Please read the following case and submit your analysis. Students are required to write at least 400 words per case (not 400 words per question of each case). This does not include assigned questions. At the top of the first page, include the word count. I require minimum word counts to give students an idea of how much work is expected. Otherwise, students may do much less than they need to do in order to develop their critical and analytical thinking skills.
Opening Case: Amazon-A Leader in Global Supply Chain Management
QUESTION 1: How difficult has it been for Amazon to keep pace with customer expectations? Based on how the company originated, do you think Amazon was positioned well for its development into the variety of offerings it presents today to customers?
QUESTION 2: How has Amazon utilized its online retail capabilities to benefit other companies? Do you think this is a good thing for the companies Amazon is assisting?
Amazon—A Leader in Global Supply Chain Management
Amazon.com, Inc.—typically referred to as just Amazon—was the number one company in the latest “Gartner Global Supply Chain Top 25” ranking (Apple and P&G earned Master status and were listed separately above the top 25 companies). This is the first time in the last five years Amazon has been elevated to the top position, although they have been a mainstay in the top 5. Other regular entries in the top five companies with the best global supply chains include Apple, P&G, McDonald’s, and Unilever.
Amazon is based in Seattle, Washington, in the northwest corner of the United States. It has now become the largest online retailer in the United States, and it surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in 2015 by market capitalization. The company started in 1994 as an online bookstore but has diversified to a variety of products, including music downloads, furniture, food, and basically almost all consumer electronics. These days, customers can seemingly buy almost anything they need via the Amazon platform. In the United States alone in 2016, more than 130 million customers per month visited Amazon.com. But this massive availability of products also puts a strain on Amazon’s global supply chains.
As customers, we have come to expect that Amazon will deliver whatever we buy in the shortest cycle time possible, often no more than two days, especially if a customer is signed up for Amazon Prime. The Amazon Prime service includes free two-day shipping (on many products), video streaming, music, photos, and the Kindle lending library for an annual fee (currently $99). All these services are welcomed by customers, but the free two-day shipping is really what drives the Amazon Prime service.
The free two-day shipping (and a myriad of other shipping alternatives for a fee) requires Amazon to leverage its inventory management practices, global supply chains, and technology to cost effectively reach customers. Delivery speed and efficiency require Amazon to have strategically located fulfillment centers worldwide that can be used by select vendors on the Amazon platform. This includes strict requirements for packaging, labeling, and shipment. Amazon stores these vendors’ products in bulk or in individual “pickable” locations.
So far, in addition to the United States, Amazon has retail websites for Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. And the Amazon Prime service places great strain on Amazon’s supply chains where it is available in its worldwide locations (e.g., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom).
In addition, Amazon’s customer service centers span some 15 countries worldwide. Plus, the company operates retail websites for international brands such as Sears Canada, Bebe Stores, Marks & Spencer, Mothercare, and Lacoste. This means that Amazon is benefiting from both its global supply chains for delivery of vendors’ products and its service as a technology supply chain vendor to businesses.
These case assignments are to be completed individually. Please use your own words when completing the assignments. There is no required format, but you must write in organized paragraphs with complete sentences. Do not use bullet points. Do not use direct quotes. Do not use references.