- Nov 13, 2020
National TV on JD: A Young Manager and Her 300 “Colleagues”
by Yuchuan Wang
In JD’s fully automated warehouse in Shanghai, 300 AGVs (automated ground vehicles) have been working highly efficiently to sort consumers’ orders during this past Singles Day Grand Promotion period (November 1st to 11th), the world’s largest online shopping festival. Utilizing QR codes on the ground to plan their routes, the little robots automatically recognize and weigh the goods they carry. The manager of these AGVs is a 28-year-old girl, Jiang Shan. She told her story in the program “Voice”, broadcast by China’s national TV network CCTV.
Back in 2014, Jiang Shan was among the first employees working as a sorter for JD.com’s first Asia No.1 fulfillment center in Shanghai. As Jiang tells it, the sorting role used to be hard and boring, as she had to scan at least 8,000 bar codes on each parcel per day and bend over 3,000 times.
That changed in 2017, when JD launched the world’s first fully automated B2C warehouse in Shanghai Asia No.1 fulfillment center. As an employee for the advanced facility, Jiang soon had 300 new “colleagues”: all AGVs. The application of “little red ones” – as Jiang calls the robots – improved the efficiency of the warehouse by 10 times compared with a traditional warehouse, now able to process over 200,000 orders a day.
“All I have to do is to ensure the normal operations for the little red ones. They save me a lot of efforts,” Jiang said. Now, as the team leader of the automated sorting team in Shanghai Asia No.1, she is always holding an iPad, monitoring the operations of the robots.
From her observation as a former sorter and now technical staff, Jiang finds that although the robots are more efficient, the job cannot be done without humans. When she observes any of the robots not working smoothly, she is able to fix it very fast.
“Clearly knowing they are all machines, I do feel they are my colleagues and they are smart guys,” Jiang said.
As industries are undergoing the transformation towards digitalization and intelligentization, this evolution also offers huge potential to help employees transform and develop and leave the hardest and most boring jobs to technology to handle. As early as 2016, JD launched a “cloud ladder plan” to equip staff members with technical abilities. Now, many front-line workers in JD’s warehouses and delivery stations have become professionals with technical abilities and just like Jiang, have now become managers.