Amazon’s Crazy Distribution Process

Amazon are at the centre of almost everything now from pharmaceuticals to whole foods. However at the heart of everything Jeff Bezos and his company does is convenience for consumers. This is no exception for Amazons uncanny ability to get product from virtual shopping cart to your door. What I wanted to know how it was possible for Amazon to provide such excellent service from the moment you click “buy” to the product arriving.

Image for post
Image for post

Fulfilment Centers
Amazon stores its inventory and prepares orders for delivery in massive warehouses known as fulfilment centers. The company’s Phoenix fulfilment center, for example, employs 1,500 workers and occupies an unbelievable 1.2 million square feet. They are a picture of efficiency: A computer tracks each item as it’s delivered, unloaded onto a conveyor belt and shelved. When a customer places an order, employees known as pickers receive an alert telling them what to retrieve and where. They place the item in a bin, which, once filled, is sent on a conveyor belt to the packaging area. The items are then boxed and sent out for same-day delivery.

Image for post
Image for post

Same Day Delivery
Amazon’s recent efforts at expanding its distribution center network have mostly been geared toward entering new metropolitan areas to be able to offer same-day shipping. Allowing people in cities and metropolitan areas to avail to same day delivery and a multitude of products. Same-day delivery is the “holy grail” of Internet retail — and for good reason. If Amazon can figure out how to offer a huge selection and ship orders anywhere in a matter of hours at a low cost, they could very well put brick-and-mortar stores out of business. It is likely at the moment they are making a loss on same day delivery but that won’t concern Amazon due to the amount of potential customers they can attract.

Image for post
Image for post

Delivery Driver System
Although Amazon has been criticized heavily in the past for their working conditions within their factories. Their ability to offer flexible work to delivery drivers allow for fast delivery which bypasses such restrictions that many postal services and couriers face (i.e Public Holidays, Post on Sundays, etc). Amazon Flex offers anyone the opportunity to become a delivery driver on behalf of Amazon. Giving you the freedom to pick your own hours whilst making good money at the same time. It’s a win win for all parties and allows Amazon to have delivery drivers without officially having them as an employee. Much like Uber.

Image for post
Image for post

Control
Amazons purchase of the Ring Doorbell back in February 2018 is further evidence of how Amazon plans to control every aspect of delivering from A to B. Ring allows you watch your home in 1080HD video, see, hear and speak to visitors from anywhere. Through instant mobile alerts and two-way talk, you can answer the door from your smartphone, tablet and PC. Their distribution network is enhanced by Technology at every point of contact from their fulfilment centres to the delivery. Consumers can instantly check on their parcel delivery in-app. To be able to consistently keep their customers informed is something no other company has been able to replicate to this quality.

Image for post
Image for post

The future for Amazon
What’s even more exciting is looking toward the future of distribution. Amazon are investing heavily in to the development of their highly anticipated drone delivery system, Prime Air. Amazon Prime Air is a future delivery system that will get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using small unmanned aerial vehicles. Amazon states Prime Air are “developing a system that is safe, environmentally sound and enhances the services we already provide to millions of customers.”

So when will we be able to seen them?

The drones themselves are technically capable of deliveries. It is the large scale implementation of unmanned aerial vehicles that needs to be approved. The legalities and safety behind all this is the bigger stepping stone as opposed to the technology. Gur Kimchi, vice president of Amazon’s drone delivery organization Prime Air said he was hopeful that approvals would be in place by 2019.

Amazon, Google, Boeing and GE recently announced that they are working on developing a private Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system with the aim of safely integrating unmanned aerial vehicles into the national airspace.

Image for post
Image for post

In conclusion Amazons trust in the e-commerce market has brought the company plenty of success. With the multiple delivery options, trust and efficiency, Amazon can continue with its e-commerce and change the industry as a whole. It will be interesting to see what direction Amazon take their premium delivery service.

Software Developer, YouTuber and all round technology fanatic. Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EdwardMuldrew

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store