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Amazon operates with an approach it calls “working backwards” as well as a focus on high-quality customer service. Its management focuses on 14 leadership principles and seems to be suitable to the challenges it faces. Even though reports indicate that some employees have concerns regarding their workplace, the overall attention to people inside and outside the company is adequate.
As a competitive approach, Amazon uses a combination of price and non-price advantages, while its distinctive feature is a focus on high-quality customer service. This virtual store offers a wide range of items and emphasises its obligations regarding the quality of the products it sells, which is highly valued by customers. The internal operations of the company are also focused on this approach and include trust in external suppliers and network distributors (Stone 2013). Within the company, the emphasis is on the idea that within a few years, today’s shopping centres will disappear forever and be replaced by virtual shops. An improvement in technology and the reliability of deliveries are the key elements of Amazon’s approach.
As for the approach to product development, the company applies an approach called “working backwards,” according to which it starts with the customers’ desires and expectations, and offers them what they want. The Well-Architected Framework, released in 2015 allows for collecting feedback from various customers. A range of improvements introduced by Amazon subsequently aims at ensuring security, cost-effectiveness, reliability, and performance efficiency (Barr 2016). Amazon strives to continuously enhance its performance. For example, it has developed a significant cloud architecture, and it offers free training courses to employees, thus promoting efforts to provide the best offers to customers.
Amazon’s goal, which has not changed since its creation, is to attract as many customers to its website and sell as many different products and services as possible. Thus the paramount goal is not to become the largest participant in any market, but to become the largest electronic store where one can purchase everything. The organisation strives to achieve this goal for the long term based on a clear plan of action. The company’s management seeks to ensure that customers enjoy shopping, and it has proposed 14 principles of leadership that involve customer obsession, curiosity, hiring and developing the best employees, thinking big, frugality, a bias for action, etc. (Leadership principles 2017).
But some of these principles and the company’s management style, in general, have pushed employees to sabotage, feeling stressed, and doing more and more, as noted by a report in The New York Times (Kantor & Streitfeld 2015). However, Jeff Bezos, the founder and the current director of Amazon, rejects these contentions, claiming that the company creates the most comfortable conditions possible for its employees.
In particular, he calls the report anecdotal and encourages employees to read it carefully and report to HR managers or directly to him if such cases actually occur (Wagner 2015). Bezos argues that the management practices described in the article cannot be true, as it would be impossible to create an innovative and sustainable business under such conditions. Indeed, in comparing the articles cited above, it seems that Amazon operates in an exceptionally well-organized manner and that it also cares about its employees. Perhaps several similar cases did occur, yet their number seems to be small. More to the point, after the publication of such a report, Amazon would be likely to pay closer attention to its management principles.
Amazon is the second-largest company after Walmart in terms of hiring employees, including office employees, salespeople, seasonal workers, and other staff for various positions. The company’s attitude towards employees focuses on the fact that only small groups can succeed. In this regard, Amazon does not have a particularly complex vertical hierarchy in management, and the organization consists of the work of small groups.
When selecting personnel, the company’s HR managers carefully examine every candidate and select only the best ones (Bort 2017). Employees take part in all discussions and meetings, gathering together and exchanging opinions and comments that they have recorded in the process of their work. These notes are important, as based on them, employees are able to learn others’ opinions.
The company is also sensitive to corporate social responsibility and the environment. Over the years, Amazon has been working on conserving resources and helping to change the daily lives of people for the better. For example, it invests in forest and energy preservation.
Thus Amazon’s approach to its operations presents a clear vision of goals and strategies. In general, the company’s management may be evaluated as adequate yet not fully transparent. People at Amazon are valued and treated well to motivate them to achieve great performance, yet some cases of mistreatment also exist.
Barr, J 2016, Well-architected, working backward to play it forward. Web.
Bort, J 2017, ‘Amazon now employs over half a million people, and it plans to hire thousands more’, Inc.. Web.
Kantor, J & Streitfeld, D 2015, ‘Inside Amazon: wrestling big ideas in a bruising workplace’, The New York Times. Web.
Leadership principles. 2017. Web.
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Stone, B 2013, The everything store: Jeff Bezos and the age of Amazon, Random House, New York, NY.
Wagner, L 2015, ‘Jeff Bezos responds to ‘New York Times’ report on Amazon’s workplace’, National Public Radio. Web.