Amazon Prime shipping containers stacked at the Port of Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)
Amazon has spent billions of dollars to expand its fulfillment capacity and develop its own package delivery network in recent years — seeking to avoid a repeat of the holiday shipping debacle of 2013, when bad weather delayed deliveries until after Christmas for some customers.
But now a new storm is here.
Labor shortages and supply-chain constraints have emerged as the big bottlenecks this holiday season for Amazon and others in the industry. Much as past holidays opened Amazon’s eyes to new realities, forcing it to adjust, this peak season will give the company its first real taste of what it will face in the years ahead.
“The overriding challenge for the next 10-20 years will be labor, and the only defense mechanism available is for companies to spend more money to compete for these resources,” said Marc Wulfraat, president of MWPVL International, a Montreal-based supply chain and logistics consulting company that tracks Amazon closely.
Amazon is far from alone in grappling with labor shortages, but it is unusual in its size, ambition and approach. The company has skyrocketed to nearly 1.5 million employees overall, largely due to growth in …read more
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