Amazon Launches Relay App to Improve Trucker Efficiency
Amazon.com has quietly launched an app designed to help delivery drivers get in and out of its warehouses faster, according to CNBC. The app, called Relay, debuted late last month and is available on Apple and Android devices. Drivers enter cargo information into the app, allowing them to check in with a QR code and get through the security gate, avoiding the manual process of badging in. At some facilities, Amazon has built special Relay lanes, according to the app page. While Relay may have a narrow application today, it serves as the first connection point between Amazon and potentially millions of truck drivers, a job that's become one of the most common in the U.S. Amazon is reportedly looking into other services as well, including an app that would match truck drivers with cargo shippers, according to Business Insider.
Total Retail's Take: Relay is Amazon's first attempt at automating the truck delivery process, which is error-prone due to its reliance on phone calls and paperwork. In addition, about 80 percent of cargo in the U.S. is transported via truck. By automating this process, Amazon believes truckers will become more efficient, ultimately resulting in orders being delivered more quickly to customers. Amazon has made no secret about its quest to become a logistics and transportation juggernaut. Over the past couple years, for example, it has purchased thousands of trailer trucks, dozens of cargo planes and minority stakes in two cargo airlines for its Prime Air Service. Amazon also launched new delivery services like Amazon Flex to do package shipping on its own. What's interesting, however, is that the Relay app was never really announced by Amazon; CNBC spotted the the app and reported on it. While Amazon often launches new services without a public announcement, the retailer may be keeping quiet about Relay to fix some technical glitches. Its Android app has fewer than 5,000 downloads and a mere 3.5-star rating, with one reviewer saying it has "a lot of glitches."