In Silicon Valley, one of the best sayings goes: Better to disrupt your own company, before someone else does it first. That may be the strategy in play with a new Amazon initiative called Amazon Flex.
The program, which hasn’t been publicly announced by Amazon, was discovered at a facility in Kirkland, Washington and appears to involve either crowdsourcing deliveries by recruiting local individuals willing to take on the task, or allowing you to pick up your own packages.
In a photo at the facility, revealed by GeekWire, a sign reading “Amazon Flex” is shown, along with the message:
Please take a ticket located behind you. Please look for your number on the top corner of the wall on your left. Proceed to pick up your package once your number is displayed.
Behind the sign are about seven people who appear to be sitting outside of a warehouse entrance as another person stands in the background working on a laptop computer. Situated on the wall behind the group of people is a visual guide titled “Proper Badge Wear,” with a diagram indicating how a person should wear a badge (possibly a quick way to remind crowdsourced delivery people how to show up when delivering packages).
Outside of the facility, another Amazon Flex sign is shown, which instructs visitors to “go inside and follow the green line.” Full-time workers probably wouldn’t need such guidance, so the idea that this is directed at part-time, crowdsourced workers appears to make sense, based on visuals alone.
Nevertheless, the waiting area could simply be for customers to take a number and pick up their own packages. Amazon already has a network of lockers at 7-Eleven stores where customers can pick up their own deliveries.
The report that surfaced the images speculates that the program could also be a part of Prime Now, Amazon’s one hour delivery service.
Although details about Amazon Flex are scarce at this point, reports surfaced back in June that Amazon was working on a crowdsourced delivery app that would compete with the likes of TaskRabbit and Postmates.