Interview: Prashant Saran, director of operations at Amazon MENA
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Interview: Prashant Saran, director of operations at Amazon MENA

Interview: Prashant Saran, director of operations at Amazon MENA

How Amazon is aiming to better serve customers through faster and more efficient delivery

Divsha Bhat

How is Amazon utilising technology and implementing multi-level innovation strategies to enhance customer experience?

When it comes to technology, Amazon is known for relentlessly innovating on behalf of our customers in order to ensure a fast, convenient and reliable shopping experience. While a lot of the technology in our fulfillment centres (FC) is invisible, technology remains the backbone of our operations.

We use machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to define where products are and how they should most efficiently move from point A to point B. Complex algorithms map the route of a package in the most efficient way possible – from the time it enters the FC to the time it arrives at a customer’s doorstep.

One of the things that makes Amazon fulfillment centres smart and transformative is the way we organise our inventory. All inventory at the centre is stowed randomly. While the randomness may seem chaotic to an outsider, our systems know where every item is located and optimise the picking order to make the process as efficient as possible. Sophisticated algorithms are used to provide employees with the best possible pick path, which is optimised to reduce walking in the building.

Technology also powers the pack process. When an employee scans an item, the computer tells the employee what box size is most optimal for that particular product’s size and weight. At our SLAM (scan, label, apply and manifest) line process, the technology scans the box and immediately knows to print the correct shipping label on the box. There are quality control measures in place; the box is weighed at this point and our system knows exactly what the item should weigh.

We also leverage technology to maximise efficiency on the road, provide guidance to drivers on delivery routes and reduce delivery times by placing delivery stations and other pick up points close to large Amazon customer populations. This allows us to deliver orders faster and with ever-increasing reliability.

How does the new facility’s storage capacity improve customer experience?

We are constantly inventing on behalf of customers to meet their desire for lower prices, better selection and convenient services. Our fulfillment network plays an integral role in supporting consumer demand especially during peak customer occasions such as Ramadan. The centre has a storage capacity of 2.1 million cubic feet.

We have also been improving operational preparedness to ensure a smooth and seamless experience for customers across the country. The centre will be equipped with Amazon’s latest innovations to ensure speed, safety and reliability with every order.

We are also expanding our ‘unattended delivery’ option for customers. Unattended delivery enables customers to get their deliveries securely to a preferred location such as a front door, security desk, reception, with notification features such as photo on delivery. This service further enhances our flexible delivery options for busy UAE customers.

Recently it was announced that Amazon will sell 100,000 products from SMEs by 2026. How will this facilitate the growth of entrepreneurship throughout the country?

Last month, we announced our pledge to display products of 100,000 small and medium UAE enterprises on by 2026. This commitment is in support of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to make Dubai one of the world’s top ten digital economies.

Our fulfillment by Amazon model, allows entrepreneurs and independent sellers to leverage our network and technology, enabling them to reach their customers online. Most products sold on our website come from thousands of sellers, many of which are small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
In fact, many SMBs ventured into e-commerce for the first time using our convenient process to start selling online, access to listing tools, safe payment processing, promotional features and customer service.

As we grow our network, infrastructure and service offerings, we believe we are accelerating entrepreneurship in the country by providing sellers with more storage capacity to store a wider selection of products for their customers, supporting them through more delivery options to enhance customer experience, and providing them with wider reach to expand their businesses to new markets.

How does Amazon use AI and ML to personalise the shopping experience of its customers?

We are constantly inventing on behalf of customers to meet their desire for lower prices, better selection, and convenient services. We use technology to enable us to enhance the customer experience. Putting the customer first, we ask ourselves what might delight them, and then work backwards to figure out how to innovate on their behalf.

Read: Amazon opens a new fulfillment centre in Dubai South

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