Innovation enables a company to develop competitive advantages required to overcome competition in the markets they serve. The following paper considers the use of robot technology at Amazon to create competitive advantages in the delivery of packages to the consumer. While other companies have chosen to develop flying drones in delivering packages, Amazon prefers to use robots that use the sidewalks. The use of non-flying robots provides various advantages over flying drones, and which may have informed Amazon’s choice. The application of robots creates competitive advantages through reducing delivery costs, enabling faster delivery, and enhancing environmental friendliness of the delivery process and enabling. The innovation thus creates value for Amazon’s consumers.
Amazon is an online retailer that ordinarily depends on human delivery personnel. The company is, however, piloting the use of robots in the last mile delivery of packages. The robots deliver packages to consumers that have selected either one, two or three-day deliveries. Thus, the robots are appropriate for deliveries within short periods. The article explains that using human personnel and trucks in last mile delivery creates various challenges. The challenges include high wages, environmental pollution from the idling delivery trucks, and long delivery times as delivery personnel take more time moving from one house to another delivering packages. The robots can pick packages from a central location and deliver the product to the consumer within a shorter time, thus enabling quicker e-commerce.
A competitive advantage is a unique process that creates value for the consumer (Huggins and Izushi). Fast delivery is an essential consideration among online shoppers. Thus, an online store that delivers within a shorter period is bound to attract more consumers. The use of robots in the last mile delivery of customer orders creates value for the consumers through ensuring delivery within shorter periods than would be achievable by a human worker. Shorter delivery times create the possibility that consumers that prefer their orders to be delivered quickly will opt to shop on Amazon as compared to other physical or online stores. Amazon could thus experience an increase in sales as the consumers perceive greater value in the services provided.
Companies continually try to identify approaches for reducing the costs incurred in operations. Lower operating costs create value for the customer through enabling lower pricing. The article explains that the robots used in delivery are cheaper to run as compared to hiring human personnel. It is more expensive to employ human staff as the delivery man has a higher salary compared to the cost of charging and maintaining the electric robots. Reducing costs in the delivery process means that Amazon may decrease the shipping fee that consumers are charged, thus, encouraging more online shopping.
Further, environmentally conscious consumers may perceive the environmental friendliness of the robots as compared to diesel trucks valuable. Customers are gradually becoming mindful of the environmental impact of the operations of companies, thus necessitating the creation of green supply chains. Diesel trucks traditionally used in last mile delivery release greenhouse gases that pollute the environment. Amazon may capture the market segment comprising of environmentally friendly consumers that prefer to use products that have been sourced and delivered responsibly without adversely affecting the environment.
Robot technology enhances Amazon’s competitive advantage in the market. It makes the products more environmentally friendly, enables faster delivery, and reduces cost. The innovation creates value for consumers.
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