When the pandemic drove everyone behind closed doors, the e-commerce world was transformed overnight. As in-person shopping became daunting, Amazon found itself in the middle of a maelstrom of orders for everything from work-from-home gear to toilet paper.
Alicia Boler Davis was one of those at the center of the online retail giant's operations. She started in her role as vice president of global customer fulfillment just one year earlier, after nearly 25 years at General Motors. Overseeing more than 175 fulfillment centers across 16 countries, Davis had to try to confront the challenges of the spike in orders while managing worker safety.
As the company sought to keep up with demand while both international and domestic freight capacity became overwhelmed, Boler says she and her team worked to change their logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third-party seller processes to keep up with demand while working to mitigate risk.
That led to a $4 billion investment in safety-related initiatives, helmed largely by Davis, while working to keep supply chains viable and distribution consistent — and managing on-site operations remotely. The investment came amid unrest among workers over their safety on the job.
Davis tells Business Insider that as the pandemic stretches on, she plans to stay focused on “doing everything we can to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees.”
“I am also spending more time anticipating where new issues may surface, and trying to get ahead of them to the extent possible to ensure we continue to support our employees and customers,” Davis says.
In late August, Davis was appointed to Amazon's senior leadership team, making her the first Black woman to become a senior vice president in Amazon's 26-year history. Her addition to Bezos' prestigious inner circle comes as a major symbol of the company's push for more diversity and inclusion on the executive level.