Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the giant of the e-commerce business had to react quickly to readapt their business model and their supply chain. I decided to focus on two logistics issue before concluding and broadening the topic with two examples of other issues/decisions faced and made by Amazon during this crisis.
FIRST ISSUE: HOW TO DEAL WITH THE HUGE INCREASE IN DEMAND FROM THEIR CONSUMERS?
First, the Amazon company have seen a huge increase in orders from consumers all around countries currently in quarantine. Whether it is essential products such as medical supplies or random objects to pass the time during the lockdown (ex: boardgames), the company had to quickly react as their response time would highly increase.
Due to a high demand of the sanitary-related products, they made the choice to prioritize them in terms of shipments and deliveries in the United States. (Source: Business Insider) Thus, the company had to reorganize their operations and distribution processes to be able to cope with the higher demand, and prioritize the shipment of the most necessary supplies to their customers.
SECOND ISSUE: HOW TO KEEP THE BUSINESS RUNNING IF THE EMPLOYEES ARE WORKING IN A DANGEROUS ENVIRONMENT?
A few days ago, Amazon announced that the first coronavirus case has been detected within one of its warehouse in the United States. (Source: The Atlantic) Thus, the ethical question of “should we keep the business running or should we focus on the safety of our employees ?” has been risen by the managers of the company.
In France, Amazon warehouse’s employees began a strike as they were feeling unsafe to continue working in this situation and context. As some employees dropped out of work, Amazon already started contacting temporary workers to make sure they would have enough employees to make the company run during the crisis. In response to the strike, the company answered by offering a rise in the employees’ salary. (Source: Reuters)
To conclude, Amazon is in the center of many dilemmas right now. The challenges faced by the crisis are threatening multinational businesses. I am personally very curious to see how Amazon will continue to react during the next few weeks.
It will also important to remind that the company also had to deal with non-logistics issues such as a high rise in the price of their medical supplies (due to the law of supply and demand). The company reacted quickly by asking their consumers to report any fraud that they were finding on their website. (Source: Engadget)
A second example could be their financial situation which positively increased compared to other businesses.
Jeff Bezos, the CEO of the company even offered his help to the White House of the United States. (Source: Fox Business)
One thing is sure, Amazon (and of course, most of the other companies around the world) had to prove their capacity of adaption in terms of logistics, supply chain and distribution network but also in other domains in a very short amount of time, and will probably continue to do so in the next few weeks.