Amazon’s Order Fulfillment: Efficiency Through Inefficiency

Is Amazon’s shipping system spectacularly efficient, or woefully inefficient? The company’s success has come from getting items where they need to be as quickly and efficiently as possible. Reader Jesse sent along an illustration of exactly how this efficient inefficiency works: the windshield wiper blads that he got for his car last week.

Efficiency in action

Efficiency in action

He writes:

This is just silly and not anything major.

I ordered some new wiper blades for my vehicle off of Amazon. The driver and passenger side take a 24″ and 21″ blade respectively, so I had to buy two different models.

Amazon had each one in different warehouses over 500 miles apart, so I will get my drivers side blade from Kentucky tomorrow, February 6th, while the passenger side blade which was shipped out of Pennsylvania will arrive on Thursday the 7th.

Why keep the whole set of wipers in stock in the same warehouse and ship them together when you don’t have to? There will be an extra box to recycle, but Jesse got his new wipers that much sooner.