Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
FedEx Ends Ground-Delivery Deal with Amazon (bloomberg.com)
229 points by dsgerard 71 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 226 comments

I guess this means more Amazon Logistics deliveries, which is really a shame because that service sucks.

Amazon keeps optimizing for speed but I think for most people they're fast enough already. And optimizing more in this one dimension could actually make the overall experience worse. I'd rather 100% reliable 2 day delivery than 85% reliable 1 day delivery but that's not where the trend is going.

Reminds me of how apple pursued thin devices until they broke a fundamental part of the experience (MacBook keyboard). Sometimes you're done.

As a customer I don't like this as I've had these guys leave packages in my driveway in pouring rain when the covered front deck was only 20 feet away. They also frequently deliver my packages to my neighbor's house and speed around like maniacs.

On a societal level it's a shame that jobs that could actually support a person or family are being replaced by hustle economy types. My own parents never went to college and have worked service jobs their whole life, but could still own a house and eat dinner with us every night. They even bought a computer when I was a teenager in the 90s. I think in today's world they'd be driving for Lyft all night and I'd have grown up in a different town with a worse school system.

"Your margin is my opportunity." -Jeff Bezos

Amazon put a flag on my old address to not use FedEx fulfillment because they had 100% failure rate. FedEx always managed to drop the package at a different but similar house number than mine (e.g. 698 or 588 instead of 598).

It was a single family home in a neighborhood of ~100 homes on 2 intersecting roads, so not really hard to find.

UPS, USPS, and Amazon had no problems finding my house. Even had a couple freight companies make deliveries on Amazon's behalf without issues.

I use to standby FedEx as my preferred shipper but they've really gone down hill since the early 2000s IMO.

> Amazon put a flag on my old address to not use FedEx fulfillment because they had 100% failure rate.

Amazon will let you do that with every other carrier EXCEPT Amazon Logistics. The only way to get them blocked is prove your home is a prison, military base, or have experiences so horrible they have pity on you.

I need to turn my apartment into a prison then.

It's incredible really. The Amazon logistics folks weren't able to accurately put packages into the parcel locker system at my apartment, and would constantly just leave them on the counter in the public area. This happened so much so that my apartment revoked their courier number to use the parcel system. The apartment management's idea: instead have them deliver directly to the door of each resident. As you can imagine, this has tanked successful Amazon deliveries to anyone in my apartment complex. I'm probably sitting at about a 66% success rate for getting my packages delivered AT ALL.

On the bright side, their customer service folks have added tons of $5 and $15 credits to my account because of how absolutely terrible their own courier service is at delivering.

For me it's a treasure hunt I never asked for.

- Was it left at my apartment door?

- Was it left in the 2nd floor mail room/lobby?

- Was it left in the 1st floor main entry/lobby?

- Was it left outside?

- Was it left in some side door?

- Was it left halfway between the 2nd and 3rd floor on a random stairway?

- Was it left in the office?

- Will I have to wait 3 more days so I can report it lost/stolen and try again?

So fun.

Not to get into the "Prime 1-day", which when I order three 1-day things at the same time means one shows up tomorrow, one the next day, and one the day after.

In my case they don't have access to the delivery locker (I am not sure why), so the packages end up going to the building leasing office. The office workers won't put it in the storage lockers, of course, so I have to go pick it up from their office during working hours.

I don't often finish work before this, so pick-up of these "One Day Delivery" packages are pretty much relegated to weekends.

I hope we close the loopholes that allows companies to take people that would previously have been employees and call them "contractors" and skirt all sorts of minimum wage, training, and safety issues.

You mean the loopholes that allow people to start their own business as contractors?

It’s a bit of a stretch to think of Uber or Lyft drivers like startup entrepreneurs.

I had a similar experience recently, and contacted Amazon. I talked to two separate people in two different departments, one that was supposedly a delivery logistics group. I was able to provide a statement regarding where to leave packages from now on. It's seemingly working so far, but we'll see what happens in a month or so.

I made a similar call after an Amazon courier recently left two packages on the roadside nowhere near my house (where they are normally left at the door).

They added instructions to my account indicating which door the packages should be left at. So far, about 50% of the deliveries have been at a different door, but at least they've made it to the house.

Honestly as someone who has delivered food, goods, etc finding someone's address can be difficult and sometimes down right annoying. Also consider that delivery drivers may not have full command English.

For example those nice looking cursive addresses instead of simple to read numerals are annoying.

Then there's missing numbers, or bad choices in color, or it's black and they don't have a light for it at night.

I think its largely due to globalization. Lots of the blue collar jobs went overseas. Thinking back I can recall all the transitions my employers did to adapt to globalization.

There is an ongoing monopolization trend of the entire world's economy, there is the recent phenomenon of overwhelming regulation of every market, there is an ongoing experiment of monetary distortion of markets to a level far higher than anything ever done before. Not to talk about bare corruption, that I suspect is at never seen before levels, due to large governments everywhere.

People are way too quick on pointing their fingers at automation and globalization. There is some evidence against those being the main cause of the current lack of low qualification jobs (that is worldwide, by the way).

I thought we were the only ones - they've left boxes sitting outdoors our apartment building even though they, like fedex and USPS, have codes to come in and put in front of our doors. What's even worse is that management put up a sign on the building entrance telling to put deliveries inside the building and they started leaving deliveries outside right in front of the sign.

The wealth you describe is now summarized as the “boomers” by the generation Z. Basically, the ability to be branch manager while typing with only two fingers (It won’t be possible to have such a career anymore with 7M people on Earth), while the kid struggles getting a flatshare after passing a masters’ degree. The generation that lived through full employment, bought a house for way less relative money than today, while all they left their kids with was govt debt and a polluted earth. All the while believing the Carpe Diem philosophy will “get you through tough times.”

I don’t even agree that much with those clichés (they had their sets of challenges, plus I’m Gen X) but it’s extremely important to remain aware of the various trends of the new generations.

Example with a popular symbol: https://www.bitchute.com/video/_16B2euF128/

Reminds me of how apple pursued thin devices until they broke a fundamental part of the experience (MacBook keyboard). Sometimes you're done.

Sometimes, you have to know when to get out to end on a high note. American television is notorious for this. Game of Thrones and House of Cards are recent examples. The American television industry is the one that gave rise to the proto-meme of "Jumping the Shark." (On the other hand, the Japanese anime industry is notorious for often leaving people wanting more.)

On the other end, Apple's biggest successes involved knowing when to wait, and when to move, so that they didn't release something which wasn't ready. Apple didn't release the first MP3 player. They didn't release the first smartphone or the first tablet.

So I doubt that Amazon is "done" at 2 day delivery. However, given my experience with new Amazon services, I'd say that they've created an incentive structure for internal groups to be first, even when they're not ready to the point where they somewhat damage the brand.

I thought you were going to talk about Television industrial design (not the shows) which is another product category that's getting ridiculous because it won't get flatter. It's even starting to abandon technology/design, which they've fully tapped for variation, and is trying to make into art work these days which I guess is the end goal of all product design assuming it maintains its full utility. Some people just want a TV not a 60" framed piece of art sitting in the middle of their living room.

Product differentiation for the sake of differentiation is always a dangerous game. Someone posted here the other day about "peak products" where the product reaches an ideal state which is an interesting concept!

The problem is an obsession with constant newness misses stuff like privacy, customer support, longevity, etc. But they care more about having a new flashy SKU for next season which looks different.

Edit: the Wikipedia for "Jumping the shark" is excellent, apparently from when Fonzie jumped over a shark in water skiis as part of a promotional gimmick on Happy Days. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumping_the_shark

not sure game of thrones is a good illustration of your point. once it became a juggernaut, they were locked into overshooting the runway that george rr martin had meticulously contructed over decades (but didn't finish) and disappoint fans.

if they had ended in season 5 with the material already written, none of the storylines would have been resolved. therefore, some amount of additional story had to be developed, so if you're doomed to disappoint fans, why not write 3 more seasons and make a bunch of money in the process? in a deadline-driven environment, no army of writers was going to produce a satisfyingly detailed and consistent ending to match martin's prior work (it seems even martin himself is having trouble with regard to the book series).

once it became a juggernaut, they were locked into overshooting the runway that george rr martin had meticulously contructed over decades

No one was locked in. You know what the Japanese anime industry does in this case? Sometimes, they draw out the story, so that entire episodes are taken up with just powering up. (Dragonball Z) More commonly, they just wait for the author!

Of course, the anime industry has the advantage, that the "way someone is drawn" can remain the same after a gap of 5 or 10 years, while human actors age. However, in 5 or 10 years, I don't think that's going to be prohibitively expensive anymore.

They didn't release the first smartphone or the first tablet.

Was there something before the Newton?

Yes, according to Wikipedia. Also, there's a reason why Jobs killed the Newton.

Amazon Logistics works just fine... when they're delivering to an Amazon Locker. I really get the impression that Locker delivery is 90% of what Amazon Logistics was built to achieve (since anything delivered to an Amazon Locker has to go through Amazon Logistics), and home delivery is just a sideline use-case that they haven't put much optimization work into.

I started getting things delivered to a Locker near my office because delivery to my apartment consistently sucked regardless of carrier (drivers never tried to buzz in; stuff always ended up at the post office or back at the delivery depot.)

Now that I've tried it I'm not going back. Just the fact that I can guarantee where the thing will be (no misdeliveries; no chance of theft from my front door), and pick it up immediately (no waiting in line) at any time of day (since the lockers tend to be street-accessible), makes so much difference.

And that's leaving aside the fact that I've never found anything delivered to a locker to be late (on the last-mile logistics side of things, at least.) In fact, as long as such a shipment enters the country on time, I've found it to arrive faster than its projected delivery time more-often-than-not.

Amazon has a solid experience with Logistics+Locker, but they haven't really marketed it very hard. Kind of surprising, really; the improved delivery experiences might do wonders for their customer retention at a time when fake Marketplace sellers are scaring customers away.

Do these lockers not exist in the US aside from the ones by Amazon? DHL lockers are everywhere in Germany.

No, other than some apartment complexes now have their own automated lockers.

I live in an apartment complex, and just yesterday my 1 day delivery was marked as delivered and "left in parcel locker", but it isn't in my mailbox (it is too big anyway), and I have no auto-email unlock code for the Amazon locker type service they have setup in the common area, but it was marked delivered on the website.

I have no way of giving feedback that the delivery drivers here are lazy and marking packages as delivered to keep up their metrics and then actually delivering them the next day. It is very annoying.

Contact customer service and tell them you didn’t get it. You’ll get some credit and if this keeps happening they’ll either do something or you’ll get lots of free stuff.

I agree they should contact CS, however I wouldn’t get my hopes up for credit or lots of free stuff. After many similar issues (caused by both Amazon & FedEx), and multiple hours on the phone w/Amazon CS, the best I ended up with was having them flag my account to avoid Amazon Logistics deliveries whenever possible.

Now they’re usually fulfilled by UPS, and I don’t recall any issues since having the flag added.

> the best I ended up with was having them flag my account to avoid Amazon Logistics deliveries whenever possible.

IIRC, Amazon.com customer support can only request the flag, but it can be denied. That's what happened to me, and I still get stuff delivered by Amazon Logistics.

At least their service has improved somewhat since then.

It usually always arrives the next day, so the package does come, just not on the day it is supposed to be delivered.

And if it happens often enough you'll get banned from Amazon for being an unprofitable customer.

If they don’t want to fix their shit and you don’t want to deal with their shit, then that outcome seems best for everyone involved.

Not if they're a retailer with 50% market share in the US, it may be your only option for some goods?

Do you have any examples? As far as I can tell there are plenty of viable alternatives.

I had a package that was marked as "handed to resident" yesterday even though I live alone, no one else has access to my apartment, and I wasn't home all day.

There should be a photo receipt of where the package was left: simple and easy verification.

Not always. The probability of me getting photo verification is inversely proportional to the value of the package.

My $2 item that shipped by itself? Photo. $1300 worth of PC build? No photo, no doorbell, nothing...

Except for the drivers that take a photo of the package at the doorstep, then take the package.

There wasn't. The package was at my door today however.

This sort of crap happens at least 50% of the time when I get something delivered by Amazon's delivery people. Those guys are just blatantly lying about when they deliver packages, and it is getting worse not better.

Very rarely ever have any issues with FedEx, UPS, or USPS. OnTrac is pretty garbage, but still better than Amazon Logistics.

I had a similar repeated experience and filed a complaint directly with Amazon by calling their support line and elevating it to logistics and implying that the driver might have stolen the package. I'm sure this is a well known tactic and that they log it as it gives them leverage against an unruly contractor.

One thing I “look forward” to seeing is safety as these Amazon trucks become more widespread. The ones in my area drive like absolute maniacs. Worst thing I’ve seen UPS and FedEx do is block a bike lane.

Many of those Amazon trucks are part of fairly small (compared to Fedex,) mom and pop delivery companies: they don’t have the years of process and training that Fedex has. They are essentially franchises.

Where I am there are Amazon branded eurovans that do a lot of the deliveries. They seem to drive alright, but tend to park in the middle of the street and block traffic. Also, the people that drive them aren't super sober all the time. I've nearly run over people that just jump out of the side door as I am trying to pass the van that is blocking the street. It's been a few times this has happened. Like, I know this job is not paying top dollar, and hence the drivers are not top notch. But I am more than willing to pay on par with FedEx and the like if that means that there are safer and more sober drivers in my neighborhood.

We have the Amazon-wrapped Sprinter vans in my area. I live on a dead-end and had to wait for these jokers plenty, yesterday one nearly ran a stop sign trying to make a small gap (really just a safety margin) between myself and another car. Thought I was going to be t-boned for sure... thankfully the courier stopped and only blocked the bike lane.

Don't worry though, they have high-viz vests so they're clearly safety conscious.

Wasn't Amazon encouraging some of their warehouse staff to go start doing deliveries with their personal vehicles? Even helping them with their own little 'gig economy' delivery setup insulating Amazon from liability for whatever they might do while still guiding their deliveries via a provided terminal?

The FedEx Ground trucks around here are also franchises, but I'm sure FedEx strictly enforces driver training, etc., since their name is on the side of the truck.

Amazon deliveries here recently transitioned from random guy's car to Amazon-branded vans. Maybe that will help.

The FedEx ground franchisees in W Central Fla are a dangerous menace. My development has a 20mph speed limit routinely flaunted @ 40mph: Without exception (we have speed cameras to prove it). Beyond, bicyclists are no obstacle.

If they were employees and shared liability with FedEx these issues might not exist. But they do exist, and if Amazon can do no worse it'll be a wash for pedestrians and cyclists. At least in this part of Floriduh.

Here's a video that explains a bit about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8f6CveRk4N0

tl;dw: people think they're going to be "Amazon Business Partners" more like you're another cost center being squeezed as much as possible

In my area the Amazon deliveries come in uhaul vans about 2/3 of the time.

In my area it is about split 50/50 between grungy old sedans loaded to the roof, and plain white Transit Connect vans. The latter seems to be increasing in popularity.

Here: Amazon Logistics by day, Uber by night. Just a guy in a normal Toyota Prius...

Yeah for my area it's about 70% UHaul, 30% shady looking unmarked van. Yesterday I saw for the first time a van that was actually one of those Amazon Prime vans they show in the photos on their website. It wasn't delivering to me, but I saw it driving in my area.

My last one (two days ago) was just a guy in an unmarked sedan.

I am sure it's abysmal. We finally received a settlement for the damage done to our parking deck when an Amazon delivery driver drove into our bright yellow solid steel clearance bar. The driver left before the police showed up. Luckily we got the plate number.

I placed an order with Amazon last week, on Friday. Just got free shipping, no Prime, nothing. It was delivered two days later, on Sunday.

Cool, thanks, but I really didn't need or expect it that fast, and I kinda feel bad for whoever may have had to work extra to get me my Friday order on Sunday...

On the other hand, the delivery driver who got paid to make that Sunday delivery may be grateful for the income.

... if incremental income is tied to number of deliveries. If the driver was contractually obligated to work that day anyway, and the incremental load simply increased the time at work without an increase in compensation, then maybe not.

I am not sure exactly how Amazon structures the pay for drivers, but even if it is time-based instead of package-based, there have to be >0 packages to deliver for the driver to get paid anything that day.

I hope so! Thanks for the alternate perspective.

If you have to deliver a parcel anyway, why delay?

In the UK Second Class post is just held back a bit. It isn't like it gets sent by pack horse instead of by truck.

Now you are a good sort, but your neighbour might be on the phone to them on Sunday evening saying 'I ordered this Friday, moan, moan, moan...' if it was not delivered so promptly. This would incur 20 to 30 minutes of customer service time and could possibly lose them as a customer, for them to write negative reviews and bad mouth the company.

It is less work to do deliveries really promptly and have no queue to manage. Don't feel bad for the people that work to achieve this, imagine how much more miserable they would be if they had a backlog, a veritable mountain of stuff to deliver on Monday, for them to not get it all done and to be going home fretting about it.

I am no fan of Amazon but I can see what they are doing.

It actually really annoys me when this happens. My building's mailroom is only open Mon-Fri, so despite the effort put in to deliver as fast as possible, I still can't receive it until the following Monday night.

If you don't need your package that fast, you can select a slower delivery option and Amazon will either give you credit for ether digital goods or Prime Now orders.

I think you're right (at least for me).

I wonder if Amazon is preemptively competing with AliExpress, Alibaba, etc. Once people realize you can get stuff _even_cheaper_ from the Chinese version of Amazon it's going to be really tempting to go there instead. Pretty much the only advantage Amazon has is that they're state-side and can compete on ridiculous speed (which is gonna be really tough for people on other continents to do)

>Reminds me of how apple pursued thin devices until they broke a fundamental part of the experience (MacBook keyboard). Sometimes you're done.

For me it was when they had to solder in the ram. As soon as you can't fix or change your own device, it's a device i don't want to own.

The trend for electronics is more integration. How do I change the ram on a solid piece of smart-glass that the Sci-fi movies are promising me?

You don't, but the smart glass of science fiction probably doesn't have an actual stick of RAM in it either. I think the point was that the ram is still being created as a separate unit and they didn't have to solder it, but did anyway.

I tried to get something delivered to my office (I work in a office tower in the downtown of a city). We have a loading dock, logistics team, etc. Normally Fedex, UPS, etc work out the details to get the code to access the loading dock, etc and the logistics team handles getting packages to me.

I got a call once from a Amazon guys saying he had my package, I went down to the lobby to see he was basically unloading a pallet of packages in our fancy lobby. Needless to say our logistics team has tried to work with Amazon to get stuff delivered right, but we still seem to have issues.

UPS and USPS are still mostly reliable for now. FedEx has not been reliable because they've already started to transition to 3rd party contractors a few years back. Many times FedEx shipped items are marked as "delivered" when in reality, the item is still at the warehouse.

Amazon Logistics is still a better option than OnTrac.

I've had a slightly better track record with OnTrac than Amazon Logistics, but they are both exceedingly terrible. Truly awful, both of them.

I have had the worst experiences with Amazon logistics. Packages marked as "can not deliver" at 930pm to a building with a front desk (two days in a row).

I asked them about never sending me something with Amazon logistics again and they indicated that they flipped a flag to remove it as a shipping method.

I wish Amazon would add a $1-3 variable shipping charge to 2 day shipping (which is already very cheap) which gets pooled and awarded to the delivery people based on performance metrics (complaints, delivery times, damaged packages).

classic HackerNews discussing how business is run. Elitist at best.

Reminds me of how mobile phones used to be huge and then they did everything possible to make them smaller until they were way too small and had to double back a bit. Now the same thing is happening with thickness.

> Reminds me of how mobile phones used to be huge and then they did everything possible to make them smaller until they were way too small and had to double back a bit.

Is this accurate?

I was reading reviews of the Game Boy Micro a few years ago (written when the Game Boy Micro was released in the early 2000s). Many described the product as "as small as a cell phone". I found this funny—it's significantly smaller than smartphones today—including the original iPhone, by the way, which wasn't small when it came out.

I'd say the trend has been towards larger phones as we've begun to use them more and more. If you use something most of your day, you don't mind so much if takes up more pocket space.

You may be right in terms of thickness, although I think it's too early to call that a trend.

I believe it to be accurate. If you look at the trend of phone sizes from the first mobile phones up to about 2008 they were only getting smaller. If the trend kept going you could easily create a mobile phone today that is way too small for all practicality.


Well, the trend kept going. Nowadays you can get pretty small feature phone, like the following one I just picked randomly from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/L8star-Bluetooth-Headset-Earphone-Sup...

I think it's really important to separate dumb phones from smartphones (and possibly both from "feature phones"). That phone from 2000 is a perfectly reasonable size for a device that only makes calls, and in fact, it would be nice if it were smaller.

Blackberries were never that small, and weren't trending downwards in a significant way.

What era of mobiles do you have in mind? From my PoV, (smart) phones are getting bigger and bigger up until they cease to become all that mobile. It's why I bought an iPhone classic (not iPhone X) just the other week after a decade of Android phones.

What era of mobiles do you have in mind

Probably in the early 2000's when small equaled good.

My wife had an LG phone that was so small it fit in the palm of my hand with my fingers closed. Sony sold a phone so small that it had a boom mic that swung down a couple of inches to pick up your voice.

I had a SonyEricsson t68i that was 4" x 1¾" x ¾": https://www.gsmarena.com/sony_ericsson_t68i-325.php

(EDIT: in re-reading your comment, I see that you're just trying to illustrate a point, and I'm going all pedantic. Apologies.)

I currently own a phone so small that it doesn't even have a keyboard[0]. When they get the thing to fit in my ear, then I'll start to worry that they're getting too small.

I'm being just a bit facetious, but in seriousness if voice-controlled AI can improve a bit, size might cease to be an issue.

[0] Apple Watch, and the only thing keeping from just ditching the phone is a. battery life b. Apple's use case they designed for is not "ditch the phone".

That makes it sound like they went too small and decided that was a mistake. What really happened was Smartphones came out. Which required a certain size just to support the UI. Then Tablets came out to bridge the gap between smartphones and laptops. So people could start using them for watching YouTube/Netflix or reading e-books. Then the Phablet came out. Which was a bridge between the phone and the tablet. So you could still watch movies and stuff but still fit the thing in your pocket.

Couldn't we just call this a natural way of refining the product?

>Amazon keeps optimizing for speed

I think they are optimizing for cost/customer satisfaction, not speed.

> I think they are optimizing for cost/customer satisfaction, not speed.

Ha! I'm pretty sure they're optimizing for cost and precisely as much customer dissatisfaction that customers can take before they leave for competitors. My experiences with Amazon Logistics have not been good. Their processes and staff are inferior to USPS and UPS at least.

Hey, at least Amazon Logistics is not UPS.

It's interesting to me that as Amazon and Walmart vertically integrate shipping, FedEx and UPS haven't responded by integrating fulfillment and warehousing.

It's interesting to me that as Amazon and Walmart vertically integrate shipping, FedEx and UPS haven't responded by integrating fulfillment and warehousing.

Actually, UPS does: https://www.ups.com/us/en/services/e-commerce/efulfillment.p...

"UPS eFulfillment combines the fast and reliable shipping consumers demand with the scalable inventory management your operation needs. We can store the products you sell and get them into your customers’ hands quickly. Our eFulfillment platform and bundled pricing helps you manage inventory, orders and costs so you can focus on growing your business."

I've read about that, but I've also heard it's not very competitive. I think part of the problem is that they always use their own shipping, whereas USPS would often be much much cheaper.

Read Uncommon Carriers, by John McPhee, which contains the essay "Out in the Sort" [0]. UPS actually does do some 3rd party fulfillment and warehousing. The essay doesn't go into too much detail, but I get the sense that they're targeting smaller volume, higher margin customers. I further get the sense that they're doing so on the basis of being able to deliver small quantities of an item anywhere in the country ASAP while keeping required inventory levels low (because they do the warehousing near their hub).

N.B. It's a 14 year old article at this point. Things may have changed.

[0] Or if you're a New Yorker subscriber: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2005/04/18/out-in-the-sor...

Read absolutely ANYTHING by John McPhee! He's the best nonfiction writer alive today, he can make anything into an interesting story. Oranges, canoes, geology, fishing...

Also his book on writing, Draft No. 4.

...people who create wildlife population estimates by cataloging the roadkill in Georgia.

UPS and FedEx are huge in logistics. Their world hubs are surrounded by warehouses


At least UPS does this. We've been offered it by UPS. The rates are insane and are not remotely competitive with Amazon or third-party options... but they exist.

The service is different though. If you use Amazon as your warehouse, on the lower tiers, you just ship inventory and they sort it by SKU .. for all stores! So some supplier could store a bunch of counterfeits with the same SKU, someone orders from your store, and your customer get a counterfeit (even if you've only shipped real products). .. This is one big reason most sex toy manufacturers won't sell to retailers that have Amazon stores.

I'm going to guess UPS keeps warehousing separate per vendor.

Amazon famously doesn’t really sort any of their inventory. It’s more efficient to place inventory randomly.


It also reduces mistakes in picking. It's hard to grab a size medium T-Shirt from the shelf above the larges by mistake if the shelf above the larges has lipstick and spark plug wires on it.

I don't understand this.

You have a product with a UPC. You have a picker with a UPC and a scanner. If the scanner scans the wrong UPC, the picker grabbed the wrong thing.

And yet I get sent the wrong item from Amazon multiple times per year. Ballpark of 1 in 20 orders. And not like I got the wrong order. More like I ordered spicy taco seasoning and receive regular taco seasoning. So a mistake that makes sense if you were matching on titles but why not match on UPCs?

Wow this is one of the most elegant and interesting things I've read in a while. This is absolutely genius. Amazing!

You can choose not to comingle your items. In this case you must relabel them with custom bar codes.

Amazon will only then use your items for your sales and not for anyone elses. Possible longer shipping times, etc. But I s always been possible to ensure correct items on the seller side with FBA.

Interesting, does Amazon do anything for damages when someone buys something thinking it is sold by you and receive a counterfeit?

You can easily use a different SKU if you want to avoid this.

Most people like to use the same SKU to get more exposure on amazon.com though.

Can the counterfeiter just copy your new SKU?


Great point.

If FedEx/UPS were to simply view inventory as packages awaiting an updated shipping address, and outsource a catalog service, they could easily compete.

Good god, if they did that and integrated with Square and Shopify, it would be amazing. I like to think if there are companies out there who knows quite a bit about logistics, it would be UPS and FedEx. Although someone else might need to bring the warehousing expertise.

C'mon XPO Logistics...

XPO Logistics has this service offering. It's called XPO Direct.

https://supplychain.fedex.com Fedex does this. Also in regards to another comment of yours, they also rate shop and use usps and etc.

I know FedEx does both.

They seem to be dinosaurs. If the UPS website is any indication, they're deeply dysfunctional. Mind you, they're both worlds above USPS.

I adore USPS. They are by far the most reliable carrier for last-mile delivery, at least in my city. And they have an added bonus that they can leave smaller packages in my locked mailbox. UPS isn't too bad, to be fair. But FedEx, good riddance. Usually takes two attempts for them to figure out how to get something on my front doorstep.

USPS won't attempt last mile delivery for me, requiring me to drive into town to pick up packages. The other two will deliver to my door.

Post office staff here are surly. UPS and Fedex drivers are bright and friendly.

Obviously it varies by location.

Same here. Rural area. Our mail carriers are contractors nowadays and even getting a properly addressed standard size envelope in my mailbox reliably is near impossible for them.

My experience is the opposite; I always get fedex and ups packages on time, but my local usps branch frequently delivers late and often claims they attempted to deliver a package when I was home and nobody knocked or rang the doorbell.

The primary function of USPS, as far as I can tell, is to deliver spam. For the privilege of occasionally getting useful mail or a package, I have to subsidize USPS by maintaining a box in my yard for them to fill with that spam.

Fwiw, junk mail isn't taxpayer subsidized, they pay a different rate. It's actually a profit center for USPS.

I have to subsidize them by maintaining the box so they can save labor and don't have to walk up to my door to deliver spam.

The spam is a profit center for the USPS, it's what allows them to deliver other mail cheaper than UPS/FedEx.

This must vary by location. My box was purchased initially by the neighborhood but is maintained by the USPS. My mom's house gets walk-up service with mail through a slot. Aside from buying stamps or paying to send a package, I have never directly subsidized USPS infrastructure. Excluding the punitive pension requirements Congress uses to make USPS look like a money pit, they'd probably be profitable.

In more rural areas there are not neighborhood boxes like that. Each person is responsible for an individual box by the road.

It amazes me that the environmental activists haven’t taken this up as an issue yet. The amount of spam I receive is enormous and there’s no way out.

As a Canadian, I greatly prefer USPS as it reaches my door by way of Canada Post.

UPS, FedEx and DHL will leave packages in the open, if they deliver them at all. I work from home, and often they would claim delivery attempt when no such attempt was made. If they do happen to attempt and a signature is required but I am out, the nearest pickup location is an hour away.

Whereas Canada Post always attempts, and if I am out they will leave the package at the nearest post office, which is a short walk away.

Maybe USPS would have more value if it weren't being run into the ground? Canada Post performs reasonably well, after all.

USPS is run like a private company while also having the burden of being a gov entity.

Canada Post is run like a private company while being a Crown Corporation. It makes a small and reasonable profit, and bizarrely, sometimes the Tories try to kill it because it profits.


USPS is a public utility that unreasonable people put for profit expectations on.

USPS is a public utility that unreasonable people in Congress put ridiculous requirements on.

A website is just a public face, it isn’t the product. Fedex has extremely sophisticated systems — they just aren’t written in React with pretty graphic design.

Have you tried, for example, the ebay/UPS integration? It's a disaster. It's expected by their customer support that while the UPS site shows the ebay credentials that they won't work for at least an hour.

Have you interacted with UPS's technical support on anything? They're a disaster, and aside from the example I mentioned have in the past waved off other bugs as being expected.

Have you tried shipping in general using UPS's website? You need to understand a lot about their system to really use it (for a simple example, the difference between "UPS account" and "having a working login under which you've provided your EIN").

Depends on the location. In NYC, USPS is far more reliable than UPS or Fedex. Just because they can actually get into buildings and leave packages inside.

Brooklyn tenant here, absolutely not. USPS misdelivers all the time. FedEx tends to claim to attempt to deliver a package, leaving a delivery tag on the entrance door (usually indecipherable). Their redeliveries are unreliable, and my package tends to be put in a locker outside a nearby supermarket. UPS is solid.

Funny how that is different in different parts of the city. I'm in Astoria and USPS is the only reliable carrier for my packages.

UPS is okay but they don't have the key so often can't get into the building.

Fedex just straight up lies about deliveries and often never attempts them. By far the worst carrier.

Not in my part of Brooklyn. Don’t even think about getting a package shipped to your home address in my zip code.

Oh I suspect they could just parner with a food delivery service and tap into all those gig economy resources. May even do a uber like service for deliveries, as with the volume Amazon has. They have many options. Certainly the whole gig economy aspect will be one in which ticks many company accounts departments as avoids so many direct employee costs. It's like having a direct employee, but at your beck and call standby without any standby pay and the responsibility you would have with outsourcing. The deniability and responsibility you can avoid as a business over having a full time employee are immense. Which is an issue that is only slowly being addressed. Until then, I'd be supprised if Amazon does not go down this route. Maybe even partner up with Uber or Just Eat. Amazon and Burgers at the same time anybody?

I do hope gig economy workers are given some fair and equal rights sooner, been some improvements in some countries, but its modern slavery of our times in the way so many businesses deploy it.

Amazon is already doing this themselves: https://flex.amazon.com/

Amazon even used to have a food delivery service that it recently shut down because no one knew it existed (https://www.amazon.com/restaurants/legacy).

On its face, this seems a little like sour grapes from FedEx. "You're going to leave us, so we're going to leave you first." While Amazon is _absolutely_ becoming a last-mile competitor—I see their blue vans all over the place now—they aren't there yet, and still worth 1.3% of 2019 sales now. Why not take the money and extend your runway to "reduce dependence"?

So then to answer my own question, I'd hypothesize that it's a combination of bad-deal economics (e.g., Amazon contract isn't that profitable in aggregate) and strategic focus to spend time and energy on the post-Amazon _future_ rather than the present. Which I get.

I was in this field for just over 15 years and specifically during the Amazon deal times. The idea was that Amazon was mapping the FedEx and UPS networks to clone. FedEx and UPS decided to take the easy money while Amazon was getting started (because they would get there anyway) and get out when it became more direct competition.

Amazon distribution centers started popping up within a few miles of the traditional players and it seems like that time to diverge is here.

This has been the plan for awhile and the timing with FedEx seems less sour grapes (to me) and more of a competitive jab.

> While Amazon is _absolutely_ becoming a last-mile competitor [...] thy aren't there yet

> Why not take the money and extend your runway to "reduce dependence"?

Maybe they're trying to catch Amazon flat-footed? Rather than waiting until Amazon doesn't need them anymore, if they drop Amazon before Amazon is ready, they might be able to get them to come crawling back on better terms.

You're on point about the strategic focus. Think long term, who these shipping companies want to align with: Target, Walmart, other companies with physical presence and a need to grow their e-commerce to compete with Amazon. By not renewing the Amazon contract you can focus on helping your long term partners and let Amazon deal with figuring out how to continue providing the same level of customer service with it's relatively young last mile delivery portion of shipping. And any bad Amazon customer experiences that result due to the last mile delivery damage their brand, and can result in lost sales, hopefully a gain then to one of these shipping companies long term partners.

I'd suspect that as Amazon's volume falls, the discounts and special treatment they've been getting cease to make economic sense.

Years ago I worked for one of Amazon's shipping operators, whatever we wanna call them, and the rumor was that Amazon had already squeezed contracts to the point that on their own merit these contracts were not or only barely profitable, depending on the math. It was said to be still interesting to have the contracts, for scale and reputation. But then it may just not be sour grapes for FedEx, but rather that the numbers weren't compelling them to stay in a relationship likely to be dumped from anyway, sooner or later.

I bet amazon exploited the weaknesses in the contracts...

Delivery to San Fransisco - amazon delivers. Delivery to an island off Alaska - Fedex has to take it for a flat rate that nowhere near covers costs.

We still can't see the top of the delivery market. Whether it's packages in boxes, food, or who knows what's next [1]. Both will also embrace autonomous delivery.

[1] I own a lawn mower. I use it once a week for an hour. Talk about a massive amount of under utilized capacity.

Lawns are under-utilized capacity. Mostly too small or poorly laid out (like, almost all front lawns, for instance) to be much use. A pain to maintain, and done individually rather than more cheaply and efficiently as a group. Every other house with a playset rather than having lawns half the size and a couple much nicer, maintained parks per block. They're absurd.

I understand your premise, but society is litigious for me to be willing to make a public accessible anything on my property. Little johnny falls off the slide or swing, and little johnny's parents sue me (or at least my home owner's insurance policy). I'm not willing to accept that liability.

I'm also not the type to consider lawn work a pain to maintain. Of course, I'm talking an actual yard, not the back 40. In fact, that's my guaranteed weekly bit of escape from tech. Once the yard is being cared for, a simple bit of mowing doesn't take that long. A few times a year, it takes an additional stroll around the yard with some fertilizer.

Cities can run parks, I'm not saying open up your lawn to others, our society's too batshit crazy for that. We have some city-run parks, they're just way less common than they could be with somewhat smaller lawns and part of the cost savings from smaller yards going toward park upkeep. Could have a house-lot-sized one every few houses by just squeezing the houses very slightly closer together, and could have huge ones every few houses with significantly smaller lawns. Every single house within a two minute walk of a nice park, maintained at a cost lower than maintaining all that space divided among a bunch of individual families.

Of course cities seem to quickly be abdicating care of common spaces to HOAs anyway, with neighborhoods and common spaces laid out by developers with little or no incentive to fix this problem—another part of the death of the commons and the atomization of civic life and the growth of "eff you, I got mine" generally—so I'm just pulling an Old Man Yells at Cloud here. Though this is literally why we can't have nice things, so it remains frustrating.

And indeed more and more communities are stacking houses nearly right on top of each other, but building an above average number of community parks.

I get it. It makes sense.


Personally, it's not for me, since

(1) I just don't like being gutter-to-gutter crowded. If I had my way, I'd see nothing but grass and tree, with not a single neighbor in a straight line of sight.

(2) I like entertaining family/friends in the intimate setting of kitchen/backyard rather than a public park.

(3) A park lacks certain things, e.g. a trampoline, which my kids love.

(4) My young children (ages 1, 3, 5) can't yet go to the park independently, even a nearby one, but they can open the back door to the fenced background.

(5) Same as #4 but pets (dogs, ducks, chickens).

Oh, I get the appeal of land. Country living makes sense to me, and appeals. Done that. I like dense, walkable 'burbs, with nearby stuff to do, too.

Not a fan of apartment living (at least not for a family) though I get why people like it. What I don't like and can't understand the appeal of are typical low-density-but-not-low-density-enough suburbs, though. Worst of both worlds—few or no things in walking distance, not enough space to do much with or keep the neighbors away, but enough you have to own some stuff to keep it up, and the neighbors mean you have to keep it up. Ugh. Unfortunately it's that or suburban apartments (now that may truly be the worst of all options) if you want decent or good schools, in our city. Schools in denser areas are mostly bad, schools in the country are mostly bad. It sucks.

There's a lot of people that want private property but can't buy as much as they'd like.

Weekly delivered lawn service already exists, though

It was simply an example. The point is, in any given garage, in any given home is A LOT of under-utilized capacity. The only reason it's there is you MIGHT need it at some point. But other than a fire extinguisher, what do you need NOW??!?

It I could get a table saw - or a lawnmower - delivered in an hour (or scheduled) - then I can begin to own/possess a lot less.

What if...(again, just spitballing, don't get stuck in the details of who, etc.) FedEx got into the storage biz? They warehouse your stuff and commit to delivering anything you have there for some fee. Let's face it, tons of people are storing TONS of stuff already. Often collecting dust I would bet. Maybe FedEx could offer to manage it in a "time share" sorta way?

With that service, the size of your high $ per sq foot residence (or office) can now be much smaller, less cluttered, etc.

Yeah, all this sounds weird, but so is AirB&B, Uber/Lyft, etc.

> Talk about a massive amount of under utilized capacity.

Totally with ya. I’m slowing turning my mom’s backlawn into a giant tomato, kale and eggplant patch.

Gotta figure out what to do with the lame Apple tree though.

You're not george washington, so no need to lie about chopping it down. I have no qualms chopping down under-productive fruit trees. Especially non-producing fruit trees like Bradford pear. They just like to fall down and damage your property. Don't even think about touching my 75 year old live oaks though! If you're going to eliminate a "lame" fruit tree for a much more productive garden space, I think that's a good trade.

And I can dry the apple wood and use it for smoking :)

Purchase a Husqvarna AutoMower. Then it'll mow, if you want, all day long every day. It'll be silent and your lawn will constantly be perfect.

At least three years to break even, versus paying for lawn service (for me, anyway), not counting opportunity cost from spending all that up front rather than over time. Gonna guess I'd spend more time fiddling with it than I do on lawn service (probably not more than a minute a week), plus looks like there's an installation process that'd take time. Limited warranty only lasts two years, not even covering the entire time it'd take to break even. Hard pass. Maybe when they're down around $750 and no less reliable.

[EDIT] plus the lawn service does edging. So. Really not competitive.

We won't see practical autonomous delivery for the foreseeable future, there are just way too many problems to solve before it's viable.

Buy a $40 mower next time if you are worried about wasted potential.

Interesting that Amazon is below (but presumably close to) 10% of UPS's volume, but only 1.3% of FedEx's volume.

UPS is enthusiastic about working with Amazon, but Fedex is not. Simple as that. Fedex is a gap-filling option within Amazon.

The affinity isn't surprising, given that UPS seems to be transitioning into another one of those "rando in a car" delivery companies.

I used to be partial to UPS - there was a time when I would jokingly refer to the 10:30 overnight delivery as my "alarm clock". After two separate bad experiences on one day (one overnight, one ground), that preference is gone.

That bad experience with overnight was entirely due to their new busted-ass call center where after arguing with a voice-response robot you get to argue with an outsourced human-robot who's only ability is to tell you everything they can't do. The local terminal called me back and took care of the problem, but that level of service won't persist behind a hostile front-line phone system.

The ground package was marked as delivered while actually being held over the weekend, presumably so the driver could meet some kind of metric - the same thing Lasership et al are known for.

It still amazes me how eager companies are to hollow out their core competency.

That bad experience with overnight was entirely due to their new busted-ass call center where after arguing with a voice-response robot you get to argue with an outsourced human-robot who's only ability is to tell you everything they can't do. The local terminal called me back and took care of the problem, but that level of service won't persist behind a hostile front-line phone system.

That call center isn't all that new, IIRC you've never been able to call the depot directly. The only reason you got resolution from a local employee is that their own metrics would look bad if your package went missing (and you reported it).

The problem wasn't the existence of the call center, but that it has been utterly crappified. First by a frustrating voice-interactive system that insists you figure out that you need to say you want to "track" a package (if I wanted to track a package, I'd go to the website!). Then secondly by a human-voiced robot that can only repeat the same unhelpful options you can access through other mechanized means.

The issue with the overnight was that I missed the delivery because I didn't even know it was coming (I actually didn't explicitly order it...). The last time this happened (years ago) I was able to call the phone number, hit 0, describe the situation to a person, and they'd swing back around. This time I was speaking to a droid who told me my only options were to redeliver Monday or pick it up at the depot during a one hour window on Monday. I argued enough that he left a message for the depot to call me to arrange a time outside of that one hour window. When the depot called me back they communicated as a human, and agreed to simply swing back around - the level of service that I'd expect for an overnight.

(I originally left the exact situation out, to avoid the inevitable "reDeLiVerINg iSN't iN tHEiR CoNTRacT!@!!" simplistic-myopic bullshit.)

The problem wasn't the existence of the call center, but that it has been utterly crappified.

What you've described is how I've always remembered it to be. When did UPS make it easy to interact with a human being?

I thought within the past 5-10 years? But I guess it could have been longer.

They did have the phone menus, just with numbers and probably "0" still worked. I really hate these "natural voice" things - it's clearly still a limited set of options, so don't pretend to ask me for a free form response only to then shoehorn me into a narrow set! That only guarantees that by the time callers reach a "human", they're already frustrated.

Why isn’t FedEx enthusiastic?

Because FedEx knows that Amazon is planning on being a competitor to them.

Amazon Delivery (or some name similar to that) will eventually handle warehousing, fulfillment, transshipment, drop shipping, and last-mile delivery. Delivery is such a large expense to Amazon, it only stands to reason.

UPS presumably believes that they can compete with that. Maybe they can. Or, possibly, they believe that they will be purchased by Amazon in the future.

Yes, it is coming (google Ship with Amazon) but UPS will be fine.

In much the same way Amazon has a head start on other e-commerce firms, UPS has on Amazon. They have been customer-obsessed in one of the hardest spaces (Meatspace logistics) for literally 111 years. This kind of thing is extremely difficult to get right, and Amazon has a long, long way to go before they can compete with UPS.

Coming? Nearly all packages in my area (Grand Rapids, MI) are now delivered by Amazon.

Which is super annoying for me, I live in an apartment complex, they used to almost exclusively use USPS where I live, and they have a system where they put a key in your mailbox, etc.

Amazon's deliverers are literally random people - after talking to one myself it became apparent that they barely even require much English (I'm only complaining because that makes it harder to communicate - I don't care if they speak english or not but if it's impeding their one job - delivering a package, then I'm kinda erked)

Since it's never the same person, the standards are wild. Sometimes the package is left in my garage, sometimes by the front apartment door (you have to be buzzed in)[0], sometimes they're by my specific apartment's door [1]. Other times they take it to the rental office.

Amazon really needs to figure this out, this isn't the only apartment complex in the city.

[0] https://i.imgur.com/6GcPI7N.png [1] https://i.imgur.com/9RuceQj.png

EDIT: Also sometimes they call when they can't get inside, sometimes they just leave it outside, sometimes they don't call or ring the buzzer and just say "Couldn't deliver". It's wildly inconsistent.

I was picking up my mail at my apartment complex when an Amazon delivery dude asked if I would let him in (the apartment requires a key fob to open doors to get access to the building). I told him he can just leave his packages at the leasing office like the other carriers do. He said his instructions say to leave the packages at the apartment door, so I told him maybe the people at the leasing office could help him out.

Back at my apartment, as I'm about to be at my door, I see the guy again, he's hitched a ride up the elevator as someone else let him on, and he's asking me where apartment #### is, I pointed to the sign by the stairwell with a map of the building.

The dude didn't seem very good at his job, and the fact that Amazon is instructing their delivery people to circumvent building security to leave packages at people's door is concerning.

> the fact that Amazon is instructing their delivery people to circumvent building security to leave packages at people's door is concerning.

Oh, I'm sure that Amazon never instructed delivery agents to ignore building security. Instead, I expect they just passively incentivize it.

For example, the delivery agent might have been able to mark the package as undeliverable, but in turn they may have had to pay a penalty if more than a threshold of deliveries could not be completed as directed. It's not an instruction to trespass to deliver, just ignorance of what it takes.

In a functional delivery system, there'd be a way for knowledge like this to percolate back up -- the delivery agent would mark the package as undeliverable, and then the courier company would investigate the situation and ultimately refuse to accept deliveries for door-delivery in that building.

However, Amazon's current structure makes this functionally impossible, and a rotating cast of contractors makes even the knowledge-acquisition step impractical.

After selling on Amazon for a few years, I can say this sounds exactly like something they're probably doing.

Amazon's delivery drivers are more similar to Uber/Lyft drivers. They get minimal to no training and simply follow instructions via the app. Some of them have documented the experience on youtube and it's worth a watch. They often have to accept the route with minimal information.

You’re talking about amazon packages. I’m talking about all packages in the entire world.

Not disagreeing that they has a long way to go here, but Amazon beats 100-year-old companies on their core competencies all day, every day. I'm not sure the history will save UPS in the end.

True. However, I feel that UPS has the customer obsession factor that other 100 year old companies don’t.

See, for instance, the parent headline. UPS is fanatical about delivering packages and is therefore willing to work with a doomsday competitor in huge volume. This in contrast to Fedex who will not.

True. However, I feel that UPS has the customer obsession factor that other 100 year old companies don’t.

Sadly UPS customers aren't the people receiving the packages. I've never dealt with a company that makes it as hard to interact with a real human being as UPS. Not even banks, government agencies, etc. come close. This wouldn't be a problem, but every time UPS screws up it's a colossal effort to get UPS to correct their mistakes.

UPS routes my package from the regional distribution center in the Bay Area to Massachusetts on a same day flight? Great, it's going to take ANOTHER WEEK to get my package because UPS doesn't guarantee delivery time on ground shipments even when UPS is 100% at fault.

UPS delivers my package to the wrong address (different than above, different hub)? Yeah that only took like 2-3 hours of wading through overseas call centers where they kept claiming the package was left on at my front door before they realized they sent out a rookie driver who couldn't read house numbers. Unfortunately once you wade through the IVR you're routed to customer service people who are programmed to tell you whatever they can to get you off the phone.

UPS has a "signature required" package that I've been waiting all day for (they keep sending invalid "My Choice" verification information so I have no idea when I'll be blessed with a delivery)? Driver just lobs it at the door without even bothering to ring the doorbell.

I have one address that I receive packages at sometimes, it's about a 15 minute drive from a distribution center but for reasons unknown they route packages from the distribution center in a different county about an hour away. This means packages arrive at unpredictable times and if I miss a delivery or they screw it up, I've got to go well out of my way to sort it out.

UPS may be obsessive about something, but from my POV it's not delivering packages. More likely cost reduction is their main concern.

That's actually an interesting take. Before Amazon became huge, UPS already started having regional warehouses that stored tons of reseller items for fast delivery. Seems Amazon has wasted a lot of money if the end result was trying to buy out UPS.

Amazon logistics is very much a thing in Europe, the UK at least. I would say about 2/3rds of my parcels in London are handled by actual Amazon contractors rather than the other options, such as Royal Mail which would be the closest USPS equivalent.

To be fair, they innovated a tonn in the space so they can beat FedEx with their insane efficiency.

In my personal experience with Fedex while living in multiple cities, it seems like they aren’t enthusiastic about residential deliveries at all. Delivering to the wrong address, throwing fragile items over a fence, putting packages in hard to find places, etc. Never had any of this with UPS and also have had really good experiences with FedEx Freight.

I have to agree with you on that. I received a package this week and it was just unbelievably bad service. Compared to the Swiss Postal service fedex is in the stone age.

First package didn't arrive but a notice of final delivery attempt (was the first). They claimed the package doesn't fit in the mailbox and my "business" was closed.

Delivery notice has no QR code or quick way to access your shipment. Instead you need to type "fedex.com/ch_deutsch/mypackage" into a browser and then enter your tracking number, email and phone.

You are then presented with either having the package redelivered or delivered to an alternate address. No option to pre sign for the package or inform the driver where to put it.

If you want to pre sign the package you need to fill out the back of the delivery notice, sign it and make a photo which you send to switzerland@fedex.com. The notice will then be hand processed and you will be asked for the tracking number which is not on that side of the notice nor is there a field to fill out!

Tracking information is also completely wrong. Package is stated to be re-delivered on Tuesday after missed delivery on Monday however end of day no redelivery was attempted. Tuesday night I change the delivery address and I'm told package will be delivered on Thursday. Package arrived on Wednesday morning.

Best part. Package is actually a letter and fits in any mailbox :-/

> it seems like they aren’t enthusiastic about residential deliveries at all

That is actually the case: Fedex started as an overnight delivery company and only got into Ground in order to round out their service. Ground is actually based on a network of independent companies branded as Fedex Ground but I believe almost no one in that division actually works for FedEx the corporation (compared to the original FedEx Express which is all corporate employees).

Compare to UPS which has always been ground-first delivery network and then got into overnight long after FedEx proved it could work.

Interesting. In my city it's UPS that I found to be unreliable, most often by marking things as "undeliverable" without actually bothering trying to deliver them.

At one point I actually got an email notice that they just tried to deliver a package and nobody was home despite the fact that I had literally been reading a book on the front porch for the past 3 hours. Nobody came by.

I've heard a lot of similar stories, and I wonder two things:

1. Is some of that volume bad addresses or poor wayfinding? Something about how the delivery person ended up at the wrong location and didn't know where to go, versus bad actors.

2. Why haven't delivery companies cracked down on this? Maybe they have, but I still hear about it a lot.

> Why haven't delivery companies cracked down on this? Maybe they have, but I still hear about it a lot.

I don't know about the American package delivery space, but assuming it's somewhat resembling the German one (sub-sub-subsidiaries, work days until 11pm, because you've got a quota etc.): because it is impossible to fulfil the quota. So you get creative, fill out some "did not open door" papers and hope you can get around to delivering them the next day.

And it's impossible to fulfil the quota because that's directly profit. So companies can choose between abysmal service (but still not so bad that customers would leave, because everyone is playing that game) and lower profits. They have zero incentive to "crack down".

> Something about how the delivery person ended up at the wrong location and didn't know where to go, versus bad actors.

That's still a "bad actor." A driver is ultimately responsible for knowing the area they're delivering to. Wayfinding is a very convenient crutch, but if it fails and the driver has insufficient local knowledge it's still a skill failure.

> 2. Why haven't delivery companies cracked down on this? Maybe they have, but I still hear about it a lot.

Because their contract is with the shipper, rather than the recipient. Even a complaint from the recipient is more a PR problem than an economic one.

Moreover, a recipient who accepts redelivery or goes to the depot for pickup doesn't even impose a significant additional cost on the delivery company.

I had a similar rough patch where things were marked delivered or undeliverable for them to show up the next day almost like the delivery person was faking deliveries to shuffle their numbers around.

>putting packages in hard to find places

I'm pretty sure this is performed as a courtesy to the recipient to limit theft.

> I'm pretty sure this is performed to avoid liability and replacement due to theft.

When you deal with a huge customer like amazon (or Walmart) you have to be willing to accommodate them a lot and accept low margins while you get high volume. Some companies want to do that and others don’t.

It's better for your business to depend on many customers than on a few large customers, I'm guessing.

Rule of thumb: a healthy company should still be profitable after losing their largest customer.

If it isn't, then the customer has way too much leverage.

Would you be enthusiastic to partner up with Jeff Bezos on something like home delivery? He's going to squeeze you until you beg for mercy and that's the point he'll roll out a competing service and start to take your best customers.

Not sure if their models have changed, but FedEx is more focused on express delivery. UPS is broader on all package delivery.

What could be more express than prime same day or next day?

I guess you could say they are focused on retail express, where you can charge a poor schmuck an arm and a leg to deliver something overnight, instead of getting paid peanuts for Amazon, but for some reason I don't think that strategy is viable long term.

Just like how AWS started as an internal Amazon service, Amazon delivery is very likely to turn out to be a standalone competitor to Fedex and start serving non-Amazon deliveries.

> UPS is enthusiastic about working with Amazon

That's true, most of my Amazon shipments are forwarded to UPS.

A majority of my amazon orders come by USPS via whatever UPS calls their postal handoff service. I'm not in a big city so I've never seen an Amazon delivery vehicle.

That is due to Amazon's contracts with UPS to ship a certain percentage of shipment volume in order to lock-in given shipment cost rates that are below retail prices.

Amazon also keeps relability and transit time metrics on all of its shippers. I would guess that UPS has historically provided more reliable delivery for lower cost compared to FedEx, thus the volume shipping agreement with UPS.

> Amazon also keeps relability and transit time metrics on all of its shippers.

I wonder how reliable those metrics are. I've repeatedly been told by Amazon support that I need to wait for about 24 hours before complaining about a missing package, incorrectly shown as delivered. Sometimes the package has indeed shown up later, sometimes not.

But if couriers get a 24 hour grace period after marking a package as delivered, the aggregate reliability/transit metrics can't be very credible.

They're not really comparable services though. FedEx focus is on time sensitiveness deliveries (over night/2-day/etc) as well as fast international deliveries. Ground is a major part of their business, but it's still secondary. UPS primary focus is ground, with overnight there to stay competitive.

Does Amazon have minimum contracts with UPS? Seems like they wouldn't if they're below 10%.

Not sure of this is related but I live in Mexico and I've only had problems when I receive Amazon US orders via Fedex. The last one happened just a few days ago when Fedex tried to charge me the taxes that I had already paid.

I live in the USA and I'm not a fan of fedex. The last couple times something was delivered by fedex the guy in the truck had to call me to get directions - and it isn't hard to find my home. And then it is always a guy in a rental moving truck not a fedex truck which seems weird.

I wish they'd call for directions. Instead they go to the wrong place, can't find the house, and return back. The next day, they do it again. And again. The managers said they have no control over it. That's not a delivery service. That's just idiots with a truck wasting gas.

Same here. Fedex uses a third party to deliver to my house.

I find it amazing that people that deliver stuff do not use Google Maps to get to an address.

This has been true for a few weeks in many Amazon regions. Even as a prime customer, my one day shipping options, which were previously handled by FedEx, are completely gone. Best case shipping is now USPS two-day here.

I recently lost the one-day Prime shipping option too... seems to have happened sometime around the early June announcement [0] of "expanded" one-day shipping for Prime customers.


I used to work for FedEx (ground and smartpost) Corporate. They would take volume just to fill the hubs at little to no profit. I can't imagine that the amazon deal was very lucrative. As a side note I don't think people realize how small FedEx is compared to UPS. UPS is like maybe 4 times the size.

Just for reference: -FedEx: 41.208B -UPS: 98.159B

Since they are global companies, maybe UPS is 4x bigger in the US. This is not trying to refute anything.

Yeah. that was what I was told by a manager. UPS looks about double the size now: https://www.diffen.com/difference/FedEx_vs_UPS

The only thing worse than Amazon delivery is FedEx. The idiots can't find a road that's almost three years old and constantly attempt to deliver packages to the other side of the city. It has led to numerous problems. Calling doesn't help. The next day, they repeat the same mistake. And the next. And the next until the package is finally sent back. Managers there can't help and they never fix their system. Too bad other retailers think this is still a viable option, a delivery service that can't find an entire street. The pizza delivery guy doesn't have a problem and neither does ups, usps. Amazon's own delivery has similar issues but they seem to have corrected after a few tries although they have other intractable issues.

I'm kind of amused by this news. Based on my (consumer/addict since 1997) experience, Amazon's logistics is ruthlessly efficient and also easy to troubleshoot when things go south (extremely rarely).

FedEx quality of service has been pretty abysmal over the last 5 or so years. I always get a pang of terror inside me every time I see a notice that an item will be shipped by FedEx. I've had all kinds of nightmare experience with them (refusal to drop package at the entrance of the condo building is the least of the problems). Let's just say, I reached out to their CEO at some point, escalating the issue with a box repeatedly failing to deliver (because they were trying to deliver it anywhere but my place). I have no love for them and I think if/when Amazon decides to commoditize their logistics (just like they commoditized their web services into AWS), they will drive FedEx into the ground.

So yes, IMHO despite the whole "I dumped you first" attitude, this is an evidence of Amazon's strength and Fedex's loss.

I don't remember the last time FedEx delivered an Amazon package to me (it HAS happened, but been a while). Mind you the last like 15 packages I've gotten (guestimate) were all from Amazon's own delivery service minus one third party seller that went USPS, so this doesn't surprise me. Just wonder how much longer they even use UPS (I think for some non-prime deliveries they'll still use USPS because they're an efficient system for that).

I am run a consulting company for Amazon suppliers[0] and honestly "felt" that FEDEX pricing was too good to be true.

Fedex was probably net-negative on the deal.

We often saw examples where multiple pallets worth of inventory was cheaper to ship through fedex ground small-parcel. That doesn't happen with UPS.

[0] https://www.andersonassociates.net

Sometimes early is not important but on time so amazon customers' don't have to change their other schedule.

How can Fedex breakup? I thought Amazon had upper hand in this.

I would be curious if Amazon is using Fedex for its deliveries which are the most expensive to perform (rural area) while delivering all the lowest cost deliveries themselves (urban areas, a few miles from the distribution center). Fedex maybe losing money on every delivery.

This is the real reason. It's the same parasitic approach Amazon has to its 3rd party sellers that are basically doing its price discovery and are promptly replaced if some goods sell well by either making a deal with the producer themselves, undercutting them or by making an "almost-clone" and selling it under Amazon Basics or another label they own.

If the margins are very low then at some point relationships are not worth maintaining.

Perhaps due to the volume, Amazon was trying to negotiate rates that FedEx felt were not in its interest.

My guess: Walmart.

makes sense. Amazon has built out their network pretty well.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact