Amazon speeds up warehouse visits with mobile app

Dive Brief:

  • Amazon has rolled out a mobile app for truck drivers that allows them to get in and out of Amazon warehouse facilities more efficiently by speeding up the pick-up and drop-off of packages at these locations, according to CNBC.

  • The Relay app allows truck drivers to enter cargo information and use their mobile phones to scan a QR code for quick entry through the warehouse’s security gate, instead of the traditional badge entry.

  • Some of Amazon’s warehouse properties already feature dedicated Relay app lanes, the CNBC report stated, adding that the app gives Amazon a direct connection to millions of truck drivers nationwide. Amazon is also said to be developing another app to match truck drivers with cargo.

Dive Insight:

Amid those moves, there was talk that in addition to transporting cargo between warehouses, Amazon would do more in the area of package delivery via drones or other vehicles. That talk evolved into a patent in June for a “beehive” delivery fulfillment center, as well as a report last month that the e-commerce giant is now running a pilot program of the long-rumored package delivery service.

It’s not entirely clear if the new app is part of that reported pilot program, or if it was launched separately, but it certainly seems as though it could provide some immediate value if Amazon warehouses are starting to see increases in truck traffic related to that program. Even if it isn’t tied to the program, it could still speed up some aspects of the shipping process.

More broadly, such an app could be a major relationship builder with truck drivers and trucking companies — a group that is responsible for transporting about 80% of the cargo in the U.S., and makes up a market worth about $800 million, according to the report.

There is speculation that Amazon could disrupt shipping and delivery much in the way it has disrupted other businesses. And although traditional shipping companies have met this speculation with some doubt (and a lot of talk about how good a relationship they have with Amazon), that could change if Amazon continues to make moves in the area.

Recommended Reading:

  • CNBC Amazon quietly launched an app called Relay to go after truck drivers