The days of manic rushing to Best Buy and Walmart before you’ve even had a chance to digest Thanksgiving dinner are over. In addition to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we now have Amazon Prime Day. Amazon Prime Day is a two-day event typically held in July where the masses are able to converge online to score obscenely amazing deals, with free shipping to boot, if you’re an Amazon Prime member.

Amazon first held Prime Day on July 15, 2015, as a celebration of their 20th anniversary. But, due to the staggering success of the event, it turned into an annual affair. You’d think such an event would be the busiest time of year for the massive shopping site but it actually only ranks in fourth place, after Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the lead up to Christmas. Despite its ranking, 2022’s Prime day saw record sales of over $12 billion. Due to such a high demand, it only makes sense that behind the scenes things are being kicked into high gear.

The entire enterprise is a Swiss watch of moving parts. The scope of work doesn’t sound like much when you think about the fact that Amazon already does all this on a daily basis. However, when you factor in the massive uptick in quantity of items sold, therein lies the difficulty. On average, Amazon ships out roughly 1.6 million packages per day, a mere drop in the bucket compared to the more than 300 million items sold on Prime Day 2022. And the effects of this surge across their operations are a perfect case study to understand many of the factors impacting supply chain volatility across the larger economy. Doing so makes the risks and opportunities within this volatility much more obvious to other vendors of any kind.

Demand Fluctuations

Forecasting is key to any business. But the sales on Prime Day are unique and buying patterns are often spontaneous. This makes predictions precarious because both overestimations and underestimations can lead to dissatisfied customers and lost profits. Skillfully walking this tightrope is as much art as science and explains why experienced supply chain experts are so in demand.

Logistical Capabilities

Amazon typically averages a little over $1 billion in gross sales daily. This means that the numbers from 2022 were almost 10 times what happens during a “normal” day. Companies can’t increase their footprint by 10 times for just a day or two every year, so how do they handle surges like Prime Day or Black Friday? The answer is that sometimes they can’t. Websites crash, orders get backlogged, products sell out and that can’t be helped. Twitter revels in highlighting these struggles. But the goal is to avoid it at all costs and many companies do so with careful preparation and nimble planning. When facilities and workforces are well-prepared, and plans are closely monitored issues can be addressed appropriately in real time, consequences mitigated, and customers end up pleased.

Communication is Key

Whether you’re the scale of Amazon or just starting to scale up from a company of one, no business can handle a 10x increase in daily business alone. It takes great partners to do so successfully, and it takes great communication to get great partners. Amazon takes collaborative communication so seriously that it’s driven a lot of their other business research. Now every business doesn’t have to develop their own version of Amazon Web Services, but they should all invest in tools that make communicating with partners easier and more accurate.

There is much more that impacts the supply chain, for Amazon or any other business, than what has been covered in this article. But focusing on these three areas of emphasis has shed a little light on why some companies don’t survive supply chain disruptions while others, like Amazon, are able to thrive. If you’d like to learn more about supply chain resilience and how you can make it a reality at our company, you should read our recent blog about it too. Have other questions about supply chain? Send them to our Writing Team and keep your eyes out for future blogs.

When COVID-19 hit, consumers and manufacturers alike quickly learned just how fragile the global supply chain was. They also learned just how important supply chain resilience is. Let’s talk about both now.

What is Supply Chain Resilience?

Supply chain resilience is the ability to withstand and minimize the effects of supply chain disruptions. It is planning and preparing for possible disruptions; the goal of which being fast response and recovery when those disruptions occur. It is not being invincible to interruptions but rather being able to overcome them without a big impact to operations and / or customer deadlines. But how is supply chain resilience accomplished? That’s a great question. Supply chain resilience is going to require big changes by manufactures in three key areas… technology, processes, and people.


Supply Chain Technology

Reviewing old technology, adopting new technology, and always looking for emerging technologies is critical. Technologies that help overcome supply disruptions include:

  • Real-time analytical tools
  • ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning software that manages the entire business from finance, human resources, manufacturing, supply chain, procurement, and more).
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Robotics or Automated Systems
  • Digital Manufacturing Systems
  • Cryptocurrency like the blockchain
  • Integration of systems and software across the supply chain including those from suppliers, warehouse systems, stores/customers, etc…


Supply Chain Process

New Forecasting Techniques:

  • Oftentimes, company forecasts focus on their own needs as it relates to demand. If demand is this, we need to do this. But companies need to dig deeper than that. Dig into what the supply chain looks like for suppliers, the demands and risks suppliers could be facing and how those demands and risks will affect operations.
  • Note: It’s very important to truly understand the products and goods that bring the most value to an organization. Build a commodity management strategy for these products which essentially allows for the management and coordination of all items related to these key products, including procurement, production, and distribution. This can be helpful when facing an inevitable disruption to the supply chain.

Build In Inventory Buffers:

  • Yes, it can be costly to no longer operate in a just-in-time fashion, but what’s even more costly is missed deliveries and lost customers when there’s no inventory.
  • Supplier Diversification: This could mean asking existing partners to supply parts from a wider variety of manufacturing locations, or it could mean adding in new suppliers with locations and processes different than that of current suppliers.
  • Note: To implement multi-sourcing, calculate the revenue impact of the disruptive event (i.e., natural disaster, global or localized pandemic) that occurred.

Nearshoring or Reshoring:

  • Upon first thought, nearshoring seems to be the opposite of supplier diversification. Many believe supplier diversification means offshore suppliers, but a diversified supply chain is one that focuses on companies locally, regionally, domestically, and globally. The local and regional level can be more expensive, but it also shortens both cycle and delivery times.


Supply Chain People

  • Build relationships with 3PLs and contract manufacturers. Diversifying partnerships with 3PLs is vital to the distribution of product, and contracting other manufacturers for the production of a product is important, too.
  • Upskilling: A manufacturer’s workforce is critical to surviving supply chain disruptions. A cross-trained workforce lessens the need to be reactive in hiring and eases challenges caused by supply chain issues.
  • Create a commodity management team and a supplier management team. These two teams understand supply chain to its fullest, its pricing (particularly as it relates to demand), and the general manufacturing market while also building great relationships with suppliers for mutual benefit in the future.

Enacting these tools takes time, attention and money in the short term, and it’s hard to commit to spending more money now for a potential risk in the future but the risk is ultimately worth the investment.

What do you think? Do you have any question? Feel free to reach me anytime at