Amazon Fights to be the everything store During the coronavirus crisis

To meet surging demand, the company makes big changes to its operations.

Amazon is used to huge spikes in demand: It ships countless packages after Prime Day and throughout the holiday season. However, the spread of this coronavirus, which has locked downtowns and put everyone in a more isolated fact, has analyzed the business’s ability to satisfy its clients’ needs like never before.

An Amazon associate processes a package for delivery at the newest Amazon Robotics fulfillment center during its first public tour on April 12, 2019 in the Lake Nona community of Orlando, Florida. The over 855,000 square foot facility opened on August 26, 2018 and employs more than 1500 full-time associates who pick, pack, and ship customer orders with the assistance of hundreds of robots which can lift as much as 750 pounds and drive 5 feet per second. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The stakes for the world’s biggest online retailer could not be greater, with its enormous logistics operations and hundreds of thousands of workers now turning into a vital resource for countless shoppers amid shop closures and social distancing. Amazon, which accounts for approximately 39 per cent of US e-commerce earnings and is currently a dominant player in retail, will become a central provider of food, medical supplies and household goods for several clients, potentially for weeks, as they avoid leaving their houses.

Amazon succeeds in Fulfilling Customer requests

If Amazon succeeds in fulfilling more customer requests throughout the crisis, it may emerge as an even more dominant force than it had been before.

However, the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak has not been easy for the business, with toilet paper and medical supplies going from inventory, deliveries slowing down, Amazon Fresh grocery dispatch windows becoming infrequent, and Amazon needing to fight price gouging and counterfeits for much-needed products such as hand sanitizer and masks. Over the weekend, the provider’s delivery system for Prime Now, Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods providers suffered a substantial glitch that forced some customer requests to be postponed or cancelled.

Warehouse workers

Warehouse workers and their assistants have also started raising concerns about working conditions in fulfilment centres, with fears that an outbreak in a warehouse could sicken many workers and potentially weaken surgeries.

Amazon’s leaders are attempting to show they are up to the monumental undertaking, and the firm moved quickly this week to make enormous adjustments to respond to the surge in demand.

Looking to allay customers’ concerns that their items will not be delivered, the company on Monday announced plans to employ 100,000 more part-time and full-time US hourly workers to staff warehouses and conduct delivery routes. It followed that statement with plans on Tuesday to prioritize imports to its warehouses of medical supplies and household staples and stop all other new shipments from coming in.

“We can more quickly get, restock and send these products to clients,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement about its new strategies.

Warehouse Worker’s Health

Regarding worker health in warehouses, the company said Monday it is consulting with medical and wellness professionals and incorporating preventative measures like improved cleaning to make sure workers are secure.

Victor Rosenman, CEO of Feedvisor, a software provider for independent Amazon retailers, said he believes the worst of the distribution chain bottleneck is occurring at the moment, as leading manufacturers in China are only beginning to come back online after that nation’s coronavirus lockdowns, and US and European clients have bombarded electronic and physical shops for pantry items.

“It will slowly return to normal, I do not think it is a permanent issue,” said Rosenman, who’s based in New York. “And people will relax because right now people are beginning to panic.”

James Thomson, a former Amazon executive who is now a consultant for brands and producers selling on Amazon, said Amazon’s latest moves to improve staffing and concentrate its incoming supplies will help place it in the ideal position to fulfil the higher demand.

He added that Amazon does not do this work alone, probably leaning more heavily on its partner’s UPS and the US Postal Service to make deliveries. In addition to that, delays will be inevitable, he said, since — unlike during the holidays — Amazon has been forced to develop this strategy with hardly any warning.

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