The proverb stating that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link is about to be tested. In this case, it’s the supply chain, as parcel delivery drivers are being stretched to the limit and their unflagging efforts are no longer taken for granted.
As a result, the healthy growth in e-business supported by Japan’s parcel delivery network may be disrupted as a result of an increase in fees or the curtailing of services in the near future, the Shukan Gendai warned on 4 March.
Currently Amazon.com, Inc.’s Japan operation alone fills about 200mn orders per year. But a looming shortage of personnel may seriously cut into its business. Exacerbating the pinch are special members’ services that promise same-day delivery or, in the case of some products, delivery within one hour of receipt of an order.
From 2005 until 2013, Amazon Japan had used Sagawa as its main delivery agent, but then shifted to Japan Post, which operates as a private entity. The Sagawa drivers couldn’t handle the work, and Japan Post employees don’t seem to like it any better.