Rugeley was listed in the Domesday Book, but there’s far more to this bustling, sociable market town than its history. Nestling in the heart of Staffordshire between Cannock, Stafford, Lichfield and Uttoxeter, nowadays it’s home to an appealing cluster of shops, pubs, cafes, bars and restaurants, not to mention an Amazon fulfilment centre the size of nine and a half football pitches.
I know these things because Amazon is really proud of its operation at Rugeley – so proud that it is now offering tours of the fulfilment centre. It even has a special web site that enables you to book a tour.
It’s a huge site and a truly impressive operation – so I imagine that there will be lots of people who are just interested in seeing how Amazon stores, packs and delivers their goods.
But I suspect that Amazon’s main motivation in opening the doors of the site is to encourage people to go and work in the business. It talks a lot about career choice, fulfilment centre pay (£7.39/hr for starters), training, and other benefits.
That seems a good idea to me. So the question is: why isn’t everyone doing it? We are all only too aware that logistics lags behind other industries in the battle to recruit people. There is no doubt that it is difficult to get the message across that there are worthwhile careers to be pursued in logistics.
One of the problems is that many careers teachers and local enterprise organisations have no idea what it is – or have outdated ideas about it. (There are one or two honourable exceptions – Northamptonshire for example).
But the reality is that it’s down to the logistics industry to ensure that it is bringing in enough talented people for the future. For years now, towns and cities around the country have been seeing the growth of huge warehouses. For most of the locals, what goes on inside them is a total mystery.
So, encouraging people to come into the distribution centre and see how sophisticated the operation is in there must be a good thing. Perhaps it’s time for more organisations to follow Amazon’s lead and throw open the doors.
Malory Davies FCILT,