Amazon plans to build its fourth customer fulfillment facility in Nevada, this one in North Las Vegas, where the e-tailer expects to staff 1,000 full-time workers, the company said in a press release.
The 800,000-square-foot warehouse will primarily process small items such as books, household items and toys, according to the release.
Amazon already employs more than 3,000 full-time associates in its three existing Nevada facilities in North Las Vegas and Reno, the company said.
As Amazon expands its reach, it has been building out its distribution base with tech-heavy fulfillment nodes that can take up more space than two dozen football fields.
As its operations expand, Amazon has struggled with its fulfillment expenses, quarter after quarter. Shipping costs in particular are problematic and grew 31% year over year in the fourth quarter, while in other quarters they outpaced sales.
But shipping and last-mile delivery aren't the only high-dollar line items in e-commerce. The inefficiencies of packing up boxes add up as well. Three years ago shippers like UPS and FedEx announced hiked fees on larger packages, driving e-commerce players to work harder to cut down not only on the number of boxes but also unoccupied space.
It's a branding issue, too, and customers can get irritated if their orders arrive in inefficient packaging. The company says it's working to minimize the size and number of the boxes it's sending out to customers, using algorithms and machine learning to determine the right amount of packaging, which now includes more bubble envelopes and fewer boxes.
At a meeting with vendors last year in Seattle, Amazon reportedly also asked consumer product goods suppliers to re-think packaging and devise supply chain reforms tailored for the age of e-commerce. Amazon responded to Retail Dive's request for comment then with a note saying it has made ongoing improvements in density, efficiency and sustainability in packing and transporting orders.
Amazon has also been keen to automate as much as it can at its fulfillment centers. In 2012, the company acquired Kiva Systems, a developer of robots for warehouse fulfillment functions, before a lot of companies understood that fulfillment — and not just price — could be Amazon's competitive edge. Amazon almost immediately brought Kiva in-house, leaving other e-commerce players scrambling for a new robot technology provider.