Amazon’s VP of Customer Fulfillment & Global Ops Services told CNBC that the company is particularly focused on leveraging AI to cut down on delivery times.
The ecommerce giant says it’s going to use artificial intelligence to aid with “regionalization” – ensuring inventory is being delivered locally, rather than shipped across the country. AI can analyze huge amounts of customer data, which can then be used to predict future product demand.
This is just one of many ways that Amazon is implementing AI throughout its business infrastructure and product range, from its customer support and service to its virtual home assistant, Alexa.
Amazon Focused on Cutting Down Delivery Times With AI
This week, Amazon's customer fulfillment chief Stefano Preregro told CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal that utilizing AI to work out precisely where to put all of Amazon’s inventory is a “key focus” for the company.
Simply put, the closer the distance between the product and the customer, the quicker it’ll be to deliver items from door to door, Prerego explained.
He revealed that almost three quarters of products being ordered by customers on Amazon are sent from warehouses within their region.
Within the delivery process, the company is also using AI to help with route planning, which is often impacted by changing weather conditions.
Robotics: The “Other Side” of Artificial Intelligence
Before ChatGPT was released, if you asked the average person which jobs would be replaced by artificial intelligence first, they would probably have mentioned manual labor roles, such as warehouse work. In other words, physical and repetitive jobs with little variation.
OpenAI’s chatbot emphatically changed the conversation after showing itself capable of completing various aspects of the average knowledge worker's daily workload, barely leaving a single sector untouched.
The gradual robotization of Amazon’s order fulfillment infrastructure is a reminder that the AI revolution knows few bounds. Preregro told CNBC that 75% of the orders the company processes are now handled “in part by robotics.”
How Else Is Amazon Using Artificial Intelligence?
Order fulfillment isn't the only part of the business harnessing the power of artificial intelligence. For instance, Alexa – the company’s virtual home assistant – has more than 100,000 available “skills” that can be used to adhere to a variety of user commands on the fly.
The ecommerce platform has also utilized artificial intelligence to deal with customer service queries for some years now.
In 2020, a post on Amazon’s Science blog described how the company had begun to use “automated agents that use neural networks rather than rules” for customer service.
“These agents can handle a broader range of interactions with better results, allowing our customer service representatives to focus on tasks that depend more on human judgment.”
Although most of the focus may be on Google and Microsoft’s AI chatbots, Amazon’s rich history of implementing AI within its infrastructure positions – for both physical and ‘mental' work – could put the company in good stead.