Amazon Europe: Logistics, Hiring and Leadership Principles

Former VP, Amazon Logistics Europe

Why is this interview interesting?

  • The evolution of Amazon's logistics operations in Europe
  • How Amazon has focused on logistics as central pillar for driving the success of its e-commerce activities
  • How Amazon's adherence to "lean" process thinking and process standardization helped the business scale more efficiently
  • COVID-19 disruption impact on the future of e-commerce Logistics
  • Four of Amazon's leadership principles in practice: Think Big, Invent and Simplify, Hire and Develop the Best, Bias for Action
  • Why having clear values and principles is critical when facing new situations effectively
  • The importance of structuring information and data in a way that everyone in the company can understand the metrics that matter
  • Why a narrative format for business reviews is powerful
  • The Pillars of Amazon's Hiring Process
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Executive Bio

Philippe Hemard

Former VP, Amazon Logistics Europe

Philippe has spent over 25 years developing end-to-end logistics systems from vendors to customers, including 18 years at Amazon.com. He joined Amazon in France in 2000 as Distribution Centre General Manager, moving to Amazon.co.uk (Scotland) in 2004, to support business growth within the UK. Philippe then took up several senior leadership positions in European Operations at Amazon EU Headquarters in Luxembourg, culminating in the role of VP Amazon Logistics Europe from 2015-18. Before joining Amazon, Philippe worked for Danzas (now DHL) in France. Throughout his career he has worked on network modelling, procurement and buying processes, inventory management, fulfillment management, and transportation network management. Since March 2018 Philippe has run his own consultancy business, holds several board positions and teaches Supply Chain Management and Global Logistics Strategy at university. Read more

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Interview Transcript

Philippe, great to be with you, welcome.

Nice to be here.

As we open up our conversation, could you share a little bit about what you’ve been up to, for the last few decades?

I’m an expert in logistics. I’ve been working in logistics all my life. I was lucky enough, in 2000, to join a start-up. It was five years old at that time, an American company, called Amazon. They wanted to open their business in France and they asked me to build their logistics in France. I spent 17 years in this company and ended up being vice president of the European supply chain and transportation. I worked at different stages, with Amazon, but only in the supply chain.

Could you give us a description of the end to end supply chain structure?

First, I will describe a bit about the end to end supply chain, not necessarily focusing on the Amazon way to look at the end to end supply chain. End to end supply chain could be multi-dimensional. It literally is, from the start of the product, wherever you put the start of the product, to the consumer of the product and all of the stages in between. Now it’s very commonly accepted where the end of the chain is and what the different steps are. Now you decide on the full process, to go further down in your processes, to understand.

Particularly now, we see the importance of this end to end, when you try to understand where your products are coming from and where is the beginning of the chain and even where the product or parts of your product are coming from, in order for you to get your product. That is the end to end supply chain. Understanding every single part of a product. Where is it coming from, how is it getting to you? How do you transform it and how is it going to be stored and distributed and, finally, being at the end, with the customer. Is it a store or it’s an online distribution, for example?

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Amazon Europe: Logistics, Hiring and Leadership Principles(April 20, 2020)

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