Amazon beefs up supply chain ahead of 2021 holidays
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

Supply chain worries have been at the top of consumers’ minds for months, as viral videos and price hikes have spurred many folks to start their holiday shopping earlier than ever before. But as many consumers rush to cross the big items off their wish list well ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Amazon is assuring their customers that they’re ready for the shopping surge, regardless of what the headlines may have shoppers thinking.

In a blog post, Amazon’s Senior Vice President of Global Delivery Services, John Felton, outlined the company’s latest strategy for ensuring the second holiday season of the Covid-19 era isn’t plagued by shipping delays or price gouging.

“At Amazon, preparation for the holiday season begins on January 1,” Felton’s blog reads. “From that moment on, our teams work hard to meet our customers’ needs for the holidays ahead. We’ve hired even more people and invested in technology to help us better predict what products our customers will want—and where and when they’ll want to receive them.”

Among these new technologies are tools that are designed to better forecast the products that will be in greatest demand during the holidays. By monitoring buying channels across Amazon’s portfolio—ie. across both online and physical storefronts—and establishing active lines of communication with vendors and selling partners, Amazon is hoping to more quickly get products to fulfillment locations closest to potential customers.

The company has also simply bought more physical capacity to handle fulfillment and delivery in the face of larger global shortages. This is witnessed both in the recent expansion of Amazon Air’s cargo fleet, which will have 85 aircraft in flight this holiday season, as well as a reorganized global logistics network that has doubled Amazon’s container processing capacity, according to the company.

At the heart of Amazon’s ability to deliver this holiday season is the more than 800 delivery stations the company has established globally over the past decade. With tens of thousands of people working out of these locations (including hundreds of seasonal workers this year), this fulfillment network is simply unparalleled in the retail space, giving Amazon a huge advantage in meeting their delivery targets.

For instance, while many folks may be stressing about delivery delays of weeks and months, last-minute Amazon shoppers have access to millions of items available with Same-Day Delivery, with orders arriving in as fast as five hours from click to doorstep in 15 metro areas.

But underpinning this web of fulfillment centers, retail stores, warehouses and even data centers where product and supply info is stored is a complicated enterprise network, which has to actively and passively be monitored and maintained to ensure Amazon doesn’t falter in meeting their holiday delivery promises.

Synchronicity between all of these stakeholders is essential, as one kink or “dark spot” in the virtual supply chain could have major repercussions. If Amazon isn’t able to accurately share demand estimates and sales figures with the vendors and teams keeping the virtual and physical shelves stocked, for instance, it could result in a big hit to the company’s otherwise strong customer service bona fides.


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Filed Under: Performance Monitoring, Industry Insights

Tags: cyber monday , black friday , performance monitoring , network management , network monitoring , network performance monitoring , enterprise network , retail network , fulfillment , supply chain , online shopping , online retail , ecommerce , retail , holiday shopping , shopping , amazon