PHOTOS: How holiday gifts get shipped to your doorstep

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

An overview of Ingram Micro's pick module area at their Advanced Logistics Center in Mira Loma, Calif., Tuesday, November 20, 2012.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Gustavo Vega, shipping associate, moves a box to the lower level of the company's pick module area in their Advanced Logistics Center in Mira Loma, Calif., Tuesday, November 20, 2012.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

An employee inputs information into a computer that helps track packages on the lower level of the company's pick module area in Ingram Micro's Advanced Logistics Center in Mira Loma, Calif., Tuesday, November 20, 2012.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

An employee walks through the quality assurance and billing area during lunch break at Ingram's Advanced Logistics Center in Mira Loma, Calif., Tuesday, November 20, 2012.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Boxes travel up to the quality assurance and billing area through the conveyor system at Ingram's Advanced Logistics Center in Mira Loma, Calif., Tuesday, November 20, 2012.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

A flood of boxes wait to be packaged and shipped inside the shipping area at Ingram's Advanced Logistics Center in Mira Loma, Calif., Tuesday, November 20, 2012.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Two employees drive past each other inside the company's shipping area at their Advanced Logistics Center in Mira Loma, Calif., Tuesday, November 20, 2012. A constant, gentle, hum of engines running and carts honking can be heard as Ingram employees work to send packages out.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Misael Ayala moves packed boxes onto a shipping container in the shipping area of Ingram's Advanced Logistics Center in Mira Loma, Calif., Tuesday, November 20, 2012.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Alain Monie, Ingram Micro CEO, sits in his office at the company's corporate offices in Santa Ana, Calif., Monday, November 19, 2012. The CEO of the world's largest wholesale technology distributor decorates his office with models of various projects he has worked on in his past including airplanes.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Ingram Micro corporate offices in Santa Ana, Calif., Monday, November 19, 2012. The world's largest wholesale technology distributor is also a leading IT supplier.


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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