MATTESON, Ill. (WLS) -- For the first time, Amazon opened the doors of its brand new, state-of-the-art facility in Matteson, highlighting the changes warehouse operations are taking with new robotics and technology, and the job opportunities now available at the new site.
The Matteson facility, known as Amazon ORD 5, which refers to O'Hare International Airport's code, is opening in phases as the holidays approach.
The facility was originally scheduled to on open July 2021, but supply chain issues happening across the country impacted the opening date for the facility as well, according to Lamonte Heyward, Amazon ORD 5's general manager.
"It impacted us globally from a logistics standpoint. The only thing we're able to do is just be flexible. So this is a phased launch," Heyward said. "Amazon is working really hard to get all the material into the building to have a very successful holiday season."
Amazon's Matteson facility is the first of its kind in Illinois. A second facility will open in Markham.
The Matteson property is so large, 64 football fields could fit on its footprint, Heyward said. It's based on the latest technology and robotics.
On a recent tour, blue robots known as drives are crucial. They zip around the warehouse carrying a yellow pod packed with products. Essentially, the drives do the leg work rather than employees running down every aisle.
"The associate stays in one spot," Heyward explained, pointing to the employee stations. "The robots are moving the product to and from them, and that allows us to pick more items faster."
Heyward said Matteson's facility will move 1 million customer orders every 24 hours when it's fully operational. He said there are 4,500 robots, which move three times as much product as normal.
"Nowhere else in the state of the Illinois will our associate get a chance to develop their robotic skills and technology skills anywhere else in the state like ORD 5," Heyward said.
The blue robots follow bar codes on the warehouse floor, directing them to their destination. The robots speed up the entire operation, meaning more packages and more customers can be served.
"The efficiency in this building allows us to meet this demand at a quicker time," Heyward added.
Amazon has a footprint in every state. Across the country, its latest numbers show Amazon has directly created 950,000 full time and part time jobs. In Illinois, that means 36,000 jobs as of 2020, and they company continues to hire right now.
"We anticipated having some difficulties filling 6,000 job positions but it really seems like our community is really excited to work for Amazon," said Arya Cohn, Amazon ORD 5's Senior Human Resources Manager.
Amazon needs more than 6,000 new hires for its new facilities in Matteson and Markham. Cohn said the average pay is $18 an hour. Some new hires will also be offered a $3,000 signing bonus, she said.
The surrounding community is key as well.
Matteson village officials says Amazon will generate $3.5 million in property taxes for local schools, and they say it's having a ripple effect in the business community.
Pete's Market recently opened, and so has a Sam's Club warehouse, village officials said.
"I see nothing but good coming from Amazon being here because others want to be close to it too. I see the growth already happening," said Sheila Chalmers-Currin, Matteson village president.
"We have others that want to be a part of what we do here and it's not only going to help the Village of Matteson, but the Southland as a whole," she said.
Right now, Amazon's Matteson employees are learning to stock the entire facility with products. During the next two weeks, the outbound operation, or deliveries headed out the door, will be the focus.
Heyward, the general manager, says the first customer order leaving Matteson's facility will happen November 4.
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