Our Focus on Continuous Improvement
We want to empower our associates in their workplace through process improvement and input on how our sites are run.
We continuously work to streamline our processes and eliminate defects. Doing so drives a better customer experience, including faster delivery and lower costs that enable us to lower prices for customers. We use many systematic methods to make work processes easier and more efficient, including the "Kaizen" program, named for the Japanese term meaning "change for the better." For example a team at one of our FCs recently developed and implemented a process which enables the fulfillment center to use a double decker truck instead of two conventional ones. Thus we were able to reduce truck traffic by 250 runs a year, which led to a 40% reduction of ejected gas emissions.
Through the Kaizen program, employees participate in small teams to identify waste and streamline processes. In 2014, more than 2,300 associates participated in 725 Kaizen activities.
We have established multiple avenues to listen to and respond to our associates and they have many ways to influence their working environment; for example, our Gemba Walks, Connections engagement surveys, Kaizen, our Open Door Policy, our voice of associate boards, our associate surveys, problem solving and focus groups or quarterly All Hands meetings which all associates attend.
By providing the opportunity for constant feedback we promote an open dialogue at any given time. We talk openly, we listen, we respect and we care.
We strive for continuous improvement, and we understand that our progress depends on good execution and good judgment from thousands of employees. Together, we're working hard to make sure that we are better tomorrow than we are today.
Technology at Work
Over the past 20 years, Amazon has developed from a small seller working from a garage to a thriving European network of 29 fulfillment centers in seven countries. In 2015, we shipped over 1 billion units to our many customers across Europe. Today, our associates get to work in technology enabled environments where the technology is used to improve their processes and assist them doing their daily role
15 years ago we introduced the random stow and pick approach. At this time this was perceived as totally counter-intuitive to how warehouses were traditionally run (not storing toys with toys and books with books) but today it has proved that it is an efficient and time saving way of working for our associates.
In October 2015, Amazon unveiled its eighth generation fulfillment centers in Europe, which include robotics, vision systems and almost 20 years' worth of software and mechanical innovations to fulfill our customers' orders.