This week, supply chain management professional association APICS and China’s E-commerce company JD.com announced a strategic agreement to establish nationwide standards for the Omni-channel supply chain capability within China and to advance supply chain performance of the e-commerce industry in the region.
Supply Chain Matters views this announcement as rather significant.
It represents an important outreach from APICS providing China’s business leaders, academia, and global enterprises with valuable insights, information, and actionable data necessary to succeed in supply chain management.
As our international Supply Chain Matters readers are acutely aware, China’s very large and fast-growing e-commerce sector surpasses that of the United States. At the same time, because of the inherent logistics and other customer fulfillment challenges unique to China with its high-density cities and large urban landscapes, the E-commerce providers within China often directly control the elements and logistics related to customer fulfillment. Likewise, suppliers of online merchandise come from a variety of supply chain management skill and business process experience dimensions.
JD.com describes itself as an online provider of high quality Chinese goods sourced in China, and delivered to customer’s location in a speedy manner. The company currently operates 7 fulfillment centers and 256 warehouses and a total of upwards of 6900 customer delivery and pickup stations across China, all staffed with its own employees. The firms stated corporate values include a customer-first perspective supported by continuous learning.
APICS Supply Chain Council has had active relationships with Chinese companies which culminated in the re-launch of a China Regional Advisory Council in August of last year which established initial educational priorities for this region. A source indicates that an executive forum held at the time drew upwards of 150 attendees including JD.com. These initial efforts led up to this week’s announcement.
APICS further announced the formation of a Chinese Corporate Advisory Board (CCAB), which will be designed to facilitate discussion between APICS and leading Chinese companies like JD.com. The CCAB will serve as a corporate sounding board on APICS products and how best to leverage these resources in China. The significance applies to joint efforts to prepare the next generation of Chinese supply chain talent more effectively. APICS has committed to providing China’s business leaders, academia, and global enterprises with valuable insights, information, and actionable data necessary to succeed in supply chain management.
This professional organization will additionally help establish the JD Supply Chain Academy within JD University, a nationwide supply chain talent development center and e-commerce supply chain research center. Efforts will be directed toward developing course curriculum and research topics focused on the e-commerce industry in China. Initial activity will focus on educational needs for JD.com’s key supplier base as well as the online firm’s internal IT teams who continue to develop more advanced technology aides to support current processes such as drones, big data analytics and other systems applications. The goal for the supply chain academy is to provide teams with broader end-to-end supply chain knowledge and the interrelationships of supply chain processes with key performance indicators.
The announcement indicates that both organizations will also cross-reference the Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model with the JD.com database to develop a specific SCORmark Omni Channel Benchmark for China. Plans call for the performance improvement tool to eventually be made available to the major suppliers of JD.com and other stakeholders within the APICS corporate community worldwide.
APICS Executive Vice President for Corporate Development, Peter Bolstorff indicated to Supply Chain Matters that pilot deliverables among target groups could come as early as later this year.
This week’s announcement comes on the 3rd year anniversary of the merger of prior Supply Chain Council with APICS.
Bottom-line, this collaboration provides APICS with an important partner and advocate for broader supply chain management skills development in both supply chain business process mapping and individual skills development, including the growing dimensions of online E-commerce fulfillment.
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