- May 18, 2020
- Executive Spotlights
Hail to the Female Commander-in-Chief: Provides Firm Leadership
by Ling Cao
“Teamwork, collaboration and execution are the core factors that helped us get through the toughest time ever.” shares Ms. Guangle Ren, general manager of JD’s central region.
The epidemic is one of the hardest times people have ever experienced, especially for those located at the outbreak’s epicenter, Wuhan, which is one of the regions under Ren’s management. When asked to recall the most challenging days, Ren was unequivocal: “It’s the uncertainty of how COVID-19 would develop. We had to plan and take quick response each day, making adjustments to our approach based on new local policy requirements and actual scenarios. It’s been totally new and unprecedented for all of us.”
Ren oversees the operation of JD Logistics in the entire central region of China, including Hubei, Henan, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces. On January 19th, she realized the severity of the epidemic and asked her team to prepare accordingly, including checking body temperatures every day and buying protective supplies, Vitamin C, and reporting this information to headquarters in Beijing each day. At the same time, she encouraged and led her core team to keep working during the Chinese New Year holidays.
She comforted her team to stay calm and made the necessary arrangements step by step. “People were scared, of course. But, we tried our best to protect our employees, because they work on the frontlines to help more people, and their safety is our top priority,” she said.
To act in accordance with this need, Ren arranged to secure protective supplies, including masks, disinfectants, thermometers for every warehouse and delivery station so that warehouse staff and couriers could safely work throughout the period.
She tried to best protect employees because she knows how important employees feel during this time. She sought to far exceed the industry standard for JD employees in Wuhan. Regardless of whether they work at warehouse, based in a delivery station or at an office, JD has consistently provided them with N95 masks, top of the line, during the epidemic. For those who deliver to hospitals there are additional supplies, such as goggles and protective clothing. Ren also proactively bought preventative medicine for employees that was recommended from hospital staff, such as a special traditional Chinese medicine and Lianhua Qingwen (连花清瘟) capsules. One JD driver said, “I felt very proud of my work, and I don’t feel as anxious as I was in the beginning. One customer told me that the medicine our company provided to us is similar to that of preventative medicine given at hospitals, and we feel safe at work.”
When road transportation was suspended in Wuhan during the epidemic, Ren quickly collaborated internally to provide an overall solution. Leveraging big data to forecast sales demand, placing product inventory closest to customers in smaller warehouses, and leveraging other regional warehouses, such as those in Changsha, Nanchang and Zhengzhou to relieve the pressure in Wuhan. She worked on the belief that operations may be a bit slower than usual but disorganization or halting operations is absolutely unacceptable.
The closure of offline restaurants and convenience stores in Wuhan during the lockdown created significant challenges for daily meals. Ren’s team sought to address this through two specific ways. First, keep the employee canteen in full operation for warehouse staff, while ensuring the strictest health and safety measures are in place. This includes disinfection, body temperature checks, distancing people into four sections per table by cardboard, and others. Secondly, have a team dedicated to buying groceries to ensure efficiency of supply from partnering supermarkets. She also arranged a team to support the couriers, preparing a range of food such as instant noodles and other fast meals, milk, bread and fruit, ensuring both convenience and variety.
Through these seemingly simple efforts, Ren ensured that operations continued smoothly.
As a female leader working in the logistics industry for nearly two decades, Ren has been quite strict when performing her job, but she can always find ways to smile and relax, and seek to offer personal help to them. She says, “I want everyone who works with me to make good career development, and this is one of my responsibilities.”
She also maintains a high level of personal self-discipline. She always tries to find time to keep herself healthy and fit. She stands more instead of sitting, and walking upstairs instead of taking elevator.
Ren’s family always offers consistent support as a safe harbor. While her husband and 11-year-old daughter are apart from her in her home town in Henan province, they will do video calls every day to chat.
“After the outbreak, many merchants found that it’s more efficient to stock their products at a JD warehouse,” she expresses. “Using JD’s delivery service, and opening our logistics business to external partners is one of the key steps in our future development.”
Ren is emblematic of the type of employee JD is celebrating this month, bearing significant responsibility to get the job done and being all in to set a standard for the others to follow.