retail news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  The Seattle Times writes that "in his first letter as CEO of Amazon, Andy Jassy maintained that when it comes to worker safety, Amazon is simply average.

"'Our injury rates are sometimes misunderstood,' he wrote. Amazon is 'about average relative to peers, but we don’t seek to be average. We want to be best in class'."

The Times notes that a recent report "from a coalition of labor unions — the Strategic Organizing Center — analyzed data Amazon has submitted to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and found that in 2021 the rate of injury at Amazon warehouses went up about 20%. Compared with other warehouse workers, Amazon employees needed about 19 more days to recover from injuries.  The serious injury rate at Amazon warehouses in 2021 was 6.8 per 100 workers, compared to a rate of 3.3 per 100 at non-Amazon warehouses, the SOC report found.

"In his letter Thursday, Jassy said Amazon actually splits its workforce into two categories when comparing itself to other industry leaders: its warehouse workers and its courier and delivery service.

"Amazon’s injury rate was higher than its warehouse peers — 6.4 versus 5.5 — but lower than its courier and delivery peers — 7.6 versus 9.1."

Jassy wrote that "we’ve been dissecting every process path to discern how we can further improve.  But, we still have a ways to go, and we’ll approach it like we do other customer experiences — we’ll keep learning, inventing and iterating until we have more transformational results.

"We won’t be satisfied until we do."

I've been arguing here for a long time that if Amazon brought as much innovation to its distribution facilities and labor relations as it does to so many other of its businesses, it would be transformative - not just for Amazon, but for many businesses that would instantly have to change in order to measure up.

Maybe Jassy gets it.  I hope so.