Amazon’s new blue crew: Tech giant enlists entrepreneurs to own the ‘last mile,’ delivering packages in Prime vans and uniforms
Amazon is expanding further into package delivery and promising to support a new wave of small business owners with the launch of a program that helps entrepreneurs start and run their own companies — delivering items purchased on Amazon.com in distinctive blue Prime-branded shirts and vans.*Livery—
It’s “the next big building block of our end-to-end supply chain,” said Dave Clark, the Amazon executive who oversees the worldwide delivery logistics infrastructure for the e-commerce giant, in an interview with GeekWire, after a preview of the service for reporters in Seattle on Wednesday.
Amazon is announcing the new “Delivery Service Partners” program tonight. It’s the company’s latest move to build its own alternative to (if not yet a replacement for) UPS, FedEx, the U.S. Postal Service and other traditional shipping companies and postal services.
From Prime-branded planes to smiling blue delivery trucks, the Seattle tech giant is increasingly handling the shipping and delivery of items purchased on its site.
The announcement comes a few months after Amazon’s economic impact on the USPS was publicly questioned by President Donald Trump in a series of widely discussed tweets.
The new program lets anyone run their own package delivery fleet of up to 40 vehicles with up to 100 employees. Amazon works with the entrepreneurs — referred to as “Delivery Service Partners” — and pays them to deliver packages while providing discounts on vehicles, uniforms, fuel, insurance, and more. They operate their own businesses and hire their own employees, though Amazon requires them to offer healthcare, paid time off, and competitive wages. Amazon said entrepreneurs can get started with as low as $10,000 and earn up to $300,000 annually in profit.
Amazon is increasingly relying on its own logistics infrastructure as shipping costs continue to spike with growing demand, particularly from Prime members who pay $119 per year for free 2-day shipping and access to Amazon’s 2-hour Prime Now delivery service. It now has 7,000 truck trailers and 40 jumbo jets that shuttle packages to and from 125 fulfillment centers across the world.
In the past, Amazon relied on third-party providers for costly “last mile” deliveries — those from the warehouse to the customer. But now it is experimenting with new delivery methods. In 2015, the company launched a program called Amazon Flex, the company’s Uber-like platform that lets everyday people packages with their own cars. One year later it started experimenting with its own delivery operation. Amazon also last year reportedly tested a service called “Seller Flex” in the U.S. that consists of the company picking up packages sold on its site directly from third-party warehouses.
Clark, a 19-year Amazon veteran who oversees worldwide delivery logistics infrastructure, said the new “Delivery Service Partners” program is not so much an evolution of Amazon Flex — which will continue to exist — but more of an addition to the company’s overall delivery network....MUCH MORE
n. The costume or insignia worn by the retainers of a feudal lord.
n. A distinctive uniform worn by the male servants of a household.