Last Updated on 2023-10-30

Amazon Fulfillment Centers Explained For Workers

We worked with these active, experienced gig-workers to write this article and bring you first-hand knowledge.

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Phil Grossman

Experienced writer/researcher in the gig industry working alongside our gig-workers

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Alex Rodriguez

T1 Asssociate with experience across Decant, Waterspider, Stower, Packer, and Receive Dock roles

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Ismael Flores

T3 with experience in a Fulfillment Center and Amazon Corporate. He has 3+ years of experience working in the Waterspider, Problem Solver, Stower, and Compliance Specialist roles

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Jesse Gauthier

T1 Associate with two years of experience working in the Packer, Problem Solver, and Scanner roles

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Paul Avila

T3 Asssociate with 1+ years of experience working in the Packer, and Waterspider roles.

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Emir Dzaferovic

T1 Asssociate in a Fulfillment Center with 2 years of experience working in the Stower, Packer, and Waterspider roles.

Amazon fulfillment centers (FCs) are large warehouses where inventory is stored and Amazon orders are received, packed, and sent out to their next stop in the Amazon order pipeline. 

FCs should not be confused with sortation centers (SCs) and delivery stations (DSs) — they’re all different types of Amazon warehouses. Orders start at FCs, then go to SCs, and finally go to DSs where they’re shipped to customers. 

FCs are also different from prep centers, which aren’t run by Amazon. Prep centers are third-party providers that prepare items to be shipped to Amazon FCs. For example, if you wanted to start a business selling socks on Amazon, you could pay a prep center to make sure your socks are ready to be sent off to FCs. 

There are over 175 Amazon FCs around the world, and they provide steady employment for many workers with ample opportunity for progression within the company. 

What does an Amazon fulfillment center do?

Amazon fulfillment centers are the first destinations and largest warehouses in the Amazon order process. When you make an order, it’s sent straight to an FC, where Amazon employees will work to fulfill your order — hence the name “fulfillment” center.

Amazon stores all of its inventory at FCs. When an order comes in, FC employees find the items in inventory, package them, and send them off to sortation centers. 

There are several different types of FCs, but they all serve the same purpose of storing inventory and packing orders. Variations on FCs include:

  • Amazon Robotic Fulfillment Centers (ARFCs): Fulfillment centers that use robotics and automation to optimize the fulfillment process. For example, ARFCs use robotic shelving units called pods to bring inventory to workers instead of requiring workers to go looking through the whole warehouse for items. Not all FCs are automated — if you work at a non-automated FC, there will be much more walking involved in your job. 
  • XL Warehouse: XL warehouses are fulfillment centers that stock and package oversized items, like lawnmowers and big screen TVs. Associates at these warehouses need to use specialized machinery, like forklifts, to prepare orders.
  • Print-on-demand (POD): Some fulfillment centers have POD capabilities where workers print T-shirts, books, and other merchandise each time an order comes through. 

How do Amazon fulfillment centers work?

Before any orders are placed, FCs are stocked with inventory. Receive dock workers unload boxes of inventory from Amazon trucks and place them on conveyor belts that bring them to decant. Decanters then open the boxes, take out the items, and place them in yellow bins called totes. They then place the totes on another conveyor belt that takes them to stowers, who store them in inventory. Counters count the items in inventory to make sure everything is in the right place.

When an order comes in, pickers pick items out of inventory and place them in totes that are sent off to inductors who scan the items in the totes. The scanned items are sent off to rebinners who place them in specific locations on a wall. Packers then grab the items from the other side of the wall, build boxes, place items inside, add packing materials, seal them, and adhere a label called a SP00 (pronounced “spoo”) that displays a barcode with package information before sending them down the conveyor belt once again. 

Next, the packages arrive at the SLAM station, which stands for “Scan, Label, Apply, Manifest.” The SLAM station is primarily automated — packages are deposited from the conveyor belt onto the machine, which then scans the SP00 label to retrieve the package information and weighs the package to crosscheck its actual versus expected weight. If there’s any discrepancy or if the SP00 label can’t be read, SLAM operators step in to resolve the issue. 

Across the entire FC, waterspiders work to ensure that all the associates have the materials they need to complete their jobs, and their specific jobs vary depending on where they’re working in the warehouse. And if anything goes wrong with a package, machine, or a worker needs help, problem solvers are there to find a solution. If the conveyor belts get backed up, jam clearers step in. 

Throughout this process, process assistants and managers oversee the center’s operations and make sure everything is moving smoothly. 

In XL warehouses, the process remains the same, but associates use heavy machinery to move and pack the items. 

In FCs with POD centers, items are printed before being sent down the regular order pipeline. 

What do you do in an Amazon fulfillment center?

Jobs at Amazon FCs are split up into tiers, the lowest being Tier 1 and the highest being L8 (Jeff Bezos is L12). 

Tier 1 (T1) workers are called associates, and they are the entry level workers. As a T1 associate, you’ll be paid an hourly wage, and you’ll get a guaranteed pay raise every six to 12 months, which caps out at two years. Unlike higher tier workers, you’ll never be asked to change your shift (for example, from day to night), and you won’t be forced to stop working if volume is low. You’ll also get first dibs on voluntary time off (VTO), which is unpaid time off during slow periods. 

You might find yourself performing any of the following jobs:

  • Receive dock
  • Decant
  • Stow
  • Count
  • Picking
  • Packing
  • SLAM operator
  • Problem solver
  • Waterspider
  • Problem solver
  • Rebin
  • Sort
  • Jam clear

There are hardly any Tier 2 jobs, so for all intents and purposes, the next level up is Tier 3 (T3). T3 workers typically have at least one year of experience working in T1, but anyone can apply to T3 regardless of their experience. T3 jobs are supervisory roles and include:

  • Process assistant
  • Trainer
  • Yard specialist
  • Lead fulfillment associate

After Tier 3 comes L4. L4 positions are all salaried, managerial positions. These include:

  • Area manager
  • Operations manager
  • Learning coordinator

There are a few remaining high-level, salaried managerial positions at FCs:

  • Site manager (L5)
  • Operations manager (L6)
  • Senior operations manager (L7)
  • General manager (L8)

Fulfillment centers vs. sortation centers

Fulfillment centers are where inventory is stored and Amazon orders are received and packaged. 

Sortation centers are where FCs send their packages when they’re packed and ready for shipping. SCs are intermediary warehouses where packages are sorted and grouped together by delivery destination to ensure fast shipping. From there, they’re sent off to delivery stations.

Fulfillment centers vs. delivery stations

Delivery stations are the final stops in the Amazon pipeline. DSs are small, local warehouses where packages are put on Amazon trucks and sent out for delivery. You can think of them sort of like a local post office, but only for Amazon packages. 

Where are Amazon fulfillment centers located?

There are over 100 Amazon FCs across the world. Here are some of the current locations in the United States. Keep in mind that this list isn’t exhaustive and should only serve to give you an idea of where FCs are located:


  • PHX5: 16920 W. Commerce Dr, Goodyear, AZ, 85338
  • ​PHX3: 6835 W. Buckeye Rd, Phoenix, AZ, 85043
  • PHX6: 4750 W. Mohave St, Phoenix, AZ, 85043
  • PHX7: 800 N. 75th Ave, Phoenix, AZ, 85043
  • PHX8: 800 N. 75th Ave, Phoenix, AZ, 85043
  • PHX8: 800 N. 75th Ave Phoenix, AZ, 85043 
  • PHX9: 777 S 79th Ave, Tolleson, Arizona, 85353
  • GYR1: 580 S Bullard Ave, Goodyear, AZ 85338
  • GYR2: 17341 W Minnezona Ave, Goodyear, AZ 85395
  • GYR3: 8181 W Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85043
  • TUS1: 5333 W Lower Buckeye Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85043
  • TUS2:6701 S Kolb Rd, Tucson, AZ 85756


  • LGB7: 1660 N Linden Ave. Rialto, CA 92376
  • LGB3: 4950 Goodman Rd. Eastvale, CA 91752
  • ONT3: 1910 & 2020 E Central Ave. San Bernardino, CA, 92408
  • ONT4: 1910 & 2020 E Central Ave. San Bernardino, CA, 92408
  • OAK3: 255 Park Center Drive, Patterson City, CA 95363-8876
  • OAK4: 1555 N. Chrisman Road, Tracy, CA 95304-9370
  • OAK5: 38811 Cherry Street, Newark, CA 94560
  • OAK6: 38811 Cherry Street, Newark, California, 94560-4939
  • OAK7: 38811 Cherry St, Newark, CA 94560
  • ONT2: 1910 E Central Ave, San Bernardino, CA 92408, United States
  • ONT5: 2020 E Central Avenue, Southgate Building 4, San Bernardino, CA 92408-2606
  • ONT6: 24208 San Michele, Moreno Valley, CA 92551
  • ONT8: 24300 Nandina Ave., Moreno Valley, California, 92551-9534
  • ONT9: 2125 W San Bernardino Ave, Redlands, CA, United States
  • PSP1: 1010 W 4th St. Beaumont, CA 92223  
  • SAN3: 6971 Otay Mesa Rd. San Diego, CA 92157
  • XUSD: 1909 Zephyr Street, Stockton, CA 95206


  • BDL1: 801 Day Hill Road Windsor, CT 06095


  • PHL7: 560 Merrimac Ave, Middletown, DE 19709
  • PHL1: 1 Centerpoint Blvd, New Castle, DE 19720


  • MCO5: 305 Deen Still Rd Davenport, FL 33897-9409
  • MIA5: 1900 NW 132nd Place, Doral, FL, 33182
  • TPA1: 351 30th Street NE, Ruskin, FL 33570
  • TPA2: 1760 County Line Road, Lakeland, FL 33811
  • XUSF: 901 West Landstreet Road Suite C, Orlando, FL 32824


  • ATL6: 4200 N Commerce Dr, East Point, GA 30344


  • BOI2: 5319 E Franklin Rd, Nampa, ID 83687


  • IND1: 4255 Anson Boulevard, Whitestown, IN 46075
  • IND2: 715 Airtech Parkway, Plainfield, IN 46168
  • IND3: 717 Airtech Parkway, Plainfield, IN 46168
  • IND4: 710 South Girls School Road, Indianapolis, IN 46214
  • IND5: 800 S Perry Road, Plainfield, IN 46168
  • IND9: 1151 S GRAHAM RD, Greenwood, Indiana, US
  • SDF8: 900 Patrol Road, Jeffersonville, IN 47130
  • XUSE: 5100 S Indianapolis Road, Whitestown, IN 46075


  • MCI5: 16851 W 113th St, Lenexa, KS 66219


  • CVG1: 1155 Worldwide Blvd. Hebron, KY 41048
  • CVG2: 1600 Worldwide Blvd. Hebron, KY 41048
  • CVG3: 3680 Langley Drive, Hebron, KY 41048
  • CVG5: 2285 Litton Ln, Hebron, KY 41048, United States
  • CVG7: 2285 Litton Ln, Hebron, KY 41048, United States
  • CVG8: 7968 Kentucky Dr, Suites 23, Florence, Kentucky 41042 , Boone County
  • LEX1: 1850 Mercer Road, Lexington, KY 40511
  • LEX2: 172 Trade Street, Lexington, Kentucky 40511
  • SDF1: 1105 S Columbia Avenue, Campbellsville, KY 42718
  • SDF2: 4360 Robards Lane, Louisville, KY 40218
  • SDF4: 376 Boulevard, Shepherdesville, KY 40165
  • SDF6: 271 Omega Parkway, Shepherdsville, KY 40165
  • SDF7: 300 Omicron Court, Shepherdsville, KY 40165
  • SDF9: 100 W. Thomas P. Echols Lane, Shepherdsville, KY 40165


  • BWI5: 5501 Holabird Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224


  • BOS5: 1000 Technology Center Dr, Stoughton, MA 02072


  • DET3: 1220 Featherstone Rd, Pontiac, MI 48342
  • DET6: 20110 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48203


  • MSP5: 5825 11th Avenue East, Shakopee, MN 55379


  • LAS2: 3837 Bay Lake Trail Suite 115, North Las Vegas, NV 89030
  • RNO4: 8000 N Virginia St, Reno, NV 8950

New Hampshire

  • BOS1: 10 State St Nashua, NH 03063

New Jersey

  • ACY5: 2277 Center Square Road, Swedesboro, Logan Township, NJ 08085
  • EWR4: 50 New Canton Way, Robbinsville, NJ 08691
  • EWR5: 301 Blair Road 100, Avenel, NJ 07001
  • EWR6: 275 Omar Avenue, Avenel, NJ 07001
  • EWR7: 275 Omar Avenue, Avenel, NJ 07001
  • EWR8: 698 US-46, Teterboro, NJ 07608

New York

  • JFK7: 7 W. 34th St., New York, NY 10001

North Carolina

  • CTL5: 1745 Derita Rd, Concord, NC 28027


  • ABE2: 705 Boulder Drive, Breinigsville, PA 18031
  • ABE3: 650 Boulder Drive, Breinigsville, PA 18031
  • AVP1: 550 Oak Ridge Road, Hazleton, PA 18202
  • DPH1: 4219 Richmond Street, Philadelphia, PA 19137
  • MDT1: 2 Ames Drive, Carlisle, PA 17015
  • PHL4: 21 Roadway Drive, Carlisle, PA 17015
  • PHL5: 500 McCarthy Drive, Lewisberry, PA 17339
  • PHL6: 675 Allen Road, Carlisle, PA 17015
  • PHL9: 2 Ames Drive, Carlisle, PA 17015
  • PIT5: 2250 Roswell Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15205
  • XUSC: 40 Logistics Drive, Carlisle, PA 17013
  • XUSG: 9645 West Hills Court, Kutztown, PA 19530

South Carolina

  • GSP1: 402 John Dodd Rd, Spartanburg, SC 29303
  • CAE1: 4400 12th St Extension, West Columbia, SC 29172


  • BNA1: 14840 Central Pike, Lebanon, TN 37090: Wilson County
  • BNA2: 500 Duke Dr, Lebanon, TN 37090: Wilson County
  • BNA3: 2020 Joe B Jackson Pkwy, Murfreesboro, TN 37127
  • BNA5: 50 Airways Blvd, Nashville, TN 37217
  • CHA1: 7200 Discovery Drive, Chattanooga, TN 37416
  • CHA2: 225 Infinity Drive NW, Charleston, TN 3731


  • DFW6: 940 W Bethel Road, Coppell, TX 75019-4424
  • DFW7: 700 Westport Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177-4513
  • DFW8: 2700 Regent Boulevard, DFW Airport, TX 75261
  • DFW9: 2700 Regent Blvd, Irving, TX 75063
  • HOU1: 8120 Humble Westfield Road, Humble, TX 77338
  • SAT1: 6000 Enterprise Avenue, Schertz, TX 78154
  • XUSB: 14900 Frye Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155


  • RIC2: 1901 Meadowville Technology Pkwy Chester, VA 23836
  • RIC1: 5000 Commerce Way, Petersburg, VA 23803
  • BWI1: 45121 Global Plaza, Sterling, VA 20166


  • BFI1: 1800 140th Avenue, E Sumner, WA 98390
  • BFI3: 2700 Center Drive, Dupont, WA 98327
  • BFI5: Building B, 20526 59th Pl S, Kent, WA 98032
  • BFIX: 1800 140th Avenue, Sumner, WA 98390
  • SEA6: 2646 Rainier Avenue, South Seattle, WA 98144
  • SEA8: 1227 124th Avenue Northeast, Bellevue, WA, 98005


  • MKE1: 3501 120th Ave. Kenosha, WI, 53144
  • MKE5: 11211 Burlington Road, Kenosha, WI 53144

What is it like to work in an Amazon FC?

Amazon FCs are large warehouses, and working in such a large space can take some getting used to. There’s often a lot of noise, you’ll need to walk long distances to get from place to place, and you have to wear protective equipment like gloves and steel-toe shoes. You’ll likely be working long shifts (10-12 hours) as well. 

Alex Rodriguez, who has been working at an Amazon FC for two years, says “expect to work in a large warehouse where much walking will be required, so much so that it can take up to 5 minutes just to walk from the break room back to your work station.”

He also notes that some roles will have a lot more walking involved than others. Stow waterspiders, for example, as compared to pack waterspiders, “can expect to do a lot more walking, since stow stations are MUCH more spread out across the warehouse than, say, pack stations, which are relatively close to each other.”

Jesse Gauthier, who has been working as a packer and problem solver at an FC for one year, says that some of the equipment can also be finicky. “At the pack station, you have a fussy tape machine that requires water for the adhesive. You will want gloves when working at pack.”

If you work a T3 role, you might find yourself with some more managerial duties. Ismael Flores, who has worked at an FC for three years, says “some T3 roles can be managerial, or at the very least, all take on some sort of managerial responsibilities. For example, some T3 Process Assistants (PAs) are in charge of managing the associates on their floor.”

There’s also a lot of flexibility when it comes to scheduling and pay. For example, it’s possible to earn a higher income in lower tiers than higher ones if you play your cards right. Alex says “there are some benefits to staying a T3 instead of choosing to become an L4 when it comes to pay. For example, I have heard that because T3s are hourly and have access to overtime pay, when work is particularly busy, such as on Prime Weeks and holidays, they can actually end up earning more than salaried L4s if they add enough hours to their schedules by picking up extra shifts, which can even come with added Surge Pay.”

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