For those private equity supply chain managers working in Direct to Consumer (DTC) yourselves, knee deep in FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) or any intellectually curious supply chain professional (or executive)…basically, anyone…The team of strategic sourcing consultants at Forsyth Advisors wanted to introduce a possibly rewarding, educational resource that might fit with a company’s Team Building exercises. 

To say that Amazon is ubiquitous would be an understatement even if said a decade ago.  School supplies, last minute gifts, recipe ingredients, posters from movies just seen on a Daddy-Daughter dates that can arrive even before you get home from after-movie ice cream: The ability to buy anything under the sun or have on your phone when negotiating at a brick-n-mortar business has become a part of the consumer experience. Alongside its growing dominance are anecdotes of unfair labor practices, brutal working environments, monopolistic market activities, opportunities buyers manipulating 4-Star Reviews and (yes, this is capitalism) competition. As with most things in these Insights, it’s a mixed bag that require further review. What can be lost is the “how” of Amazon and with a surprisingly high amount of relevant take-aways for your supply chain. 

For just over 5 years, and as part of their public relations efforts, Amazon has been hosting tours of their facilities. Access to these tours depend upon your location,  but virtual tours are available as well. What will you see? Well, first: What Amazon wants you to see. These tours are strictly chaperoned for obvious reasons, although under the guise of safety. But secondly, insight into always evolving ecosystem of supply chain and perfect order management. Without any spoilers, here are a few possible takeaways:

  • You think you’ve got a KPI program in place? Think again. 
  • How fast do your conveyor belts transport product? Amazon does it faster
  • Warehouse Layout for Efficient Picking and Packing utilizing product velocity and volume? Naw. Amazon don’t doesn’t do that
  • Maximize cube space on a FTL or even an LTL? Amazon would win any Tetris competition
  • Scheduling a 24/7 Production Facility without paying insane overtime? Amazon’s got it, too
  • Having trouble ideating about how to make your small parcel packaging operations efficient? It’s there

Now, Amazon Tours don’t explicitly explain these elements, but a discerning eye can make keen observations that you can implement, however incrementally. At the very least, it will illustrate the vastness of the entity and possibly even inspire. 

For the tours, there are two options, depending on your location and time available. Each takes 30 minutes and then a team lunch of social at a nearby watering hole is always good for a debrief.

A Virtual Tour

In Person

Want to learn more? Reach out to our expert consultants directly