Amazon’s logistics prowess comes from embracing chaos, not order.

What happened

  • While other retailers have attempted to compete with Amazon by building controlled processes for loading inventory into their warehouses, Amazon continues to lean into the chaos of running warehouses that serve all types of products and customers at record speeds. Whereas warehouses generally take a rigid approach to storing, packing and shipping, Amazon has continually optimized for flexibility.

Why it matters

  • Over the years, Amazon has planned its fulfillment centers with uncertainty in mind. The way the warehouses operate reflect potential future needs; they are designed to work for all types of products, independent of size and weight, and for record “click-to-ship” speeds. When you are building infrastructure that needs to work differently and on a larger scale than anything before it, rethinking existing processes is par for the course.
  • Combining its warehouses with new technologies, Amazon has been able to scale unlike any other. It decreased the “click-to-ship” time from about 60-75 minutes with its warehouse employees down to 15 minutes with the help of robots. As it continues to improve the way it fulfills ecommerce orders out of its warehouses, Amazon may be applying similar theories to the way it fulfills different types of orders, like the two-hour delivery service from Whole Foods that it launched in February for Prime members.