Opinion: Biden Should Take Amazon’s Offer To Help With COVID-19 Vaccines – Here’s Why


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Vaccinating the American population against COVID-19 may be the biggest and most urgent public challenge of our life, more focused and urgent than fighting terrorism or winning the race to the Moon. The complexity can seem overwhelming – supplies are limited and unpredictable, current doses require extreme cold chain logistics and then rapid delivery once thawed, and then patient follow-up and follow-up injections to get started. And there is no single authority, even with the interventions of the Biden administration, we likely have a hybrid system in which the federal and state governments share responsibilities alongside business partners, such as pharmacy chains.

To navigate that complexity and uncertainty, we need a clear plan for success combined with intense operational discipline. We need something like Amazon’s relentless focus on customer satisfaction. And although Amazon AMZN, -0.50% has never handled such a complex task, we believe the federal government should accept the company’s offer to help with vaccine distribution. This is because Amazon can apply its culture of relentless operational discipline combined with its Work Backwards approach. That approach starts with the desired outcome, targets customers, and works methodically to make it happen. This approach to innovation is what sets Amazon apart from other US companies with excellent rapid response logistics networks, such as FedEx FDX, -0.57% and UPS UPS, -0.85%. Think 2004. Amazon had established itself as an e-commerce powerhouse and decided to expand into new areas. Over the next several years, he developed the Kindle e-reader, AWS cloud computing, Fire TV, and the Alexa / Echo voice assistant. The company had minimal experience with digital media devices or computer hosting. And there were many well-capitalized companies in those areas (Microsoft MSFT, + 0.26%, Samsung Electronics 005930, -1.33%, Oracle ORCL, -0.08%) that could have pioneered those categories. So how come Amazon came in first and still has the largest market share for those products? At the time we were executives at Amazon and saw the Working Backwards system in action. Here’s how it worked: Every product development team, whether on Kindle, Alexa, or another article, had to write an imaginary press release (PR) that explained all the useful features of the product and why customers would gladly pay for it. the. The team was not limited by what the company could currently accomplish. You would then write a memorandum, in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), explaining how Amazon would manufacture and deliver such a product at an affordable price. Once the team got its PR / FAQ approval, it would work methodically to obtain the necessary capabilities. From manufacturing to content licensing to marketing, most of those capabilities were new to Amazon. However, the company succeeded. By keeping teams disciplined around the end goal, the PR / FAQ process allowed them to innovate much faster than seemingly better-placed rivals. True, Amazon had its share of flaws, too. With Fire Phone, Amazon failed to enter the established mobile phone business. The process is not foolproof. If you don’t identify an important customer issue to resolve, as was the case with the Fire Phone, your product will fail.

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San Martín Press

That’s not all that Amazon would bring to the vaccine effort. You have the technical expertise to ingest large amounts of data and turn it into useful information. Vaccine distribution will require combining census information and vaccination guidance along with real-time data on the availability of cold chain resources and certified technicians to administer vaccines, and then deciding on a plan for each region and each day. . It has the storage and delivery capacity to reach virtually every home and business in the US Amazon also excels at creating easy-to-use websites to guide customers to action. State and local governments are fighting to create websites that allow citizens to schedule vaccines. Elderly and disadvantaged citizens without access to the Internet need the ability to schedule immunizations over the phone. Amazon has software engineers, AWS resources, and customer service call centers ready to help out. We tend to idealize innovation as a series of brilliant ideas and smart execution. But success depends as much, if not more, on relentless operational discipline. That, more than anything else, is what Amazon does best. Now read: To speed up COVID-19 injections, Massachusetts is testing a student vaccine corps, Colin Bryar worked at Amazon from 1998 to 2010, where he was technical vice president and served as technical advisor to Jeff Bezos. Bill Carr was at Amazon from 1999 to 2014, where he was vice president of digital media, among other positions. They are the authors of “Working Backwards: Insights, Stories and Secrets from Inside Amazon.”