Elle Magazine IWD Story: Redefining Gender Roles in a Male-Dominated Logistics Industry
This International Women’s Day, we would like to celebrate our very own outstanding female executive at Cainiao, a driven leader who inspires change in the logistics industry. Featured alongside fellow distinguished female leaders in industries across arts, science and other commercial sectors, this Elle feature story serves as a platform for women to celebrate their successes and demonstrate the value that they bring to the table.
At Cainiao, women took up roles across the entire value chain, spanning warehousing, customs clearance, line haul, distribution, digital operations, supply chain management and many others, dispelling the notion that the industry is a male-dominated one.
“Female employees account for almost 40% of the Cainiao workforce. Having transitioned from a traditionally male-dominated logistics industry, women’s role today has evolved tremendously where we see women taking up roles in almost all the logistics areas,” said Sun Beibei, General Manager of Cainiao’s international import supply chain.
At Cainiao, Sun manages a large team of 780 people, overseeing supply chain, business operations and business development. Here, she needs to ensure the efficient operation of various functions, and in parallel, drive broader digital transformation within Cainiao’s cross-border business.
With the joint efforts of Sun, the logistics technology and other teams, Cainiao established the latest generation of automated smart bonded warehouses in Xiasha, Hangzhou in 2021, and pioneered an automated sorting workflow that facilitates the movement of goods and employees in an efficient manner. In the Hangzhou bonded warehouse which is characterized by a myriad of product categories and merchant types, the automation equipment dispatches the shuttle car based on an algorithm, delivering the goods directly to the sorting area, thus improving the efficiency by more than 50% on average.
At the helm of this smart bonded warehouse is also a female leader — a millennial who returned to mainland China to launch her career in logistics after completing her masters degree overseas. Here, Lingrou is responsible for every aspect of the warehouse operations, from goods despatch, sorting and distribution, operations planning to automation equipment management. Her daily step count is over 25,000 steps! According to Lingrou, the patience, management abilities and physical stamina that female employees possess are no lesser than that of their male counterparts! In fact, the female employees demonstrate greater abilities in the area of smart logistics operations and supply chain management.
In today’s post-pandemic era, logistics has truly stepped up to play a fundamental role in uplifting economies and fostering trade by aiding the efficient flow of cross-border goods. With an increasing number of women joining the logistics sector, they have contributed to the continual growth and development of smart logistics, and in that, helping businesses to access a wider global market to enhance resilience and competitiveness. Together with Cainiao’s goal to deliver in China within 24 hours and globally within 72 hours via the establishment of a comprehensive global logistics network, women in logistics can be described to be spearheading a more connected and globalized world!