October 19: Amazon’s Correction of Error Mechanism (Part 1)

Identify the issue, measure the customer impact, ask questions about how it happened, and generate action items to ensure the error never happens again.

Suggest a topic for a future fact.

Source: Dave Anderson, Scarlet Ink
Published: June 2021

Amazon’s Correction of Error Mechanism (Part 1)

Human error is inevitable. Amazon uses a mechanism called correction of error (COE) which identifies the issue, measures the customer impact, asks questions (the 5 whys) about how it happened, and generates action items to ensure the error never happens again.

Example: a large server failure takes down the Amazon.com store

  • Issue: Site went down for US customers on the east coast. 

  • Customer impact: 3 hours of outage, 501,430 customers could not place orders, $39M estimated loss in order revenue

  • 5 Whys: Asking “why” 5 times is a method for root cause analysis from the Toyota Production System. We’ll give example questions and answers tomorrow.

  • Action items: Who is responsible for making changes and by what date. More on this tomorrow.

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