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Businesses Transportation The Internet Technology

Amazon Is Testing Its Own Delivery Service To Rival FedEx, UPS (bloomberg.com) 88

Longtime package delivery companies UPS and FedEx may have some new competition from Amazon. The company is experimenting with a new delivery service of its own intended to make more products available for free two-day delivery and relieve overcrowding in its warehouses. Bloomberg reports: The service began two years ago in India, and Amazon has been slowly marketing it to U.S. merchants in preparation for a national expansion, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the U.S. pilot project is confidential. Amazon is calling the project Seller Flex, one person said. The service began on a trial basis this year in West Coast states with a broader rollout planned in 2018, the people said. Amazon will oversee pickup of packages from warehouses of third-party merchants selling goods on Amazon.com and their delivery to customers' homes, the people said -- work that is now often handled by UPS and FedEx. Amazon could still use these couriers for delivery, but the company will decide how a package is sent instead of leaving it up to the seller. Handling more deliveries itself would give Amazon greater flexibility and control over the last mile to shoppers' doorsteps, let it save money through volume discounts, and help avoid congestion in its own warehouses by keeping merchandise in the outside sellers' own facilities.
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Amazon Is Testing Its Own Delivery Service To Rival FedEx, UPS

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    One massive company that does everything and sells everything anyone needs. Nobody else able to compete because of volume. It just wasn't able to happen up until this point, until the internet made it possible.
  • by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Thursday October 05, 2017 @09:33PM (#55319039)

    is to treat the packages they transport with a bit more respect than UPS or FedEX does.

    Many times I get a package delivered and it looks like they routed it through a war zone somewhere.
    All they need to do is get it to me intact and damage free and I'll happily use them instead.

    • Yeah, good luck with that.

      Amazon "hires" drivers to do deliveries in the same way Uber hires drivers. Their only concern is delivering their packages as quickly as possible.

    • They dont... I get all of my deliveries to my office. Fedex and UPS, come in and want a signature to confirm delivery. (A pain, but I actually like that.) Amazon Logistics... Drops and runs 90% of the time, they dont even bother to try and open the front door, they leave it outside on a busy street and mark it delivered. Thier delivery window is 8am to 8pm (and the 8am is flexible. I have had a package delivered at 7:30am and get the email from Amazon that it was going to be delivered today at 9am. I
    • by jeepies ( 3654153 ) on Thursday October 05, 2017 @11:38PM (#55319441)

      Amazon Logistics has been by far the worst carrier experience I have ever had. I mean bar none. Packages not getting delivered, packages arriving days late, delivery attempts to a business 3-4 hours after closing, etc. Claims of making delivery attempts to my business multiple times in a day which has a receptionist at the front desk all day during business hours.

      I did eventually get these issues fixed with Amazon after a string of complaints and them de-prioritizing Amazon Logistics on my account. But it's far from a unique experience. The official Amazon forums are flooded with complaints that go back over a year.

      The whole thing about using Amazon and Prime is that you know whatever you buy will be there in two days, hassle free, no issue with returns, etc. But that two day thing is key. If the delivery network is crappy it'll kill Amazon's business. They really need to get that sorted out before they start trying to sell the service to other companies.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Amazons direct delivery failures are very interesting because that makes them extremely vulnerable to competition from a particular quarter. That not be a sales but logistics companies. The two biggest threats to Amazon are UPS and FEDex. They are both logistics companies, with warehouses and all they need is a website to sell their customers products, and then they deliver, as for Amazon. In fact Amazon going for direct deliveries might well be indicative that they are concerned that UPS and FEDex might b

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          Amazons direct delivery failures are very interesting because that makes them extremely vulnerable to competition from a particular quarter. That not be a sales but logistics companies. The two biggest threats to Amazon are UPS and FEDex. They are both logistics companies, with warehouses and all they need is a website to sell their customers products, and then they deliver, as for Amazon. In fact Amazon going for direct deliveries might well be indicative that they are concerned that UPS and FEDex might be

          • It woudln't surprise me if FedEx/UPS had a similar program where a seller could prepackage their products and have them stored at the warehouse ready for shipping.

            This would be one of the more costly shipping options. It would prevent shipping multiple items in one box, and it would certainly increase the chances of mistaken items being shipped.

            Heck, I've seen Amazon used that way - I ordered something from eBay and it cam in an Amazon box from the eBay seller (brand new Amazon box, shipped from Amazon facilities).

            Why would this be any surprise? Amazon has many companies that sell through them ("sold by X fulfilled by Amazon"), so why wouldn't someone who ALSO has an eBay store also use the Amazon fulfillment system he's using for his Amazon presence? A seller who has reduced his costs by outsourcing one medium's fulfillment would be lo

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            Logistics can be far more expansive. I have worked on contracts where the manufacturer would deliver bulk product to the logistics supplier and the logistics company would package it, in the product box, not delivery box but branded manufacturer box and from there dispatch all products out to wholesalers. Logistics goes a lot deeper than it used to and there are plenty of receive, store, pick and pack operations. So all that is left is a cohesive online sales platform, else Amazon will really cripple other

      • TO be fair, its a VERY new service and its going to take time for them to scale it. I like how AMZL provides 4 hour delivery windows vs UPS 'you'll get it sometime today'. It will get better over time.
      • This announcement is great for you because Amazon is addressing your concerns, right?

    • So you are saying they already lost as Amazon staff are no better than FedEx or any other courier staff and they have been videoed throwing, damaging and mishandling packages.
  • amazon seems bent on inviting anti trust scrutiny.

    however, even without government intervention, amazon, like previous conglomerate histories demonstrate, will eventually get in to businesses it will not be able to manage efficiently as others that specialize in that business. its core competency will be made to subsidize its failures or also-rans in other areas.
    sit back and enjoy.

  • Denver area (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hord ( 5016115 ) <jhord@carbon.cc> on Thursday October 05, 2017 @09:51PM (#55319093)

    We've had it here for a while. My apartment complex has notified us twice that they Amazon service not only refuses to deliver to the door like FedEx and UPS but the delivery person just dumps packages in the office without notifying anyone or getting a signature. When I first saw the white vans with the Amazon logo I couldn't help but noticed the "Enterprise" sticker on the back. I guess they rent locally instead of owning a fleet? Maybe that was just a trial. Absolutely crazy logistics.

    • I've seen FedEx using rental vehicles during heavy delivery times (xmas, new year, etc) and also I've talked to guys who had a rental when too many trucks were down for repair and there were no spares.
    • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

      We have amazon branded ford courrier vans, they generally deliver to the door but about 10% of the time they deliver to the mailbox area. If your apartment complex doesn't have a way to deal with daily amazon cargo deliveries they may be behind the curve as most have adjusted to the daily deliveries.

    • but the delivery person just dumps packages in the office without notifying anyone or getting a signature.

      This is different than UPS or FedEx dumping packages somewhere on the property without any signature or notice exactly how? UPS, in particular, has a wonderful habit of hiding stuff and leaving no notice, so I may find it a week later, or in one case it was more than a month.

    • by dj245 ( 732906 )

      We've had it here for a while. My apartment complex has notified us twice that they Amazon service not only refuses to deliver to the door like FedEx and UPS but the delivery person just dumps packages in the office without notifying anyone or getting a signature. When I first saw the white vans with the Amazon logo I couldn't help but noticed the "Enterprise" sticker on the back. I guess they rent locally instead of owning a fleet? Maybe that was just a trial. Absolutely crazy logistics.

      In our neighhood, the Amazon delivery guy drives an early '90s Crown Victoria. It sticks out so much in our neighborhood that sometimes our local constable will follow him around.

  • by ksmithderm ( 1298921 ) on Thursday October 05, 2017 @10:01PM (#55319125)
    N=1: I order a lot from Amazon Prime. About a year ago Amazon switched to Amazon Logistics, and since then a lot of the time things that were supposed to arrive in two days arrive whenever, maybe 4 days. There is no useful tracking number like FedEx or UPS, sometimes things are listed as "delivered" in my Amazon account when they are actually "out for delivery". On one occasion something was never delivered, got refunded, re-ordered, never delivered again; finally on the third go-round it was ordered and actually delivered. Amazon has got quite way to go before it catches up with UPS or FedEx.
    • Yup. Amazon Logistics is what they've called it the past couple of years.

      And it sucks. Things are delayed and delivered routinely. It sounds like they're just expanding it anyway and calling it something else to try and ditch the bad reputation.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Amazon could buy the USPS out of petty cash - and make it the most efficient delivery system on the planet.

    OK - now tell me why Amazon shouldn't.

    • they will have to pay union wages

    • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

      OK - now tell me why Amazon shouldn't.

      Because we're not Jeff Bezos fart-sniffers?

    • Because it would be illegal?

      • Why would it be illegal, and were it currently what would stop congress from changing the law to allow privatization of the USPS? I think there would be a lot of money to be saved by doing that, because the first move would be dumping the unions.

        There is repeated talk about privatizing the FAA, (a really really bad idea) so USPS certainly shouldn't be considered sacrosanct.

        • Because the constitution grants Congress the power to establish a post office as an office of the state, and in 1794 the post office was permanently extended (after a initial creation and several acts extending it a year or two at a time).

          Congress can kill the post office, and only congress can create a post office. (And Congress has been trying to kill the post office for a long time, but they can't do it outright as the public wouldn't stand for it, so they do shit like force them to fund pensions decade

          • Congress can kill the post office, and only congress can create a post office.

            Is the "power to establish a post office as an office of the state" a mandate to do so, and does it prohibit outsourcing this function? Yes, there is a law protecting the post office first class mail service, but that law could be changed. You admit, I think, that the Congress can, indeed, outsource the USPS because they can "kill the post office". Therefore, the answer to the question is "what law prevents it" is only the first class service protections.

            If Congress wanted to hand over the post office to Amazon, they'd have to untangle a whole maze of shit legally to have Amazon run the post office (but not outright own it).

            I see nothing prohibiting Amazon from owning "the pos

          • by Agripa ( 139780 )

            And Congress has been trying to kill the post office for a long time, but they can't do it outright as the public wouldn't stand for it, so they do shit like force them to fund pensions decades further out than anyone else, prohibit them from raising bulk mail rates, etc. Yet it lives.

            The pensions are stored in treasury bonds or IOUs from Congress to the post office so like Social Security, it is an easy way for Congress to takes people's money to spend.

  • Here in the Puget Sound area, this Amazon Delivery Service has been a thing for at least a year or two.

    Also, I am pretty sure I've seen this same story here on Slashdot at least two previous times over that same period. And, with each story, I've felt compelled to share my experience regarding the suckitude of said service.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    According to USPS employees, USPS won the contract to deliver Amazon packages - 7 days a week in the USA.

  • Flex is Uber for deliveries. Gig economy work for individuals with their own vehicles (usually cars) hired in blocks of time (currently 4 hours) using an app. In fact many of the drivers are Uber drivers diversifying their income. They drive Uber most of the time, but do a block of Amazon Flex deliveries when they can get a block.

  • Some people have jobs, you know.
    • That's what Amazon Pickup Locations are for.

      • Screw pickup locations. One of the great things about ordering online is that the stuff gets delivered to you.

        • Not much use if you work. Unless you can get stuff delivered to work.

          • For most things I've seen on Amazon, they can ship via USPS. Where I live, the mailboxes are on the street and have lockboxes to hold packages, so if it's shipped via USPS then they put it in the lockbox, and it's waiting for me when I get home from work. It's secure, and I don't have to go to some pick up center.

            This is one of the reasons I strongly prefer USPS to FedEx or UPS, who just leave the packages on my door or (worse) leave a note telling me to pick the packages up from their distribution center.

  • Get it as good as the US Post Office and they'll be doing OK.

    Sent a camera for repair a couple weeks ago. Used USPS 2nd Day air, $89.40 and it got there in 2 days.

    Ready for return the following Friday, the place only used FedEx. They say, "Ground $70." I say "2nd Day Air." They say "2nd Day Air $151 and it'll arrive following Wednesday (5th day after Friday.) I say "Ground" Arrived today, 6 days later, for the $70.

    Clearly that serviced did not favorable compete with the US Post Office.

    So if Amazo

  • The business schools have been teaching generation of managers that externalization is the key to success and that corporation should only focus on their core business while relying on sub contractor for everything else. Now it turns out that one of the most successful company is having success precisely because they are doing exactly the opposite of that.
    Do you think that MBA teachers will change their recommendations or just go business as usual and continue milking gullible pupils to teach them how to s
  • 0 for 3 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WHExeter ( 685854 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @05:30AM (#55320115)
    The last three Amazon purchases I've had scheduled for delivery to a home in the Sarasota FL area were sent via "AMZL_US". NONE of them were delivered on time. The tracking information was, compared to what I've come to expect from FedEx and UPS, vague and useless. For the last of the three packages I paid extra for expedited delivery, which didn't seem to matter as it didn't come when promised. I cancelled my order and did the unthinkable -- I drove two miles to Home Deport and bought it there! I am generally a total Amazonaholic for shopping but if they remain unreliable I'll have to find alternatives, and I will. That's how markets work, right?
  • In suburban Boston area they are using a contractor in white vans to deliver package 7 days a week. I don't think it's the same as this program but they quality of delivery is terrible. They have driven over my lawn, performed drive by deliveries (thrown packages on the lawn) and delivered stuff but then reported it lost? I did get a refund the "lost" package and kept the merch ... *snort*

  • Amazon.ca is now shipping using Intelcom express [intelcomgroup.com]. My delivery was fine and on time, but lots of people have reported bad experiences with them.

    Their shipment tracking page just looks like an email feedback form. I don't think they have an publicly accessible tracking system yet.

  • "one person said".... Amazon customers have all received diaper rash regardless of what order was placed....one person said.
  • I hope this doesn't mean they'll stop using the US Postal Service. I'm rarely home during delivery hours, and I strongly prefer shipping via USPS because they'll put the packages in the streetside lockbox rather than leaving them on my doorstep.

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