Amazon encourages diversity, inclusion and equity in the workforce and recruits people from diverse backgrounds to build a supportive and inclusive work culture.
It has always been a matter of great pride for Amazon India that our team members come from diverse backgrounds. In the case of Arun Kumar Singh, General Manager of Operations (Logistics) at Amazon India, we have a veteran who has served this country before turning to building our logistics operations. In fact, between a decade in the Indian Navy and nine years at Amazon India, Arun Kumar is nothing short of a veteran in Operations management now.
Ahead of Career Day, we caught up with Arun Kumar Singh, where he recollected his journey.
I was deeply involved in anti-piracy missions, and I flew close to 2,000 hours in the Navy
“I started out in the Indian Navy in ships as a trainee, and later moved on to Aviation, where I was part of a Maritime Reconnaissance squadron as an Ops Officer. I planned operations with Indian Navy Ships, Air Force, Army and foreign Navies. I was deeply involved in anti-piracy missions, and I flew close to 2,000 hours in the Navy,” he says.
From defense to logistics
Arun Kumar grew up as a defence kid, as his father served in the Indian Army for 32 years. The day his father retired, Arun Kumar was selected as a Commissioned Officer in the Indian Navy. After a decade in the Forces, he did a course in Operations Management IIM-Lucknow. He was then recruited to Amazon India, which was a team of hardly 25 at the time.
He helped launch our very first Last Mile Delivery Station in Mumbai, back in 2013. Since then, he has helped set up Amazon operations across the country, and now leads Middle Mile Operations for Amazon’s South, Central, and East regions.
Arun Kumar’s principle is simple: “If we truly own everything we do, we will deliver high quality results.”
According to Arun Kumar, his time at the Forces has given him valuable lessons – which he puts to practice in his role at Amazon. “At the Forces, we call a spade. Nothing is hidden, everything is transparent because lives depend on it. This quality helped me a lot in my formative years at Amazon. We were building the organization from the ground up and it was very important to know what will work, what won't, and be transparent about break points,” says Arun Kumar.
We need to listen to our team, probably allowing them to take decisions on their own at times
The other factor, he continues, is team spirit. “In the Navy and at Amazon, it has been important to be a team player, especially in operations. One cannot win a situation or deliver results on their own. We need to listen to our team, probably allowing them to take decisions on their own at times.”
Also, he stresses the need for technology for efficiency in operations – at the Navy and at Amazon. “People won’t scale beyond a certain limit. You need to know where that ceiling lies, and you need to bring in tech before you hit that ceiling.”
Looking back, Arun Kumar believes that staying calm in the face of challenges is another lesson he has learnt from his time at the Navy. He says that losing temper and berating one’s subordinates for mistakes would not help in finding solutions.
It is important to respect everyone you work with. Dissociate a person’s failures from them
“Also, it is important to respect everyone you work with. Dissociate a person’s failures from them,” he says, adding that failures are our best teachers and that we must learnt from them and move ahead.
Before signing off, he shares another word of wisdom: “Every problem has two types of solutions. One is scrappy, quick, and the other is more sophisticated, tech driven, scalable. We need to work on both simultaneously. We should not sacrifice one for the other.
Under its ‘Military Veterans Employment Program’ (MVEP) Amazon India has partnered with the Office of the Director General of Resettlement (DGR) and the Army Welfare Placement Organization (AWPO) to create continued work opportunities for military families across the country. Amazon relates to and respects the principles and work ethics of those who have served, and believes they have the ability to think big, invent and simplify on behalf of its customers.
Amazon India is organising its first ever Career Day on September, 16. This virtual and interactive event will bring together Amazon leadership and employees to share what makes Amazon an exciting workplace, what is it like to work here and how the company is steadfast in its commitment to help India unleash its true potential in the 21st century.