You’ve probably seen one driving along local highways or on the streets of your neighborhood. Amazon Prime’s delivery vans are everywhere.
The online retailer launched its delivery service partner program about a year ago, hoping to hire individuals to deliver locally and build their own businesses as an Amazon Delivery Service Partner (DSP). For Milton Collier — a veteran who worked in the military for decades — getting his business “TranMazon” started in Lawrenceville was like riding a bike with training wheels.
“My job was pretty simple,” Collier said of his experience when launching TranMazon. “It was to take those tools [Amazon had provided] and connect with those [designated] resources. I now provide benefits for close to 100 employees. In the real world, I think I would have a challenge ramping up to 100 employees, but because of the program that Amazon put together, I’ve been able to ramp up to 100 employees in less than a year.”
When starting their dispatch service, Amazon committed $1 million to help cover startups costs for military veteran DSPs around the country. For each qualified veteran candidate, the company allocates $10,000 to pay for vans, uniforms and other necessities. According to Amazon’s media representative Amanda Ip, they favor candidates who display ‘grit and strong work ethic.’ Explaining their incentive, she said, “Often veterans have those qualities.”
Having spent years as a Military Logistical Veteran working with government, military and Department of Defense (DOD) freight, Collier was a perfect candidate for the program. He had opened his own logistics company after retiring from the military and jumped at the chance to partner with Amazon upon hearing of the opportunity.
“I’ve been in logistics quite a long time, and I love the challenge [Amazon requires of us] to deliver to customers in one day. So, we’re changing the way we operate,” Collier said of the system that helps customers get their packages quickly and efficiently.
In the seven months since he started, Collier has worked with his wife and relied on Amazon’s support to grow his business and acquire 52 vans. TranMazon now services areas in Lawrenceville, Johns Creek, Buford, Duluth, and parts of North Fulton.
One of Collier’s first jobs out of the military was identifying programs to help veterans transition to the workforce through the Department of Veteran Affairs. And so, when it comes time to hire, Collier tries to make veterans his top pick.
“One of the things I do at least once or twice a week, depending on our needs when it comes to hiring, is I go to the military bases in Georgia. On those bases, I go to the military transition centers, and I participate in different job fairs.”
With 19 veterans on TranMazon’s payroll, Collier hopes to continue hiring and to provide more benefits to his employees.
“We do healthcare. We do dental. We do vision. All that’s part of our benefits program, and one of the things I’m going to do is I’m going to add a 401(k) plan,” Collier said.
With sound infrastructure and extensive resources, he considers Amazon “one of the best dispatch systems [he’s] seen in a long time,” and Collier expects his employees to uphold that standard.
“We’re changing the game and making sure we’re focused on customers and giving the customers what they want. I tell my drivers to get it right and get it right the first time. You deliver on time,” said Collier.
While he’s not one to take it easy on his guys, the feeling Collier gets from helping those who have served the country can only be described as surreal.
“That’s part of my heartbeat — to make sure I’m able to at least provide some level of service to veterans. Every day I wake up, I’m passionate about the veterans. I want to service veterans and figure out another way that I can improve their life. I’m thankful to Amazon for giving me the opportunity to do that,” Collier said.
For more information about Amazon’s DSP program, visit their webpage https://logistics.amazon.com.