AI-Based Software Automating Mundane Workplace Chores

Artificial intelligence is making its way into the workplace via the back office, automating tasks in accounting, billing, payments and customer service, and is capable of scanning documents, filling out spreadsheets and checking accuracy of records. In early projects, AI bots are following simple rules, observing and making yes-no decisions rather than high-level choices. Bigger things are coming, especially from tech companies like IBM, Microsoft and Oracle, which partner with robotic automation startups. Continue reading AI-Based Software Automating Mundane Workplace Chores

Amazon to Launch Small Delivery Companies for ‘Last Mile’

Amazon is expanding its package delivery business in an interesting way: it’s inviting interested parties to form small delivery companies of up to 100 drivers and to lease between 20 and 40 Amazon vans. In this way, Amazon can quickly expand its “last mile” delivery network into turf now dominated by FedEx and United Parcel Service. The company says it is merely responding to the need to handle an increasing number of orders on its platform; analysts estimate that more than $4 of every $10 spent online is on Amazon. Continue reading Amazon to Launch Small Delivery Companies for ‘Last Mile’

Department of Transportation Selects 10 Drone Test Projects

The U.S. Department of Transportation selected 10 local, state and tribal governments to test drone commerce in partnership with Intel, Uber, FedEx and Qualcomm, among others. The Integration Pilot Program, promoted by the Trump administration to speed up approvals of longer-range unmanned flights, has enthused drone companies, including startups such as Flirtey and AirMap. Notably missing from the list, however, is Amazon, which has a project in development to deliver packages to people’s homes. Continue reading Department of Transportation Selects 10 Drone Test Projects

Amazon in Talks on Bank Product with JPMorgan, Capital One

According to sources, Amazon is currently in discussions with JPMorgan Chase and other banks about creating a product similar to a checking account aimed at a younger demographic. These early stage talks may not result in anything tangible, and are not intended to turn Amazon into a bank. What the product would do is further integrate Amazon into its customers’ lives, from Whole Foods, Kindle, Alexa and its website. The new product would also potentially cut fees Amazon currently pays to banks and provide more customer data. Continue reading Amazon in Talks on Bank Product with JPMorgan, Capital One

Amazon Plans to Launch New Delivery Service for Businesses

Amazon plans to launch “Shipping with Amazon,” a delivery service that will start in Los Angeles and cater to the independent merchants that sell on its site. The company intends to expand the service to additional cities and businesses over time. But analysts conclude that Amazon would have to spend tens of billions of dollars, and buy thousands of trucks, hundreds of planes and create thousands of sorting centers to scale out to the national level and handle millions of packages daily. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Launch New Delivery Service for Businesses

Amazon Takes Control of Delivery, Cutting Out UPS and FedEx

Amazon’s quick delivery of groceries, cleaning supplies and other products is now expanding into a trial whereby consumers buy directly from merchants, with Amazon providing the latter with lower delivery costs, warehouse inspections, logistics software and recommendations. By doing so, Amazon shifts the burden from its own warehouses. In the process, however, it cuts out United Parcel Service and FedEx, both of which would have picked up the parcels from merchants’ warehouses and delivered them to customers. Continue reading Amazon Takes Control of Delivery, Cutting Out UPS and FedEx

Amazon Taking More Delivery In-House, Rivaling UPS, FedEx

Amazon is getting ready to rollout Seller Flex, a new delivery service it has been testing in India for the last two years. With the service, more products will be eligible for free two-day shipping. Sources say this will not only ease overcrowding in the company’s warehouses but also shift more of the delivery functions away from its long-time partners United Parcel Service and FedEx. The confidential U.S. pilot project is taking place in West Coast states, with a wider rollout planned for 2018.
Continue reading Amazon Taking More Delivery In-House, Rivaling UPS, FedEx

Major Cyberattack Hits 150 Countries, Could Keep Spreading

A cyberattack impacted computer systems in more than 150 countries over the weekend. The weapon used to initiate the attack is believed to be based on recently published vulnerabilities stolen from the National Security Agency. The attack, one of the largest ever, took over computers, encrypted their files and demanded payment in Bitcoin of $300 or more. Among the major institutions and government agencies impacted were FedEx in the U.S., the Russian Interior Ministry and Britain’s National Health Service. The attack also hit smaller venues, such as a car manufacturing factory in Romania owned by Renault. Continue reading Major Cyberattack Hits 150 Countries, Could Keep Spreading

Amazon’s Free Shipping Casts Shadow Over Smaller Retailers

As Amazon rapidly expands its free shipping, retailers are struggling to compete, looking to a range of fulfillment companies to help offer faster, less expensive delivery options. Amazon Prime provides two-day shipping on millions of items found on its site. Shipping companies such as FedEx, threatened by Amazon’s reach, have targeted smaller businesses, from startups to midsized national chains, that can’t compete with Amazon, Walmart and other big retailers spending billlions of dollars to speed-up delivery. Continue reading Amazon’s Free Shipping Casts Shadow Over Smaller Retailers

Amazon Unveils Plans to Build New Air Cargo Hub in Kentucky

Amazon is taking the next step in expanding the transportation and delivery side of its e-commerce business, and lessening its reliance on carriers such as FedEx and UPS. The Seattle-based company announced yesterday it plans to build an air cargo hub for its growing fleet of aircraft. The facility, expected to create more than 2,000 jobs, will be located in Hebron, Kentucky at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport. According to insiders, Amazon aims to transport and deliver its own packages and eventually branch out to other retailers while competing with traditional carriers. Continue reading Amazon Unveils Plans to Build New Air Cargo Hub in Kentucky

Amazon is Quietly Building “One-Click-Ship” Global Delivery Biz

Although rumors are swirling that Amazon plans to open a global shipping and logistics operation to compete with both FedEx and United Parcel Service, the company’s chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said that Amazon is merely looking to supplement its shipping partners during busy periods such as Christmas. But Amazon might actually have more ambitious plans than Olsavsky is willing to admit. A 2013 report targeting Amazon senior management actually proposes a major expansion of its Fulfillment By Amazon. Continue reading Amazon is Quietly Building “One-Click-Ship” Global Delivery Biz

UPS and CloudDDM Experiment with New 3D Printing Service

Atlanta-based United Parcel Service recently rolled out 100 industrial 3D printers at its hub in Louisville, Kentucky. UPS is testing whether 3D printing centers could impact supply chains and its transportation business — or prove advantageous for a new local production and delivery market. The company is proceeding cautiously; it does not want to see 3D printing cause a similar disruption to how the Internet undercut overnight document deliveries. The project is being run by Atlanta startup CloudDDM with plans to add another 900 printers next year. Continue reading UPS and CloudDDM Experiment with New 3D Printing Service

New Shyp Service Reimagines How We Package and Ship Items

San Francisco-based startup Shyp — “the easiest way to ship anything” — is aiming to simplify the shipping process. Rather than packaging an item and finding the cheapest company to ship with, the user simply takes a picture of the item to be shipped and adds the address. Within 20 minutes, a Shyp courier arrives to pick up the item and hands it off for another person to do the work. The app is meant to be a cheap and efficient way to ship items without doing any work. Continue reading New Shyp Service Reimagines How We Package and Ship Items

U.S. Postal Service to Slash Prices for E-Commerce Retailers

To be more competitive, the U.S. Postal Service will cut its prices by as much as 58 percent on certain Priority Mail packages for retailers shipping at least 50,000 packages per year. Both UPS and FedEx believe the price cuts are an unfair way for the USPS to gain an edge in the e-commerce business. Amazon and USPS already have a partnership to deliver on Sundays, but the two organizations are teaming up again to test grocery deliveries in San Francisco. Continue reading U.S. Postal Service to Slash Prices for E-Commerce Retailers

Companies Look to Meet Demand for Faster, Cheaper Delivery

According to a recent Harris poll, 14 percent of respondents and 25 percent of millennials would accept an added fee for same-day delivery of online purchases. The mean price these consumers are willing to pay is $13.90. Customers want faster, but affordable delivery, so startups are taking on the traditional infrastructure approach of Amazon (involving warehouses, vehicle fleets and full-time employees) by rethinking operations and, in many cases, turning to crowdsourced workers. Continue reading Companies Look to Meet Demand for Faster, Cheaper Delivery

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