Supply chain and operations management professional organization APICS recently announced an expanded strategic relationship with China’s online retailer JD.com.
In March of this year, both parties established a partnership to develop 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. Last week’s announcement points to the signing of a strategic memorandum of understanding “to introduce an omnichannel benchmark system to advance best practices in the end-to-end supply chain performance of the e-commerce industry.” That includes the leveraging of APIC’s Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model and JD’s technology platform, that can provide major suppliers of JD with performance metric comparisons as to their competitors and the context of their respective industries at both regional and global levels. Plans call for the establishment of a SCORmark Omnichannel Benchmarking special interest group (SIG) to further develop best practices for global E-commerce supply chains. APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi points to the partnership as providing the unique opportunity to set standards, identify best practices, share knowledge, and elevate supplier performance with E-commerce focused supply chain organizations around the world.
JD.com competes with other China-based online retailers, the most visible being Alibaba. Earlier this year, JD created a new logistics services business unit, an important aspect of both its growth strategy as well differentiating capabilities to compete with other online retailers in the region. As we noted in our prior March commentary, online and last-mile customer fulfillment across China provides unique challenges. Likewise, the supplier base presents differing levels of supply chain management process maturity. JD has also set its sights on broader expansion into the Asia-Pacific region, which adds the dimension of a broader geographic diversity of suppliers and logistics providers In the announcement, JD’s President of supply chain R&D points to efforts directed at developing an artificial intelligence powered smart supply chain, and references the strategic partnership to deliver a performance-driven measurement and improvement platform for suppliers and partners.
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