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Real-time logistics boosts e-commerce
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2011-04-06 13:28

By Chen Jing

Statistics show that the transaction volume in the network shopping market reached RMB 498 billion Yuan in 2010, increased by 89 percent compared with that in 2009. The total volume of RMB 498 billion Yuan was achieved by delivering parcels to every consumer. The construction and perfection of the logistic system is becoming a key in maintaining sustainable and healthy development of e-commerce. At the meantime, e-commerce is also changing the logistics itself and is creating a wholly new platform for the development of logistics.


E-commerce enterprises marching into logistics industry

In January of this year, Alibaba Group published its strategies in logistic field, mainly including two matters. Firstly, promotion of logistics information system through the "Wuliubao"(an online payment platform). Secondly, allocation of the nationwide storage network under the guidance of the group with an investment of RMB 10 billion Yuan. In February, Dangdang announced that it was taking the lead in establishing a delivery-based service company held by Dangdang, which would set up a high-efficient and independent open platform of logistics and provide the e-commerce enterprises with the COD delivery services, which cover goods storage, sorting and packaging. The in-house logistic business of 360buy may also be expected to operate independently and open to the whole industry this year.

"Mouse + Cement" is a well-known description of enterprises' informatization in the industry. Similarly, in the e-commerce field, we have "Mouse + Express". An overwhelming variety of goods can be bought by just pointing and clicking and certainly, tens of online banks can offer convenient payment services, but after all, only through logistics can each of goods be transferred physically to consumers. In this respect, it is not sudden that e-commerce giants begin to advance from a "mouse end" to an "express end". Just like analyzed by Lv Benfu, e-commerce expert and vice-president of the Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Sciences, the competition pattern of the e-commerce in China in future would to a great extent be decided by logistics. When the development speed of e-commerce far exceeds that of the relevant logistics, e-commerce enterprises will have to do it themselves.

But will e-commerce enterprises "steal the job" of the express companies? Zhang Yong, CFO of, expressed, Alibaba would not intervene in the management of hardware and the whole operation level, and would not "steal the job" of logistics service providers; instead, they would become an "information service integrator". Do what you are proficient at. "Information integration" has become a breakthrough of the e-commerce enterprises to enter logistics industry.

This "integration" is built based on the higher requirements of e-commerce on logistics distribution regarding the scale, efficiency and service quality. Information is just one of the important sections. Just like said by Zhang Yong, "Make it possible that the products displayed are accessible to consumers and products bought can be delivered to consumers by the given time."

Equip logistics industry with "informatization"

The contribution of e-commerce to informatization of logistics is not just limited to the integration of data and the open of platform, which may become the "profit-making point" services in future.

"Yesterday, our storage house in Xi'an met power failure and delivery there had to be terminated. Orders from relevant regions were transferred by the system immediately to Beijing for their handling. Once the power service is restored, orders of goods without being picked and packaged can be traced back and returned to the storage house in Xi'an." With this simple example, Jia Jia, Assistant President of VANCL illustrated the contribution of e-commerce to the informatization of logistics distribution. "We have a team of over 20 people working on the perfection and improvement of these processes."

The requirements of e-commerce enterprises on logistics distribution concern both efficiency and quality. From receiving booking of suppliers to taking over goods and putting them on store shelves, then to order processing, sorting, packaging, sending delivery and distribution, the efficiency and quality in these processes all need to be realized by the informationalized precise computation and control. Xu Mengzhou, Logistics Director of, an e-commerce website specialized in shoes, said, "As for traditional distribution firms, logistics means transportation. While, to e-commerce enterprises, logistics is an important part of the sales section. Therefore product flow and information flow must match with each other to the greatest extent. This will depend on the informatization level of the logistics sector."

Regarding supply of goods, the home shopping center Redbaby directly connects the suppliers' system with its own system, encourages suppliers to make decisions on goods supply through sharing statistics such as product sales status, market occupation and consumer analysis with the suppliers, so as to increase the supply of hot sales.

Regarding sorting and packaging, Zhou Tao, General Manager of Beijing operation center of Joyo Amazon, told the reporter, through the integrated computation on the weight and size of goods, their system can tell the packaging staff about the proper size of the packaging box, how many green anti-shock materials are needed, and whether there is an error in sorting based on the final weight.

However, consumers can never know about these. As for them, the most obvious change is represented by the more and more clear indication of order status in the distribution section, including the time of outstock, loading, transportation, arrival and delivery. In the "logistics tracing" system of e-commerce websites, consumers can even know the name and contact telephone of the deliverer. Having a clear idea about the delivery status is the most direct-viewing feeling of consumers for the informatization of e-commerce logistics. 
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