allow employees to work to their full capacity, but the advanced technology may even draw in applicants. After all, many people look for work environments that are up to speed on modern technology.
Plus, data collection inevitably leads to collaboration. When information can flow seamlessly from one end of the supply chain to the other, everyone is on the same page and can better communicate.