While President Trump complains that Amazon is taking advantage of the US Postal Service, Amazon is continuing its push to cut out its competitors entirely. In its bid to control every step of the delivery process - from distribution center to doorstep - Amazon is launching a new program to entice entrepreneurs around the US to build their own Amazon-focused delivery services. These drivers will transport packages during the "last mile" of their journey - an industry term that describes the leg of a package's journey from local distribution center to doorstep.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that the online retailing is rolling out a program that will provide entrepreneurs around the country with all the tools they need - including leasing blue vans marked with the Amazon logo directly from Amazon. The company will also sell uniforms and provide entrepreneurs with "support" as they grow their businesses.
In terms of improving customer service, the advantages of controlling the "last mile" of delivery are substantial: Amazon customers will soon be able to track their packages on a map once they've been put out for delivery. Customers can even contact their drivers to ask for a last-minute change of their drop-off location. None of this would be possible with FedEx and UPS. And for customers who'd like their packages delivered while they're at work, Amazon announced back in April that it would partner with GM and Volvo to build a system allowing their packages to be placed in the trunk of their cars.
Amazon sent shares of UPS and Fedex reeling earlier this year when it announced "Shipping with Amazon" - a new program that allowed third-party merchants using Amazon's platform to pay Amazon, instead of its competitors, to handle deliver. Over the past two years, Amazon has expanded into ocean freight and has leased up to 40 aircraft while building its first air transport hub in Kentucky.
One Amazon contractor in the program's test market said he's already hired 40 employees to work at his company, and that Amazon provides more than enough business to keep them all busy.
"We don't have to go make sales speeches," said Olaoluwa Abimbola, who has hired 40 workers in five months.
"There's constant work, every day. All we have to do is show up."
But with the unemployment already at a multi-decade low 3.8%, we can't help but wonder: Where does Amazon expect to find all of these new low-wage workers?