Peace of Mind at the Touch of a But­ton


Special Focus - - Contents - Liu Qiang­dong 刘强东

Fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion is not the only thing JD’s in­for­ma­tion sys­tem con­nects, but also ev­ery user, em­ployee and item. Our goods and assets are in­ter­con­nected into a com­plex web that makes man­age­ment as sim­ple as the touch of a but­ton.

Case in point, ev­ery bag packed must be scanned to tell the sys­tem that it was com­pleted so that ev­ery piece of data will be col­lected by the sys­tem. And with this pre­cious data ev­ery me­ter of tape and ev­ery car­ton packed in a month can be metic­u­lously tracked. Some­thing as ba­sic as a car­ton for ex­am­ple— JD’s cases are di­vided into six dif­fer­ent spec­i­fi­ca­tions or­dered from one to six, and our sys­tem cal­cu­lates the pack­ag­ing spec­i­fi­ca­tions of the cus­tomer’s or­der in car­tons in less than a nanosec­ond. Com­pany re­sources would be wasted if the pack­ers use car­tons larger than nec­es­sary.

Us­ing larger car­tons, the pack­ers can pack faster and thus be paid bet­ter. Yet it puts un­nec­es­sary bur­den on the com­pany’s ROI, and needs more pad­ding, which just frit­ters money away. If the car­ton is small, it needs to be ar­ranged care­fully and ad­justed so that all the goods can be put in prop­erly.

Ev­ery em­ployee’s ac­tion is recorded faith­fully into the sys­tem. The truck­driver for ex­am­ple, we can log which ve­hi­cle he gassed up and the amount.

Ev­ery sec­ond of the em­ploy­ees’ time at work at JD is planned out and man­aged to the nth de­gree by the sys­tem. Each em­ployee is equipped with a hand­held wire­less de­vice to re­ceive in­struc­tions, and when the task is com­pleted, the sys­tem au­to­mat­i­cally sends the next in­struc­tion so that they’ll be ei­ther search­ing the ware­house for the next or­der, pulling prod­uct, or on the dis­tri­bu­tion lines—but the point is that they will be, work­ing con­stantly.

The sys­tem also plays an im­por­tant role i n de­liv­ery ef­fi­ciency. In Beijing we have hun­dreds of dis­tri­bu­tion stations with more than ten staff mem­bers on duty at any given mo­ment. Os­ten­si­bly the ques­tion of which de­liv­ery per­son should take the goods to which lo­ca­tion seems like a snap, but work­ing tire­lessly be­hind the scenes is a com­plex net­work of in­for­ma­tion sys­tems on the job 24/ 7, work­ing and col­lat­ing, plan­ning, ar­rang­ing, di­rect­ing and dis­tribut­ing. Where is your pick up lo­ca­tion? How much does it cost? Is it right? It’s all han­dled by a set of in­struc­tions re­layed by the in­for­ma­tion sys­tem. This is how we can en­sure that each and ev­ery cus­tomer re­ceives his/ her pack­age in the short­est time pos­si­ble.

( From Li­uQiang­dong’s Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy : My Business Model , Citic Press. Trans­la­tion: Qing Run)

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