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Same day delivery set to be a mainstream reality as JD.com opens up its technology to others

By Paul Skeldon March 14, 2018 - 6:35 am

It is the weakest link in ecommerce, but imagine placing an order on a marketplace from your mobile on the way to work, knowing it would be waiting for you when you get home that evening.

This is an experience JD.com customers get every day. In fact, China’s largest retailer can deliver more than 90% of all orders same- or next-day as standard – a level of service no other company globally is able to provide.

Now JD.com is opening this up to other retailers around the world to make the delivery part of commerce less of a chore. It is launching an initiative to promote the development of next-generation smart supply chain technologies.

JD’s recently launched Global Supply Chain Innovation Center (GSIC), is designed as an international hub for smart supply chain research and innovation. The Center [sic] will bring together global industry experts, companies, universities and other institutions, and will serve as a platform to share resources, expertise, insights, and technologies, and to work together on research projects focused on new technologies and processes, empowering more enterprises with smart supply chain capabilities.

The GSIC will operate across six key international regions – China, Silicon Valley and Chicago in the US, Germany, the Netherlands, and Australia.

Underpinning JD’s world-beating delivery speed is some of the world’s most advanced logistics and smart supply chain management technologies. Using capabilities such as data mining, natural language processing, image recognition and machine learning to better understand, anticipate and plan for changes in demand in real-time, JD is at the forefront of e-commerce supply chain innovation. This enables the company to provide truly differentiated and personalized customer service.

JD has implemented auto-replenishment for the majority of everyday household products sold on its platform. The company is also using its smart supply chain capabilities to help its partners. By working with JD, Nestle was able to increase its available online inventory from 73 to 95%, contributing to an RMB30 million increase in annual sales of Nestle products on JD.

“JD.com has built up an incredible wealth of expertise and experience in supply chain management, including cutting-edge technologies like AI, big data, blockchain and Internet of Things. By sharing our resources with leading experts from academia and business, and supporting R&D of emerging technologies, we will empower the GSIC to develop the next generation of smart supply chain infrastructure. These technologies both enhance our own business and enable companies around the world.”

Yu Yongli, head of JD.com’s JD Y business unit

The GSIC will be overseen by an expert committee consisting of esteemed academics in supply chain innovation and management who will be responsible for guiding R&D efforts at the Center and will serve as mentors and advisors. Hau L. Lee, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the Thoma Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, who will serve as the chairman for the GSIC, will lead the GSIC. Other key members of the expert committee include:

  • David Simchi-Levi – Professor at MIT; Supply Chain Designer for “Mars on Earth” Project; Former Chief Scientist at ILOG (IBM)
  • Xiande Zhao – JD.com Chair of Operations and Supply Chain Management; Professor at CEIBS
  • Yinyu Ye – K. T. Li Chair Professor at Stanford University; Winner of the John von Neumann Theory Prize
  • Michiel Steeman – Professor of Supply Chain Finance at the Windesheim University of Applied Sciences; Founder and Chairman of the Supply Chain Finance Community
  • Benoit Montreuil – Coca-Cola Material Handling & Distribution Chair; Professor and Co-Director, Supply Chain & Logistics Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology

JD also announced its inaugural operations research algorithm competition, which aims to bring together global experts in the field to foster supply chain innovation. The competition is expected to be launched later this year.

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