Amazon Flexes New ‘Uber’ Delivery Program
Amazon is flexing its muscles in the delivery field with the appointment of independent contractors (kinda like Uber drivers) to pick up and deliver parcels from its distribution centres.
The new program, known as Amazon Flex, is basically Uber delivery drivers for the online retailer.
Eligible drivers must be over 20, have a four-door car, a smartphone, a valid drivers license and an Australian business number.
After a background check has been completed, drivers will download a companion app where delivery shifts or ‘blocks’ of four hours will be offered.
Once a block or delivery is selected, the driver is guaranteed that spot.
The new service will be initially launched in Melbourne and Sydney before Amazon considers wider expansion of the platform.
Collections are carried out from separate Amazon Flex pick up points co-located at both fulfilment centres.
Both Melbourne and Sydney reportedly account for 45% of Amazon’s orders, with the Australian branch offering around 125 million products across 29 different categories.
Amazon Australia’s director of operations, Craig Fuller says the program is designed to supplement courier and logistic services, enabling the company to increase delivery options during demand.
‘It’s not about delivery capacity but being able to flex up capacity when we have surges in demand’.
Fuller, describes the program as ‘a great way for people to control their own time and earn extra money’.
Though just like Uber, it is not without its criticism.
Currently, in use overseas, Amazon Flex drivers in the US have complained of poor take-home pay and lack of job security.
One big issue is due to the independent contracting, Amazon Flex drivers do not have permits for delivery or loading zones, nor are the issued with identification or uniforms to prove they are Amazon contractors.
Despite this, Fuller is very confident in the new program claiming, ‘the money they earn is very competitive, the process is transparent and easy to use – it’s a simple flexible system for Australians to earn some good income’.
The new program is set to complement the recently announced Amazon Hubs – a new network of parcel pickup points designed to offer customers more choice and convenience.
The Amazon Hub network includes two pickup point options – Locker and Counter.
Originally launched in the US in 2011, Locker is a self-service kiosk that gives customers the option to pick up their Amazon parcels from a location convenient to them.
Customers have three days to collect their parcel from a Locker and 14 days to collect their parcel from a Counter location.
It comes as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezo’s recently showed off an electric rickshaw as part of a new 10,000 fleet of Prime delivery trucks in India.
The new fleet is a part of Amazon’s plan to be zero carbon by 2030, with the company also planning to help create a US$10 billion market for Indian exports by 2025.