Every time we shop online, we simply click and wait for the product to reach our doorstep a few days later. Did you know that ensuring speedy, seamless and timely product delivery involves a highly structured and organised back-end process? Gulf Business recently visited Amazon’s largest delivery station in Abu Dhabi to get the rundown on this operation. Based in Abu Dhabi and spread over an area of 4,700 square metres, this newly opened delivery station, Amazon’s second largest in the UAE, provides same-day and next-day deliveries to customers across the country.
The last mile:
There are many teams who are involved in the backend process at Amazon’s facility, from receiving the products in the warehouse to sorting, packing and shipping them. They ensure operations run smoothly, particularly with so many variables in place, says Lee Shepherd, director – Amazon Logistics, MENA Operations. He adds that this process is constantly fine-tuned for enhanced efficiency. “We receive thousands of packages here every day, and have a five-way process in place to ensure packages are shipped to their final destination seamlessly,” states Shepherd.
Every step counts:
“When a customer places an online order, the system goes into action. We receive thousands of packages here every day. There is a five-way process till the packages are shipped to its final destination,” states Lee.
It all starts at the…
Induct area: When packages arrive at this delivery station, associates work in symphony with the backend technology to sort packages by the delivery route. At the intake area, the associates scan each package, so that the computer can print out a label with the routing information. In addition to providing the ‘route’ code, the technology also identifies the sequence of delivery for the package.
Sorting area: Once the packages have been assigned a delivery route, they are sorted into racks or bins. Each rack or bin represents a delivery route, making it easy for the associates and delivery drivers to batch deliveries together.
Loading area: Packages are scanned and loaded into a delivery vehicle in this area. Delivery drivers use a special app on their phones to scan all the packages on a designated rack or bin, as they load the packages into their vehicle. This also alerts the backend systems that the package is now officially out for delivery.
Ship and deliver: Remember the label that was printed and attached to the package at the beginning of the sorting process? The same label also includes the stop number on the delivery route – it helps drivers determine the order in which to load packages into their vehicle. Once loaded in the most optimised order, the driver has access to packages in the order of delivery. Customers can also easily track their orders through the app or through email or SMS, which alerts them when a driver is about to reach their location. “Customers expect transparency, accuracy, speed, convenience and a lot of this depends on the last mile,” states Lee.
Tracking Amazon’a growth in the UAE
In the past few years, Amazon Middle East has expanded its footprint in the region to meet customer demand. In the UAE, the Amazon network across the region comprises two fulfillment centres, three sort centres, eight delivery stations, and a network of delivery service partners
Growth in the UAE: Lee Shepherd, director Amazon Logistics, MENA Operations says, “Since the launch of amazon.ae in 2019, we have been expanding our footprint to better service locations across the UAE with speed, convenience and reliability.In 2021 alone, our investments included an increase in our delivery network floor area by 70 per cent, to speed up customer deliveries and enable sellers to reach more customers faster. We also increased the capacity of our delivery stations by 60 per cent to store millions of products for sellers and provide customers with a wider selection of products.”
Supporting the economy: Services like same-day and one-day delivery, through Amazon Prime, are now achievable for small businesses.“Local delivery companies deliver thousands of packages on our behalf every day, supporting indirect job creation and knowledge sharing. Many small and medium-sized businesses have ventured into e-commerce for the first time, using our simple and convenient process to start selling online, complemented by access-to-listing tools, safe payment processing, promotional features and customer service,” concludes Shepherd.