It’s a makeup lover’s dream inside Sephora’s new distribution center in North Las Vegas, where rows and rows of products from brands such as Fenty Beauty, Urban Decay and GlamGlow are packed and shipped to customers.
The roughly 715,000-square-foot center, tucked behind Amazon’s 800,000-square-foot warehouse near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, is the beauty retailer’s fifth distribution center and the first facility to house all of its automation technology.
Among the machinery inside the massive warehouse can be found an automated box maker — handy for a center now filling 10,000 online orders a day, a machine quickly stamping shipping labels on boxes and a long row of put wall systems, sorting stations that light up to indicate which plastic bin an item should be placed inside to fulfill a customer’s order.
“This put wall light technology allows us to have a high order capacity,” said Ryan Hitsman, Sephora senior manager of human resources, said. “If you think about this year’s promotional period, we’re going to be turning out two-thirds of this building’s capacity and we just opened.”
The warehouse has the capability to finish just over 90,000 orders each day, but it’s not hitting those levels yet because it’s still settling into the facility and hiring employees, Hitsman said.
When the distribution center does operate at full capacity, it will fulfill about 25 percent of Sephora’s online business in the U.S. A portion of the warehouse, now taped off, will store and supply product for its West Coast retail shops, he said.
But before it can ramp up, the plan is to eventually double the distribution center’s workforce of 200 to 400 full-time employees. During Sephora’s sale and holiday season, it will hire an additional 400 seasonal workers.
“Eventually, when this building is at full scale, (with) full-time and seasonal employees, we will have almost 1,000 people in this building,” he said.
A key component of its hiring effort is to ensure 30 percent of its full-time staff are individuals with disabilities. To reach that goal, Hitsman said, Sephora partnered with nonprofit Easterseals Nevada and Nevada Vocational Rehabilitation in May, when the warehouse opened.
“This is one of the largest hiring initiatives to hire individuals with disabilities in the state of Nevada,” he said.
Applicants are found by Nevada Vocational Rehabilitation, a division of the Division of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, and Easterseals, which has an office within Sephora’s warehouse, helps with training and any associated administrative work. After an applicant successfully completes an eight-week on the job training program, the person is hired as a full-time employee.
The inaugural group completed the program Friday afternoon, and the seven new employees received certificates and a pizza party before heading back to work to finish their shifts.
Hitsman said Sephora chose North Las Vegas because of its favorable operating environment for companies and its “robust talent pool.”
The idea was to open a warehouse to better serve its West Coast customers and cut down on shipping times.
“We’ve been blown away by the talent in this market of high-quality applicants,” he said. “Once they get in the building and get trained and get used to their jobs — the performance and efficiencies of our employees has blown us away.”