Amazon Set to Open New Distribution Center, Echo Sold Out

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Amazon plans to hire 1,000 employees for its new distribution center in Livonia, Michigan.  The center opens on Oct. 2017. Amazon bought the land from the trust handling former General Motors properties. All this was made possible by a $7.5 million grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund and $90 million from the online retailer. This is the first time the company will receive money from the fund. The money will help bolster the company’s current workforce in Michigan. This includes an audiobook operation and a sorting center.

Nevertheless, there is some concern that the company will have difficulty hiring workers.

“The low unemployment rate in Michigan has raised concern for the  company’s ability to hire the appropriate workforce,” Michigan Economic Development Corp. staff wrote in a memo to the Strategic Fund board members. “The funding will help the company with recruiting and ensure this project occurs in Michigan.”

The new employees shall receive myriad employment benefits. These benefits include “competitive wages and comprehensive benefits” according to a statement from the online retail giant. Benefits include the company’s Career Choice program. Amazon pre-pays 95 percent of tuition for coursework in fields unrelated to Amazon’s business. Over 7,000 employees took advantage of the program since its launch.

Furthermore, Illinois offers the new location several benefits as well.

“In just over two years, Illinois has proven itself to be an ideal location from which Amazon can continue offering customers our vast selection and superfast shipping speeds,” said Akash Chauhan, Amazon’s vice president of North American operations. “We’re excited to be growing and creating even more full-time jobs that offer comprehensive benefits on day one as well as generous maternity and parental leave benefits.”

In addition, it appears the company collaborated with the local community and state beforehand for some time.

“Intersect Illinois has worked closely with Amazon for months to grow and maximize Amazon’s footprint in Illinois,” said Intersect Illinois CEO Jim Schultz. “Team members like Frank Cho recognized early on that Illinois and Amazon could be tremendous partners and that hard work is paying off. Illinois can offer Amazon exactly what it needs. With a talented workforce; central location in the Unites States and the North American market; and a world-class transportation hub; Illinois is proving it has assets no other state can offer,” Schultz added.

Amazon Echo Unavailable

Furthermore, the company needs that additional distribution center for shipping during the holiday shopping season.  In related news, Amazon sold out of its Echo speakers right before the holidays. The $180 Echo remains unavailable until mid-January; Amazon will stock the cheaper $50 Echo Dot after Christmas Day.  Observers believe consumers may buy Google’s Home speaker, a competitor priced at $129, instead. Home possesses similar functionality compared to Echo. The danger for Amazon is that consumer interest will lag.  And analysts echoed similar sentiments regarding Amazon’s situation.

Rob Cheng, at a supply chain software company, said:”When there’s an alternative, at least in America, shoppers are more likely to switch to another brand.” Michal Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, Inc., offered praised for the Echo and explanation for its scarcity.   “They’re sold out because of demand, and demand is high because it’s a spectacular product.”

Source: Detroit News

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