Amazon has been suffering from a serious late-delivery problem as demand for goods by sheltering-in-place customers peaks. But the company may take steps to fix that problem with a new plan it announced on Monday.
The company will hire people across its operations network, which includes Amazon's warehouse and logistics, in both full- and part-time positions. The company's total spending on salaries and new hires will exceed $500 million, the company said.
The timing for this is good for Amazon. The company has been dealing with extremely high demand for its products; orders that normally arrive in a day or two are taking days or even weeks to reach homes and offices. And even in a world where robotics and digitization dominate, Amazon continues to find that adding more people to its workforce is critical to its success. This also comes a week after the company was widely criticized for firing a worker who spoke out against the conditions in Amazon's Staten Island, New York, warehouse.
There are also signs that Amazon is improving its delivery times. The company said on Monday that it will allow third-party sellers who use its warehouses for product storage to start selling their products again on the site, albeit with some limitations on order size. It also looks like Amazon's delivery times are starting to improve on products that aren't considered "essential" -- a key metric Amazon has used to decide which orders should be given preferential treatment.
More than anything, however, Amazon is making a major hiring push at a time when millions of Americans have lost their jobs and still face little clarity on whether they'll have positions waiting for them when the quarantine is over.
Amazon, through the coronavirus outbreak, has become a focal point in both the lives of consumers and small-business owners who use the mega-retail platform to buy and sell products. It's also become a place where people can find jobs when they need them.
What that means after the Covid-19 threat is over remains to be seen. It's unclear whether this surge in hiring will be temporary. But if it's not, Amazon could come to even more dramatically dominate the e-commerce world. After all, if people are the engine of that growth, Amazon will have plenty of people to get the job done.