Amazon warehouse
Photo 194996167 © Marcos del Mazo | Dreamstime.com

And nor, the headline should add, is it the Amazon its peers and logistics suppliers normally see.

This exhaustive long read from The New York Times charts the many problems Amazon encountered during the pandemic to keep its operations moving, focusing largely on its enormous New York facility JFK8. While the logistics and e-commerce platforms Amazon has built over the last 20 years are rightly admired, its HR systems have simply not kept pace with the aggressive expansion of its network, leading it to actually lose market share to rivals such as Walmart during the height of the pandemic, as it struggled to overcome severe warehouse worker shortages.

“In contrast to its precise, sophisticated processing of packages, Amazon’s model for managing people — heavily reliant on metrics, apps and chatbots — was uneven and strained even before the coronavirus arrived, with employees often having to act as their own caseworkers, interviews and records show. Amid the pandemic, Amazon’s system burned through workers, resulted in inadvertent firings and stalled benefits and impeded communication, casting a shadow over a business success story for the ages.”

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