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Harper Adams students discover how cool tech and big data support Amazon’s mission

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20 February 2019

Students and staff at Harper Adams University had the opportunity to hear Mark Hemming, Regional Director, Customer Fulfillment at Amazon UK, talk about their mission to become ‘the earth’s most customer-centric company’. Speaking to a full house, Mark discussed the work of Amazon and the cool technologies that make their fast customer response times achievable.

Mark contrasted Amazon’s humble beginnings (when staff used doors for tables to save money) with the global player they are today with over 600,000 Amazonians employed. The complex management of the supply chain and the importance of the customer were the focus of his talk; from videos of robots moving shelving to the picker to the role of big data in understanding and anticipating customer demand.

Students asked a range of questions covering lead time and cost reduction, sustainability, innovative engineering, physical stores and drones. Speaking after the event Mark observed, “This was a real pleasure and thank you for the turnout of both students and staff – these things are worthwhile when you have an interested audience, and the questions were great!”

Student feedback has been positive too; Oli Tomson, BSc (Hons) Business Management with Marketing Year 4, commented, “Thank you very much for organising today, Mark is a very interesting man! The success Amazon has had over recent years is quite remarkable and having the opportunity to listen and ask Mark questions was great. I am looking forward to coming along to the next one!”

This talk organised by Jane Headley, Principal Lecturer and Business Course Tutor, is the start of a new Harper Business Plus range of activities with termly guest lectures and regular student focused events around entrepreneurial activity and support for business start-ups. Jane added, “Harper staff work hard to help our students apply their business knowledge to the real world. The placement year is a big part of this but the role of guest speakers sharing current industry experience is also vital in helping students make connections and see the bigger picture.”

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