Amazon’s business mission is all about the customer experience. In order to maintain that customer experience. Amazon is an “American multinational technology company based in Seattle that focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence,” according to Googles definition. Due to it being an extremely popular company, high standards must be set. These standards have a great impact on the operations of the company. The operations of the company depend solely on the workers ability to fulfill the product.
Jeff Bezos started the company in 1994 with an initial investment from his parents of a quarter of a million dollars. The main focus of the business model was e-commerce. The costumer would go to the website, purchase books, and the amazon workers would pick, pack, and ship the books in a timely matter to the customer. As the dot com business grew in leaps and bounds, Amazon needed to hire more workers to fulfill the orders. This expansion helped establish standard operating procedures that require each worker to complete certain tasks in the shortest amount of time. They borrowed the principle of “Canban” (lean manufacturing and just in time inventory). The concept was simple, low costs, low inventory, fast shipping. As the customer grew happy, word spread about Amazon, and the business itself, began to expand. The Amazon workforce became extremely efficient and set a high standard for new employees. Amazon profit put the company before the workforce. The Amazon employees were overworked, underpaid, and extremely exhausted by the end of their shift. This business psychology started to wear on the Amazon workforce.
Solidarity amongst the workers raised the main concern, “we are humans, not robots.”(Time.com) This created an outburst with all global Amazon workers. They took action by starting a labor union. The focus was low wages for mental and physical exhaustion. The only answer was to allow a union to govern the workers and speak to management. Working conditions were horrific, there was absolutely no support for the employees. “The average picker was required to pick one item every seven seconds.”(The Guardian) Employee turnover rate was extremely night, people just quit, they couldn’t handle the physical and mental abuse. Senator Bernie Sanders called for investigation into Amazon’s labor abuses, says truth.com.
Amazon is strongly opposed to the idea of a workers union. Therefore, instead has created a retraining policy to help their current employees move onto better jobs. Programs will help workers “access training to move into highly skilled technical and non- technical roles across the company’s corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, retail stores, and transportation network, or pursue career paths outside of Amazon,” says CNBC. Due to the low unemployment rate, Amazon has been challenged with finding people who have the right qualifications and experience to do the job. Thus, more training to improve the work within the warehouses. The company itself feels as though the more “tech savvy” their employees are, the more the customers will appreciate the overall experience and be less stressful. The change is happening on the other side of Amazon’s biggest model, which is managed services. Amazon web service employs very technical workers to maintain cloud servers that help other businesses run. This echelon of workforce is not exposed to the same physical exhaustion that the warehouse workers endure. Amazons tech model is evolving into a very comfortable workplace. It’s promotes a holistic approach to a healthy work environment. Amazon is slowly morphing into a pleasant ecosystem.
The future for Amazon will evolve into artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics. Within this century, a warehouse will likely be fully automated. The robots will pick, pack, and ship as once did human employees, “According to their makers, the machines should take on the most mundane and physically strenuous tasks” says Los Angeles Times. This extreme adjustment is a double edged sword. The upside being that there will be no more poor treatment towards the workers, but at the same time, there will also be a significant shortage in jobs for people. This positive and negative impact is somewhat confusing to the economic status that will occur when this situation does take place. When the unemployment rate decreases and plummets even more, so will the economy, but will also be balanced out by the increase of production and mass quantities of products being distributed. But if there are people with small incomes and salaries, how will they afford to be a customer to Amazon. This is where a prediction for the projections seems impossible to conclude due to the fact that the change could end several ways.