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Amazon aims to increase shipping speed after record-breaking 2023

Amazon Sequoia
Amazon will implement its Sequoia robot in more fulfillment centers.

Amazon achieved its fastest-ever global shipping times last year but isn’t resting on its laurels.

The online giant made deliveries in the shortest amount of time in its history on average during 2023 by focusing on initiative such as focusing on stocking inventory in regional fulfillment centers near last-mile delivery stations, shipping nearly 600 million more items from in-region fulfillment centers year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2023. 

Amazon also expanded its same-day delivery service, adding nine new dedicated sites and serving 18 additional U.S. cities over the course of the year, bringing the total number to 110. The retailer plans to double the number of sites in the coming years and currently operates more than 55 dedicated same-day sites across the U.S. These smaller sites are hybrid—part fulfillment center, part delivery station. 

In the fourth quarter of 2023, Amazon increased the number of items delivered the same day or overnight in the U.S. by more than 65% year-over-year. Amazon Pharmacy, which the e-tailer has been enhancing with generative AI, now has same-day delivery available in Seattle, Austin, Indianapolis, Miami and Phoenix.

Looking ahead in 2024

In a corporate blog post, Amazon said it will continue to optimize its operations network with the goal of shipping more products from locations closer to customers, helping to speed up deliveries and reduce the travel distance and stops per package. 

In the U.S., the company intends to refine its regionalization model, making sure each region is the right size, efficient, and operating smoothly. Amazon is also setting a 2024 goal for its operations teams to have a better sense of what inventory is coming in and in what amounts, which will allow them to align that inventory to what customers in a particular region want and need, helping to make the process more efficient.

This year, Amazon also plans to expand its Prime Air drone delivery program to a new U.S. location, as well as Italy. Other initiatives Amazon intends to launch in 2024 as part of its effort to improve shipping speed include rolling out its Sequoia robotic storage system to more fulfillment facilities. 

“We’re immensely proud of our progress so far, but we aren’t satisfied and know there’s more we can do,” Doug Herrington, worldwide CEO of Amazon Stores, said in the blog post. “Our work on delivery speeds is global, multi-year effort, and we know has massive runway for us to continue delivering ever faster for customers.”

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