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How do Amazon packages get delivered so quickly?

When retailers like Amazon deliver on their speedy shipping promises, it’s good news for consumers. But it can compromise workplace safety.
Posted at 4:50 PM, Jan 26, 2023

Scroll, click and boom — before you know it your product is there. But how does Amazon deliver your packages so quickly? 

Professor Tinglong Dai teaches operations management at Johns Hopkins University and says a detailed logistics system helps ensure your last-minute birthday gift gets there on time.    

"So the way you achieve that is really to centralize the logistics and supply chain network," Dai said. 

The key to this operation? 

"To put it really simply, they really rely on a large network of fulfillment centers, where employees can pick and pack the product into boxes," Dai said. 

Amazon has more than 175 massive warehouses where they store products. Next an employee loads it on a truck and a driver takes it to an Amazon air site. It boards a plane and readies for take off. When it reaches its destination, it goes to a sorting center. 

At the sorting center, packages are divided by zip code then sent to a delivery station — or a partner like the U.S. Post Office. 

At a delivery station, the packages are sorted again by specific delivery routes — then go into a delivery vehicle. 

Finally, an Amazon delivery person drops the package on your doorstep. 

Thats a lot of steps — but Amazon’s fulfillment-center model allows it to execute deliveries quickly. It’s also invested heavily in its own transportation network — which boasts over 40,000 semi trucks, 30,000 delivery vans and more than 70 planes. 

And now it has an air hub in Kentucky, that founder Jeff Bezos broke ground on in 2019.  

Former Amazon executive Dave Clark told CNBC customers are now getting used to this rapid delivery.  

"Customers have come to expect consistent fast delivery of anything on Earth from Amazon, and our job is to make that happen," Clark said.

It’s set off a delivery speed war among retail giants — with Walmart and Target now also offering same-day delivery.  

According to a recent study, 60% of global consumers expect to get their product within two days, the next day or that very same day. 

When retailers like Amazon deliver on their fast-delivery promise — it’s good news for consumers. But it can compromise workplace safety. 

Workers have accused the retail giant of poor working conditions in its effort to speed up delivery times. Amazon says it prioritizes worker safety and has taken steps to invest in a safer workplace. 

It’s also aiming to automate more delivery including: rolling out drone deliveries in some markets. 

That means consumers may eventually seek same-hour delivery. 

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