How do you increase selection and lower cost for customers? If you’re Amazon, you spend a lot of time thinking about how to make the flow of goods from manufacturer to customer fast and efficient. And Amazon doesn’t just want to reach some people. It wants to reach every customer on earth.
In ecommerce, there’s the much-discussed challenge of “last mile” delivery – getting orders from a local hub to the customers’ front door as cost-effectively as possible.
But Amazon also thinks about cross border logistics – getting products from manufacturers to “close to the customer,” and that’s where its Global Mile organization comes into play, part of its plan to reach every customer on earth.
“Every supplier. Every location. Every customer on Earth.
“Eliminating borders for buyers and sellers, Global Mile facilitates Amazon’s expansion into a rapidly growing list of countries, creating new logistical benchmarks and “firsts” through innovation. The multicultural, multilingual team works with merchants, sellers, providers, governments and trade officials from the busiest to the most remote locations around the world, applying a global perspective with a local approach.”
Amazon doesn’t just rely on other entities – it builds its own solutions, partnering where it makes sense, as this description from a job posting for a “Business Intelligence Engineer in Global Logistics space” describes:
“Here in Global Mile, we drive Amazon’s strategic vision to bring worldwide cross-border product selection and availability at the lowest price to our customers, and help sellers and vendors (manufacturers, distributors and brand owners) navigate international trade and logistics.
“We design and build cross border transportation products and programs with a focus on customer, seller, and vendor experience, at global scale.
“As a result, Global Mile works directly with logistics cross-border carriers and partners with several stakeholder teams to constantly improve the international delivery experience.”
And the job posting reveals that, as with everything it does, Amazon uses technology: “To support Global Mile’s mission and strategy, we need world class business intelligence and strategic insights that leverage data science”; and it measures everything to ensure efficiency: “Collaborate with stakeholders to design and develop high quality KPI/ metric dashboards that effectively track and analyze evolving business initiatives.”
Retail analyst Anne D’Innocenzio tweeted about chainstore Kohl’s recent financial briefing with analysts, noting that Kohl’s is using a number of strategies to “deal with the logjams at ports.”
Holiday shopping season focuses on getting products delivered to customers in time, but first you must have possession of the product, and that’s been something Amazon has been working on for a long time.
Amazon doesn’t make a secret of the challenge it’s trying to solve and how it’s going about it. Founder Jeff Bezos raised eyebrows in 2013 during a 60 Minutes TV interview when he revealed his “futuristic plan” for drone delivery (it doesn’t seem so “futuristic” now), and the company outlined its vision in a video in 2016:
“Driverless cars, drone deliveries, machine learning and robotics. It seems like science fiction is quickly becoming reality. But what if you could be part of bringing all of these technologies together to make the world a better place? That’s our mission at Amazon Global Logistics.”
Amazon states it is “building a global network that improves speed, reduces costs, and brings selection closer to Customers” – and when Amazon says customers, it means every customer on earth.