Apr 3, 2020|

Harvard Business Review Highlights How JD “Delivers” in the Fight against COVID-19


by Ling Cao

Harvard Business Review this week highlighted how JD.com and other Chinese e-commerce giants responded to COVID-19 as the pandemic emerged in Wuhan, China and what can be learned from the experience.

The article highlights: “The experience from China suggests that the most valuable contributions will come both from leveraging their digital logistics platforms and their high-tech last-mile delivery capabilities and from quickly engaging newly available workers with transferrable skills from other sectors.”  Multiple projects and approaches by JD were highlighted as best practices.

Regarding technology, the story highlights JD’s rapid action in deploying drones and autonomous delivery robots during this period:

Regarding technology, the story highlights JD’s rapid action in deploying drones and autonomous delivery robots during this period: “JD.com and other retailers deployed their new automated technologies into Wuhan. They shipped smart vehicles to the Wuhan border, loaded the local map, and remotely operated (from Beijing, about 750 miles away) deliveries of donated goods to hospitals and household purchases to communities in Wuhan.” It added, “Delivering essential supplies to villages across Baiyangdian, a large lake in Hubei province, would take at least six hours by the small road or ferry that remained open. In a moment of creativity, JD’s local logistics team proposed deploying the drones, which did the job in just 20 minutes.” These contactless delivery methods also include lockers, which were mentioned by the magazine as well.

The magazine also introduces how JD’s 7FRESH offered employment during this period. It shares, “China’s e-commerce supply chains were suddenly confronted with a shortage of human resources.” While JD.com’s 7FRESH launched a “talent sharing” plan to hire short-term staff from restaurants, hotels, cinemas and other temporarily closed retail establishments. JD was “able to leverage these workers’ supply chain and logistics skills, which meant they only had to provide limited training to transfer the skills to the e-commerce context.”

The article also mentions JD’s efforts in providing online medical services. It shares, “JD.com ramped up its telemedicine business, quickly adding more doctors to its network. In a matter of days, it not only became a major channel for processing the purchase of medical products and standard telemedicine, but also turned itself into one of the front-line Covid-19 triage services for citizens all over the country. It added, “JD.com also rolled out a smart epidemic assistant to share official information about the virus and offered psychological service online.”