Note: The video provides a great overview of Amazon’s supply chain strategies in response to the current shipping crisis and their broad industry implications. You will also learn how international shipping and logistics work today, including processes, technologies, innovations, and remaining challenges.
The latest industry estimates show that Amazon’s apparel and footwear sales in the U.S. grew by roughly 15% in 2020 to more than $41 billion, more than Walmart did. This represents a highly impressive 11%-12% share of all apparel sold in the U.S. and 34%-35% share of all apparel sold online. Amazon achieved early success by offering a wide range of basics, but it has since expanded its fashion business. It now features a growing slate of name brands. The company also launched online luxury fashion shops in the fall of 2019.
- What are the unique features of Amazon’s supply chain strategies in response to the current shipping crisis? Do these strategies work well? What is your evaluation?
- To what extent can other retailers emulate what Amazon is doing? Should they?
- Should conventional fashion companies (such as Macy’s and Gap Inc) see Amazon as a competitor or a potential collaborator? Why?
- Is there anything else you find interesting/intriguing/thought-provoking in the video? Why?
Shipping & logistics terms mentioned in the video:
- TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit): TEU is a measure of volume in units of twenty-foot long containers. For example, large container ships are able to transport more than 18,000 TEU (a few can even carry more than 21,000 TEU). One 20-foot container equals one TEU.
- FEU (Forty-foot Equivalent Unit): Two TEUs equal one FEU.
- FCL (Full Container Load): This means that a shipment occupies the entire space of a container without having to share it with other shippers. In an FCL cargo, the complete goods in the container are owned by one shipper.
- LCL (Less than Container Load): LCL describes the transportation of small ocean-freight shipments, which do not require the full capacity of a container.
- ULD (Unit Load Device): A container used for baggage, cargo and mail on wide-body and narrow-body aircraft.
- Freight Forwarder: An agency that receives freight from a shipper and arranges for transportation with one or more carriers to the final destination. While the forwarder does not always handle the freight itself, it contracts with other carriers to move goods via road, rail, ocean and air.
Supplementary reading: The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger (2016, 2nd ed) by Marc Levinson