While the expanding Amazon Flex service is a kind of “Uber for the last mile”, Amazon is also planning the same organizational approach for the middle mile, according to Business Insider:
The app, scheduled to launch next summer, is designed to make it easier for truck drivers to find shippers that need goods moved, much in the way Uber connects drivers with riders. It would also eliminate the need for a third-party broker, which typically charges a commission of about 15% for doing the middleman work. […]
However this may shape up, the general direction is almost inevitable.
The real potential (and thus one important way to get partners initially on board) are gains in efficiency:
The app will offer real-time pricing and driving directions, as well as personalized features such as truck-stop recommendations and a suggested “tour” of loads to pick up and drop off. It could also have tracking and payment options to speed up the entire shipping process.
This rumor is the latest in a row regarding Amazon’s increasing logistics ambitions. (see links below) Already, Amazon Logistics is constantly increasing its scope. Berlin, Germany, for example, is one of the cities getting more packages delivered via Amazon Logistics (rather than DHL or others) every day. Amazon is trying to expand this quietly.
Already, Amazon has an option for middle mile providers to contact the company, although only via email, on the Amazon Logistics website for partners:
NOT FOR YOU?
Try one of these other Amazon delivery options:
Amazon Flex: You’re an individual who wants to deliver packages for Amazon using your car and smartphone.
Middle Mile Providers: Fleet owners with a DOT# and MC# who want to provide power only to haul loads for Amazon.
To what capacity companies of this kind are already working for Amazon already is unknown.
Building out logistics with software based matchmaking leads, if successful, directly to a service with the biggest customers being Amazon and Amazon Marketplace sellers. (Giving Amazon a head start on anyone else, like, say, Uber, trying to build the same.)
AWS, the obvious comparison on this abstract level, has long grown beyond its biggest customer.
The biggest threat to Amazon in its home market could be an Uber efficiently organizing logistics for online retailers small and large. Although one of the best startups of all time when it comes to execution, Uber is lacking some finesse when it comes to long-term thinking. So, this is not a given outcome at all.
Even so, using software for organizing logistics as a matchmaker makes obvious sense for Amazon. As always, the devil will be in the details.
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