Sunday, December 08, 2013

Inside Amazon, 60 minutes

This 60 Minutes video is a very interesting insight into Amazon's distribution centers etc, including some on the drone research project.
For me it's very telling how they are pushing every aspect of the business to get a better edge. For example they have computer algorythms to optimize how shelf space is used, and they now can stock twice as much in the same space as they could five years ago. This is not your father's mail order company, and it explains a lot.

Oddly, it seems 60 Minutes continue using Flash for their videos, so they can't be viewed on tablets. More than that, on my laptop it failed to play on Safari and on Firefox, only the newest version of Chrome played it. 

Update: If the video fails to play, TCGirl found it on YouTube. 


TC [Girl] said...

Actually, this is the 14-minute 60-minute interview w/Bezos that you couldn't see, the other day...from the [usual] Yahoo news source... Pretty fascinating dude, methinks... :-D

Ken said...

Something else I read is that generally profits for retailers are in the 2-4% range, so Amazon are aiming to get the costs down as far as possible. So employees are kept for doing things that are difficult for robots.

The uni at which I work has a similar system for story less used books. They are grouped into boxes, because the system won't cope with individual books. The system retrieves the box, a staff member removes the appropriate book, and that is transferred to a section of the library for collection. Eventually they will have a robot that can pick a book out of the box and then they won't need a person.

Because it is all computerised Amazon can apply all the operations research ideas. They would be simulating everything based on the previous orders to create an optimised system. It's great unless you want a minimum qualifications job.