Report: New app streamlines Amazon’s truck drivers’ deliveries
Deena M. Amato-McCoy
Amazon is speeding up truck drivers’ warehouse visits.
The online giant quietly rolled out its new “Relay” app, a move that the company expects to help automate the truck delivery process. Amazon introduced the app last month, according to CNBC.
The free app enablers truck drivers to pre-register their loads, and receive a digital gate pass that is saved within the app. It is available for iOS and Android devices, according to the app’s description on Google Play.
Here’s how it works: Once drivers download the Amazon Relay app, they can enter load information when picking up or dropping off at Amazon facilities. Once the load information is entered, they receive their gate pass, which is embedded with a QR code. As drivers arrive at the gate, they can scan gate pass, streamlining their check-in to the facility.
Participating facilities also feature designated Amazon Relay Lanes reserved for drivers with gate passes, according to Google Play.
While CNBC reported that Relay is Amazon's first attempt at automating the truck delivery process, the online retailer may still need some time to work out some kinks. Users have only given the app a 3.3-star rating out of five, with some users describing the app as “useless,” riddled with “a lot of glitches,” and time-consuming compared to interacting with a guard, according to reviews.
There have been between 1,000 and 5,000 downloads to date, according to the app page.
This program is just Amazon’s latest attempt at making its supply chain more efficient. Recently, the online giant established its “Amazon Logistics” operation, a cross-border service currently available to sellers listing on the Amazon platform. The retailer also continues to develop its air freight solutions and services, and plans “to quickly introduce it to a large number of our sellers,” according to the Amazon Logistics website.
Earlier this year, Amazon announced it would build an air cargo hub in Kentucky, which will be home base for its leased air fleet of 40 Boeing cargo jets — a program it calls Prime Air.
Meanwhile, Amazon dipped its toe into the freight forwarder waters in January, a move that allows Amazon to control shipments between manufacturers and distribution points.
In November 2015, the company purchased thousands of trailers pulled by tractor trucks provided through partnerships with third-party transportation firms. These vehicles shuttle inventory throughout the supply chain.
The company is also in the midst of testing delivery drones.