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Inside Newegg's East Coast Distribution Center

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the pick-me-up-a-new-psu-while-you're-there dept.

Businesses 112

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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Security? (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104016)

"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.

Different counter-measures for different threats (5, Informative)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104098)

"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.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (4, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#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

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (1)

Thantik (1207112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38105136)

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:Different counter-measures for different threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108422)

Rest assured, your "comped" meals were figured in to the cost of business by Financial. You were being paid more than you thought and you didn't even know it. And, the company could write your meals off as spoilage. Smart, huh? That's why they were signing your paychecks, and not the other way around. :)

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38105592)

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 consider eating soon to be trash theft.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (4, Interesting)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107976)

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.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (3, Funny)

Keith Mickunas (460655) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104222)

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.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104230)

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? (3, Interesting)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104638)

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.

Re:Tunnels? Really? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 2 years ago | (#38105362)

Tell that to the border patrol near Nogales, Arizona.

Re:Tunnels? Really? (3, Interesting)

Grave (8234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38105662)

When there are billions of dollars at stake, hard work and cheap labor are easy. For a few hundred thousand or a couple million dollars of traceable merchandise, no, it is not worth digging such a tunnel.

Re:Tunnels? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108492)

But, but, this isn't cocaine we're talking about! It's Asus laptops. New ones!

Re:Tunnels? Really? (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106016)

Yeah, what you are supposed to do is steal a van, drive it through the wall at a weak point, and then take what you can carry. Or load onto the other van you stole.

Re:Tunnels? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109158)

drive it through the wall at a weak point

"Gee, that sounds PLAUSIBLE!"

Where do you come up with this garbage? Between this and your views on skeptics, I think it's safe to say that your brain has been addled by drugs.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (4, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104234)

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.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (5, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (1)

John Courtland (585609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104422)

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.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (5, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104630)

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!

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106950)

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 shopping at Newegg, but I'm also fortunate to have a Fry's in the area; they have a great selection and are often (though not always) competitive on pricing with Newegg.

There's also a local Micro Center - haven't shopped there yet, but I probably will when I build my next box. $179 for a Intel 2500k is hard to beat.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107706)

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 Internet is wasting their breath as i'd rather pay the taxes and get a decent price on the stuff I actually need as to pay $32 for an 8Gb flash drive or $28 for a 50 pack of blank DVDs. and here if the PC isn't brand new you can give it up, they'll have ONE stick of older RAM, always 1gb and always nearly $50. No thanks.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104918)

No. The answer is to pay all employees fairly and treat them well. Employees who are happy with their jobs do not steal.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (5, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38105196)

I don't agree. There are always people who will attempt to milk the system even when they're happy. I've had a roommate like that.

I won't dispute that less employees will steal, but it certainly won't eliminate the problem.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (4, Interesting)

izomiac (815208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38105266)

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.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38105292)

LOL. I bought a clearance IDE DVD-R drive from them. When I got home, the package had a broken CD-R drive in it. When I took it back and told them about it, they blamed ME for trying rip them off. The manager specifically stated that there was NO WAY possible that the contents could have been switched in the store before I bought it and she threatened to call the police and have me charged for stealing. I told her that if she didn't give me my money back, I would call them myself. After some heated exchange and threats that I would call my credit card company, they gave me a refund. I never shopped there again.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (1)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104618)

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.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104626)

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 same. 30/30/40, 30/40/30, and so on.

There's a reason why internal loss prevention is becoming a very big business in the private sector these days.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38105278)

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.

Re:Different counter-measures for different threat (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104908)

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? (3, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38104686)

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

Exactly. People steal the wrong things.

When I worked at an Office Max as a kid, we regularly had 20-somethings buy $5K worth of random supplies using someone else's credit card, and we didn't care. The office complex across the street spent nearly $100K/day, and it was always a secretary or a mailroom kid using the boss's card. They also returned tons of shit for merchandise credit.

However, if one person came in to buy a laptop, they had 5 employees watching like hawks. Apparently nobody actually bought a laptop from Office Max, but they always tried to steal them. #dumb

If you want to run a scam, do it with a really expensive, really boring item. Back then it would have been transparency paper for high-speed copiers at $1000/ream.

Re:Security? (1)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38105514)

If they where trying to sell their stolen goods, it seems like it would be easier to offload a laptop in a subway station then it would to offload transparency sheets. Expensive stuff isn't much good if they can't find a buyer.

Re:Security? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106460)

Aye. Anybody can sell 'their' laptop on Craigslist and get 20%-50% retail for it. New-in-box processor? Good luck.

Re:Security? (2)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104904)

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.

Re:Security? (1)

pryoplasm (809342) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106730)

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....

Re:Security? (2)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107214)

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 smart people steal.

In contrast when "stuff happens", the stupid ones don't go for a holiday somewhere nice...

Fry's stores high-$ Intel CPUs in the cage (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107206)

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

Re:Security? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107252)

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.

Re:Security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107086)

All of this will disappear if SOPA passes, sad...

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I'm more interested in their California location (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38104092)

Those guys are slower than snails.

Hope they treat their employees better than Amazon, though!

Re:I'm more interested in their California locatio (4, Informative)

demonbug (309515) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104174)

Those guys are slower than snails.

Hope they treat their employees better than Amazon, though!

A bit out of date now, but Anandtech [anandtech.com] did a similar warehouse tour at the California location back in 2006. And one at the New Jersey location [anandtech.com] back in 2008.

Re:I'm more interested in their California locatio (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104176)

Really? Any time I order from them I never pick anything but the slowest shipping, and nearly always get it the next day ( I place most of my orders in the morning)

Re:I'm more interested in their California locatio (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104302)

Seconded. I've never had a single issue with Newegg, and amazon does indeed treat it's employees like shit, at least they did shortly after they started to become the behemoth they are now.

Re:I'm more interested in their California locatio (1)

ebs16 (1069862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106170)

I live in NY. Most of the state is within UPS' "one-day" range for shipments out of this facility. Free overnight shipping -- it's a beautiful thing.

Re:I'm more interested in their California locatio (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108664)

You probably live near one of their warehouses. I've gotten plenty of orders placed mid-afternoon the next day, but I'm in UPS Ground 1-day range of the Memphis warehouse.

Words (5, Funny)

McGuirk (1189283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104100)

I RTFS and all I can think is "I have never heard the word 'e-tailer' before, but I already hate it."

Re:Words (3, Funny)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#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:Words (2, Funny)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104192)

....OH, REATILER. shit I was thinking Newegg was making suits online now...

Re:Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38105714)

If they were making suits, they'd be an e-tailor...

Re:Words (1)

niteshifter (1252200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107290)

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.

Re:Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38105260)

Welcome from 1999! Were you in a coma or did you invent a time machine?

Re:Words (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38105274)

When I read it my first impression was someone who custom fitted clothing online... which would actually be rather impressive.

Clueless guy visits a fulfillment center (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104142)

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.)

Re:Clueless guy visits a fulfillment center (5, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Clueless guy visits a fulfillment center (2)

mveloso (325617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104660)

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.

Re:Clueless guy visits a fulfillment center (1)

Zibodiz (2160038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106678)

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).

Re:Clueless guy visits a fulfillment center (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Clueless guy visits a fulfillment center (1)

Zomalaja (1324199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104536)

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.

Re:Clueless guy visits a fulfillment center (1)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | more than 2 years ago | (#38105780)

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

Re:Clueless guy visits a fulfillment center (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106598)

I worked at their New Jersey location on the loading dock for six months when I was in college. Hardest job I've ever had. It's AMAZING. Massive warehouse, everything in stock, giant conveyor belts that carry cardboard boxes with orders flowing to the shipping area, and guys on cherry-pickers with handheld scanners picking items off of shelves that are literally three stories tall. They have their own contracted-out portion of UPS's tractor fleet to move their orders to centralized distribution hubs. I used to be able to get orders in four hours if I ordered by 11am when I lived in the area

Re:Clueless guy visits a fulfillment center (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106750)

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.

Sears fulfillment center (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108562)

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?

Re:Clueless guy visits a fulfillment center (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108592)

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.

Jesus, I love Slashdot.

Algorithmic efficiency as it applies to historical warehouse logistic operations?

Yes, please!

Re:Clueless guy visits a fulfillment center (1)

greghodg (1453715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104522)

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.

Re:Clueless guy visits a fulfillment center (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104576)

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.

Re:Clueless guy visits a fulfillment center (1)

TheWingThing (686802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104646)

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]

Re:Clueless guy visits a fulfillment center (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38105282)

Dunno man if I order with rush shipping they almost always get the order fulfilled in an hour or less even on long orders. Coupled with shoprunner its at my office in 2 days 95 percent of the time.

Re:Clueless guy visits a fulfillment center (1)

webminer (1619915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106112)

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.

Re:Clueless guy visits a fulfillment center (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107238)

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".

Re:Clueless guy visits a fulfillment center (1)

dbitter1 (411864) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107910)

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...

Who? (-1, Offtopic)

frisket (149522) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104264)

WTF are Newegg anyway?

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38104294)

Are you, Amish or something?

Re:Who? (3, Insightful)

madprof (4723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104306)

Or just not from the US. They don't ship outside the US, remember. Oh and Puerto Rico.

Re:Who? (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104344)

And Canada.

Re:Who? (4, Funny)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104406)

They actually started shipping to Canada a while ago!

And it's a good thing too. I've consistently found them to be the best.

Tigerdirect used to be my go-to company for everything, but they started screwing up orders and their handling of tracking codes is terrible. It's a good example of how quickly you can lose someones business. I used them for years, probably spend somewhere in the 10000+ range, and it probably only took about 4 months for them to lose my business when newegg came along.

NCIX is ok, but they are _slow_ and really suck at packaging. I've found all manner of weird stuff in boxes from NCIX.. rolls of tape, pages from random printer manuals, other customers order forms! Half the time the box is way too big and it seems like they just shove whatever bits of foam, bubble wrap, paper, and those air pocket things they have laying around (I recently received a box that contain all of those in a big box containing a smaller box containing a server shelf.. which was laying at the bottom of the box!

Ok, I'm gonna stop before I start frothing!

Re:Who? (1)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104958)

NCIX is ok, but they are _slow_ and really suck at packaging. I've found all manner of weird stuff in boxes from NCIX.. rolls of tape, pages from random printer manuals, other customers order forms! Half the time the box is way too big and it seems like they just shove whatever bits of foam, bubble wrap, paper, and those air pocket things they have laying around (I recently received a box that contain all of those in a big box containing a smaller box containing a server shelf.. which was laying at the bottom of the box!

I love NCIX but I gotta admit I usually buy consumer stuff from them rather than industrial-grade like server shelves. The one time I had a problem with them, they screwed up the quantity of some 120mm cooling fans I ordered, and when I phoned them it was pretty obvious that they were swamped because of the Sandy Bridge replacement fiasco (my company was having fulfillment trouble from Dell during the same period).

Re:Who? (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106060)

I stopped buying from Tiger Direct when i walked into one of their stores. Huge creepy vibe going on in that place.

Re:Who? (4, Informative)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104680)

NewEgg (and to some degree mWave) is the cheapest place to order all the computer parts you need to build your rig. Good selection, fast service, but what makes NewEgg stand out from all the others is 2 things:

a) You can see the 5 star break-down ratings from actual customers
b) You can not only see the total number of reviews, but sort products by "most reviews" AND read each and every mini summary from customers

i.e.
http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=22&name=AMD-Motherboards&Order=REVIEWS [newegg.com]
We see that:

The "ASUS Crosshair IV Formula AM3 AMD 890FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard", has
avg. 4/5 eggs (stars)
485 customer reviews

Clicking on the eggs we see
5 eggs = 71% (285)
4 eggs = 15% (60)
Which means 86% think this is a great product. Translation: For a high-end AMD system, you can't go wrong with this product!

Before I order anything I _always_ see what is the most popular item AND read the reviews to see if there any issues other builders are having with it. Wouldn't you like to know BEFORE hand if the OEM drivers are buggy?

Buying a product with only 1 star means you are probably buying junk.

Their category organization for finding products is good too.

Hope this helps

Re:Who? (2)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#38105058)

and I always check the reviews to see what's going wrong in the last 6 months. This has helped me avoid products with Q/A Dips or where something was going wrong for a while. Much easier to ensure that everything works instead of being stuck with DOA hardware that youhave to pay to send back for replacement.

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38105064)

NewEgg (and to some degree mWave) is the cheapest place to order all the computer parts you need to build your rig.

NewEgg is hardly cheap. There are plenty of cheaper places on the Internet, let alone brick and mortar stores out there that at worst match NewEgg's pricing. Without the need to pay for or wait for shipping.

Good selection,

NewEgg's selection sucks. The only thing it has going for it is their selection sucks less than the aforementioned brick and mortar stores. Being mediocre in front of pathetic isn't anything to write home about though.

fast service,

Can't argue with that. I can't remember any of my orders, when I used to shop there, taking more than a day to actually ship.

a) You can see the 5 star break-down ratings from actual customers
b) You can not only see the total number of reviews, but sort products by "most reviews" AND read each and every mini summary from customers

THIS. This is pretty much NewEgg's redeeming feature, and the reason I still occasionally order stuff from them. Because this must not be allowed to die.

Re:Who? (4, Informative)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106746)

NewEgg is hardly cheap. There are plenty of cheaper places on the Internet, let alone brick and mortar stores out there that at worst match NewEgg's pricing
....
NewEgg's selection sucks.

ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT.

Re:Who? (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107626)

NewEgg isn't cheap anymore, nor have they been for years. There are quite a number of other places that have cheaper prices, amazon for one. However, neweggs site is very very good, and they always deliver what you order without hassle. I still do a fair amount of business with them, even when I find somewhere cheaper just for that reason.

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108704)

ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT.

Remember when I said you were a nice guy? I take it back =( *cries!*

Re:Who? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107260)

Newegg almost never has the best price on anything, but they typically have a competitive price, and SOMETIMES it's the best price. Their selection, however, is amazing, and I mean that with an understanding of what the word means. The hard part is making a decision.

What I don't understand is why people buy from Tiger Direct. If they have the best price on something, you can be sure that it is shit.

Re:Who? (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108494)

Their pricing is at least respectable for computer components., though any particular product can usually be found elsewhere for less. If I'm going to buy a set of stuff, I haven't found another place that has all of what I want and where the sum of all the items is lower (except cables where monoprice really shines). Between laziness and shipping costs, I tend not to buy different pieces from different places.

I also question the sentiment about selection. I haven't found another place where selection is better (at least for computer components).

For me, what drives a lot of reason for using them for components even if in theory I could find them on amazon, their product categorization is pretty specific and it's much easier to identify sets of things with traits that a place like amazon would not make trivial to select by.

I will say I have casually glanced at the other products (e.g. HDTVs, laptops, random stuff) and haven't seen any particularly compelling reason to go with newegg for that sort of stuff.

Re:Who? (0)

Alrescha (50745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38105890)

"NewEgg (and to some degree mWave) is the cheapest place to order all the computer parts you need to build your rig. Good selection, fast service, but what makes NewEgg stand out from all the others is 2 things..."

What makes NewEgg stand out for me is that the last time I went to buy something, the price of the item *in my shopping cart* went up $10 in the length of time it took to type in my credit card. I don't shop there anymore.

A.

Newegg is awesome. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38104612)

One of the best companies to buy anything from. They stand behind everything they sell.

They do make it right. Even if the mfg won't.

Almost as big as Amazon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38104760)

Does this mean we can expect the quality of customer reviews on NewEgg to hit the Amazon level of uselessness soon? For me, that's always been the best aspect of NewEgg's offering.

Re:Almost as big as Amazon? (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104946)

Like any site, you have to take the reviews with a grain of salt. Most people are too lazy to leave a review. Thus the reviews are skewed toward people that have had a bad experience. I usually figure if 10% of the people say that a component arrived dead, that probably translates to well under 1%.

More photos? (5, Insightful)

massysett (910130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38104826)

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.

Re:More photos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38105448)

Maybe you'd like this nice video by the company that designed the fulfillment system for Newegg:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2Yo4RxSbwI [youtube.com]

Do they keep the AC and Heat running? (1)

kriston (7886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38105610)

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.

Re:Do they keep the AC and Heat running? (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106864)

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.

newegg.com.cn (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Newegg - packing and shipping currently is horrid (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106938)

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 factor in my time and return postage, newegg is a bad deal.

I love the Edison shipping center (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108052)

I love living one town away from this shipping center, they're record for getting a package to me is 16 hours, using shoprunner's 2-day shipping.

Name (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108790)

What's the idea in the name "Newegg"? It's cute.
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