Jan 15, 2021|

JD.com Selected as a Franz Edelman Award Finalist by INFORMS


by Yuchuan Wang

JD.com was selected as a finalist for the 50th annual Franz Edelman Awards, the world’s most prestigious honor for achievements in analytics and operations research (O.R.), by INFORMS. JD has been recognized for its advanced research and application of analytics in automated or “unmanned” warehouses.

“The company pioneered same-day delivery as a standard service in China’s B2C e-commerce sector 10 years ago. To balance the urgent need to meet growing demands while maintaining high-quality logistics services, JD.com builds ‘unmanned warehouses’ that use analytics to significantly improve warehouse operating efficiency by as much as five times. It also reduces the average storage cost by 50% and has led to an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars in savings,” stated INFORMS in its press release.

China’s express parcel volume has skyrocketed nearly 30 times over the past decade, leading to unprecedented physical labor pressure for logistics workers. JD seeks to use automation and robotics to achieve a balance between alleviating pressure on workers and maintaining high-quality logistics services. Operations research is crucial to the development of JD’s unmanned warehouses, and powers an intelligent and economical robot scheduling system.

“The system has been proved to alleviate physical pressure on employees while also resulting in higher efficiency, revenue, lower costs, and a better customer experience,” said Hengle Qin, head of unmanned warehouse projects at JD Logistics.

Over 5,000 robots have been deployed in 100 of JD’s 800 total warehouses. The company announced in October in 2020 that it will increase its fleet of logistics robots to 100,000 in the next five years.

Named after Franz Edelman (who established one of the earliest industrial operations research and management science groups) shortly after his death in 1982, the award aims to recognize and reward global outstanding examples of operations research, management science, and advanced analytics in practice.

The final winner of the award will be announced at a later date.