Amazon’s 3 logistics solutions

Amazon invested over three million euro in deliveries during the third quarter of 2017 alone. Besides, it shipped over five million packages over the course of 2017. These considerable volumes must be considered in the light of the number of employees at its warehouses. Indeed, in France, the e-commerce giant has a staff of nearly 7,500 team at its facilities.

Maximizing storage space

Paris is the second largest city in Europe in terms of the volume of online orders placed. This is the reason why Amazon has rolled out such an extensive organization within France, with eight warehouses located on French territory. Its depot in Brétigny-sur-Orge in the departement of Essonne covers an area of 142,000 square meters. That means Amazon’s total available storage area amounts to nearly 500,000 square meters.

In addition, Amazon recently opened a third local distribution center in the departement of Yvelines, covering the Greater Paris area. The aim is to optimize the company’s deliveries in the last mile, both in terms of cost and quality, in the following zones:

  • South Paris
  • Southern Suburbs
  • Southwestern Greater Paris Region

According to Christian Berté, director of Amazon Logistics France:

“Optimization of all logistical processes enables us to optimize our routes and our cost base.”

Investing in automation

Amazon is aware that robotic process automation is key to its productivity. It already demonstrated it by its recent investment in acquiring nearly a third of the shares in Balyo. This company’s main activity is robotized pallet trolleys. Amazon thus hopes to increase its profit by reducing the time allotted to the processing of goods in the warehouse.

The equation is simple. Amazon requires machines to be automated for:

  • Logistics support to ensure that packages can be traced via automated IT systems. Indeed, this process means that bulkier packages are automatically redirected, resulting in a smoother logistics process.
  • Operational support, i.e., the process of receiving, labeling and scanning products. This enables each package to be assigned a specific location in the warehouse. It will make the processing of the package easier to track and ensuring, once again, that it is traceable.
  • Logistics service providers: via an application to locate the various packages to be delivered by each service provider within the warehouse.

Prioritizing human involvement

Human abilities, and the human element of the supply chain are still the main battleground for the market leader in e-commerce; especially in terms of package distribution. At the Yvelines site, which covers 13,000 square meters, a well-orchestrated process is followed every single night.

  • Midnight: packages are delivered from Amazon’s warehousing centers
  • Midnight-5 a.m.: dispatch to each route
  • 7 a.m. – 10 a.m.: delivery by the service providers

 

Finally, the last word must go to the HR Director of Amazon’s French Logistics Department. Laëtitia de Montgolfier points out that, between 2015 and 2018, Amazon grew from 40,000 to 65,000 permanent employees in Europe. The use of robotic automation means that the company can focus on activities where its logistics and quality workers can add real value, meaning that robotics acts as an additional technology that benefits employees.

 

To read: Will delivery become e-commerce’s “added value”?