The General Manager for Amazon Egypt recently swapped his usual work routine to spend the day in a ride along with one of Amazon’s Delivery Associates to reconnect first-hand with the daily challenges and successes of connecting customers with online purchases of all shapes and sizes – challenges that increase exponentially during special occasions of the year including the recent Amazon Prime Day.
Trading his usual buzzing office day and back-to-back calls and strategy meetings for a day on the road is an essential tool to not only reconnect and reassess the details and intricacies of Amazon’s logistics, but also remind himself of the passion, skills and dedication of the people who make it happen each day.
“At Amazon, we’re obsessed with delighting our customers daily. This means connecting people with their purchases, their daily essentials, their gifts for their loved ones – anything and everything that they have ordered online, and need to be delivered quickly and efficiently,” explained Omar.
“As an Amazonian, it’s an essential responsibility to be tuned in to every element of our business – from the inner workings of our fulfillment center, to what happens behind the wheel of a delivery vehicle. In order for our business and our people to thrive, it’s essential to see, learn, and appreciate how the magic happens.”
As the company continues to grow, it becomes more challenging to stay as connected to the customers I serve as much as I would like to. To hear directly from them how we can make their experiences more delightful. This opportunity allows us to validate metrics thru the voice of our customers directly so we can do better and make our customers happier.
“The work carried out by our logistics team is the frontline for Amazon. This is where our efforts and expertise is judged, where our customers see the work we do, and how they assess our abilities. Hence, the decision for a ride along with a member of our delivery team to see not only where we are succeeding, but more importantly where we have a growth opportunity to improve – because we must always be hungry and yearn to improve.”
With Amazon Prime members in Egypt receiving exclusive discounts along with next day delivery options, the company’s commitment to hiring and developing the best is clearly portrayed in its fleet of dedicated delivery associates who are constantly called upon to show their skills as logistics experts, handling huge package volumes and even greater pressure – helping Amazon to keep its promise of making swift and on time deliveries.
Joining Mahmoud Zahran on his delivery route around Cairo didn’t just mean Omar spending a few hours observing from the comfort of the passenger seat. From helping Mahmoud sort and handle packages, plotting the best way to reach destinations, jumping out of the vehicle to drop off packages, and engaging with customers in person and via messages, Omar came prepared to pull his weight.
“I have lived in Cairo long enough to know how the city’s traffic system and street design can sometimes be challenging. But to spend the day constantly moving from one location to another really drives home both the challenges and appreciation our delivery associates face and the exceptional work they do to constantly overcome these issues,” said Omar.
During his ride along, Omar experienced many of the pressure points encountered by Amazon’s delivery associates and the company’s wider last mile operations. Key among these was the quality and consistency of addresses, which requires associates to use using Amazon’s geo-location tool ‘pin-on-maps’ and call upon their expert local knowledge of the city’s sprawling neighborhoods.
“The pressure our teams are under each day and the manner they handle it is impressive. This only increases during annual events and peak moments,” said Omar. “This is why smart mapping technologies are so important and allow us to recognize and unblock issues quickly. We are able to identify root causes of problems, find scalable solutions, and meet our commitments. But we’re striving to get even better in this field by working with our quality teams to ensure the correct address types, either residential or commercial, are made available quickly and seamlessly.
“Our entire team does a great job in overcoming potential discrepancies in addresses, connecting to confirm locations when required, and ensuring that each package finds its way to the right place at the promised fast time.”
“We are constantly enhancing our people, processes and technology in order to reach more customers across Egypt in a shorter delivery time and with a wider selection of products. Our employees are the heart and soul of our operations. Their safety and well-being remain our number one priority. All through the year we have reskilling, upskilling and training programmes to ensure that we are all ready for our operations.
Another difficult area Omar pinpointed was the use of cash instead of card or virtual payments. A potential stumbling block for a digital-first company like Amazon. The increase in Buy Now, Pay Later from banks and other smart payment providers is helping to push more customers towards e-pay options.
“Cash options are still important to some of our customers, despite more and more people opting for card or virtual payments nowadays,” said Omar. “We are committed to giving our customers all the options they want to make the most of their purchases. We anticipate to witness greater use of digital payments in the future and would encourage people to use this option.”
“Amazon is continuing to invest in Egypt. This means delivering the best possible service we can to our customers and our community,” said Omar. “On occasions such as Amazon Prime Day you really experience not only the pressure our staff are under, but also the incredible skills they demonstrate to meet the demands they are faced with.
“During the ride along I was lucky enough to see the delight and satisfaction our customers experience as a result of the hard work our teams do every day. The whole experience made me proud of our team, proud of what we achieve, and proud of the future that we are building here in Egypt.”