Amazon has opened the doors of ten fulfilment centres across the UK for up to 1,000 business and organisations of all sizes and sectors to see the practical reality of working safely and effectively throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

“Local businesses need a roadmap out of COVID-19 and for me, Amazon has shown how it can be done,” said Dawn Edwards, President of the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce.

External businesses social distancing on a fulfilment centre tour, they are wearing face masks and yellow hi-vis jackets.
British Chambers of Commerce members on a tour of the Amazon fulfilment centre in Manchester.

Amazon’s UK Operations team has made more than 150 significant process changes to ensure the health and safety of team members – from enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures to the distribution of personal protective equipment. Chamber guests have received practical advice on how to operate safely as restrictions ease and apply learnings to their own actions for reopening their workplaces.

Companies of all sizes have toured fulfilment centres alongside organisations as diverse and large-scale as local authorities and universities. One business owner who went on a tour is Catalina Sastre, owner of Party and Play Fun House, a children’s play centre based in Bolton.

“I found out about the fulfilment centre tours through the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and I wanted to see how Amazon had taken guidelines and implemented them in a work setting,” said Catalina.

“The tour allowed me to look at Amazon’s processes and see how those processes could be adapted for when we open to the public. The tour gave me the confidence and the reassurance that these ideas are best practice, for us as an organisation, to go that extra mile to give people a sense of security.”

Jeff Counsell, Managing Director of trentbarton, a bus operator based in the Midlands, said: “I was keen to see how an organisation that employed so many people had put safety and precautionary measures in place to protect their staff.

““I was impressed to see the level of compliance in terms of wearing face masks and I was really impressed to see the utilisation of all available space for people during breaks.””
Jeff Counsell, Managing Director of trentbarton

Tours ran in conjunction with the Chambers of Commerce in Greater Birmingham, Greater Manchester, Essex, Doncaster, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, East Midlands, South Wales and Business West.

BCC Director General Dr Adam Marshall said: “Businesses will be taking a safe, risk-based approach to returning to work, in close consultation with their staff. But for many this will be an entirely new way of working.

“Firms of every size and sector from across the UK have appreciated the chance to see the practical reality of working within existing guidelines first-hand at Amazon and apply this learning to their own operations as they begin to reopen.”

British Chambers of Commerce members on a tour of the Amazon fulfilment centre in Bristol, they are social distancing and wearing protective face masks and yellow hi-vis jackets in a fulfilment centre.
British Chambers of Commerce members on a tour of the Amazon fulfilment centre in Bristol.

Amazon UK Operations Regional Director Stuart Morgan said: “Whether it’s fulfilling orders in one of our fulfilment centres, delivering an order to a customer’s doorstep, or one of the many roles in between, we couldn’t be more proud of the critical role our teams are serving by enabling people to stay safe at home while receiving the products they need.

“Nothing is more important to us than making sure that we protect the health of our teams, and we’ve been working around the clock since the early days of the outbreak to make changes to our processes and procure the necessary supplies for this. We’re delighted to share that experience with fellow Chamber members around the country and help restart British business.”

In conjunction with Enterprise Nation, Amazon has also launched the Amazon Small Business Accelerator – a support package for more than 200,000 small businesses across the UK. The programme features extensive training and support for small businesses of every size and stage, as well as a week-long bootcamp to provide additional, tailored personal training and expertise for up to 1,000 small business to help them trade online.

Visit the Amazon Small Business Accelerator for more information and to sign up for free today.