After 17 years as a senior leader at Amazon, Doug Herrington took on a new role as CEO of Worldwide Amazon Stores in 2022. He now leads teams across the company, including Amazon’s online and mobile shopping experiences worldwide, global operations and fulfillment, Prime, Amazon Grocery, Amazon Business, Selling Partner Services, and Amazon Health Services. Since taking on the new role, one of his top priorities has been to meet regularly with teams around the world to share his perspective on the business, reinforce his vision for the Stores organisation, and learn from and connect with employees.
Herrington recently traveled to Japan and met with leaders across the Amazon Stores organization. His visits included five Operations sites around Tokyo, where he often focused on Kaizen, a Japanese word that means continuous improvement.
It's a mindset that for many years has driven innovation across Amazon’s operations network. In an Instagram post following his trip, Herrington shared that Amazon uses the word to describe a formal process that empowers employees to take ownership over a work flow, or a defect that they believe can be fixed.
In addition to visiting Operations sites, Herrington participated in a discussion with Senior Vice President of International Stores, Russ Grandinetti and other Stores leaders. When asked how the team should prioritise its work, Herrington emphasised keeping the focus on the customer.
“The Japan team is doing a great job of keeping the customer in sharp focus,” he said. “Over the last 18 years, I’ve witnessed firsthand how important selection, price, and convenience is to our customers around the world, and it remains at the center of what we do.”
The two leaders stressed the importance of teams from across regions learning from each other, which Herrington described as a mindset of “learn anywhere, apply anywhere.” He also encouraged teams to take bold leaps forward, to challenge long-held beliefs, and to think about how small changes now can improve the customer experience 10 years in the future.
“I would love people to go back to the child’s mind, asking why is everything like that?” he said. “I’m seeing some of this in our Operations network, when it comes to regionalisation. I’m seeing it in our search space, with some big, fun experiments. But we should all be asking, about everything we work on, does it have to work that way? Could we rebuild this thing from the ground up? And if so, can we go build it?”