PHOTOS: How holiday gifts get shipped to your doorstep

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At Ingram Micro’s Mira Loma facility, it’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas.

Holiday gifts clatter along five miles worth of conveyer belts, with eight items shipped per second. In a week, that’s nearly 4 million orders.

“As we are going through Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, that is our largest ship volume for the year,” said Mike Abrams, executive director of operations for Ingram Micro Logistics. “We need all hands on deck throughout that time frame.”

The Santa Ana-based business works with the nation’s tech manufacturers to store and ship items to retailers worldwide. Ingram Micro also sends goods like toys and electronics directly to consumers, if they order items on the websites of Ingram Micro’s retailers.

The company declined to name the retailers it works with, but said it is the world’s largest wholesale technology distributor.

Ingram Micro is growing. Last fiscal year, sales increased 5 percent to $36.3 billion. CEO Alain Monie said one advantage of Ingram Micro is the scale of its operations. The Mira Loma facility is just one of many Ingram Micro centers around the world.

“When a manufacturer comes with a product to us, we can immediately put their products on the market worldwide,” Monie said. “We serve over 130 countries in the world with their products, immediately.”

In October, the company acquired Indianapolis-based BrightPoint Inc. in a $840 million deal. BrightPoint distributes telecommunications devices and Monie said it would strengthen Ingram Micro’s business in tablets and cell phones.

Ingram Micro was founded in 1979 and since then, technology and the company have evolved.

Today, technology can track the entire packing and shipping process from start to finish. For example, a customer orders a laptop online from one of Ingram Micro’s retailers. Then, workers pick out the laptop out of 70,000 items at the company’s Mira Loma campus. They scan it to determine if it’s the same one on the order. Then, the laptop is placed in a bin that goes on the conveyer belt. Later, the laptop is packed in a box. That box gets a label and is put on a truck and shipped off to its destination.

It’s a busy time at the company and Abrams, executive director of operations for Ingram Micro Logistics worked on Thanksgiving to oversee the operations at the Mira Loma facility. He’s passionate about the logistics business and followed his grandfather and uncle into the industry.

“You know at the end of each carton, whether you’re shipping a pallet…whether you’re shipping an envelope, there is a unique customer experience at every one of those delivery points,” Abrams said. “Being a part of that is actually pretty rewarding.” 

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