From China’s Rural Revitalization to Changing the Face of Beauty Retail

How Cainiao helped Ting to become a better version of herself

Ting is the true embodiment of passion — her passion for logistics radiates through her voice as she introduces herself in our first meeting. One wouldn’t have been able to guess that Ting, the Senior Director for Domestic Supply Chain, started her Cainiao journey in the rural team, with the behemoth task of revitalizing China’s rural villages.

Looking back at her early days at Cainiao five years ago, she said, “Back then, and still am, I was inspired by Cainiao’s vision to transform the logistics industry. They often say you can only be considered a true ‘Aliren’ (a term referring to Alibaba employee) after having worked at Alibaba for five years.” She smiled and continue to say, ”So it gives me an incredible sense of pride having attained this ‘Aliren’ status.”

Playing a Key Role in China’s Rural Revitalization

Ting went on to spend her first two years in the rural team, adopting a two-pronged approach to uplifting the villages. Firstly, she had to increase their access to city goods as a means of improving their quality of life. This involved establishing a seamless logistics delivery chain from cities to various counties and villages, and working with local partners to introduce new business opportunities beyond their regular parcel collection and delivery services to increase their revenue stream. Secondly, she had to empower the village folks by helping them to sell their agricultural products to the cities and generate more income.

This initiative is in line with the ongoing drive for rural reforms in China. Latest data showed that in 2020, China has lifted nearly 100 million people out of poverty by the current income standard.

Today, the Chinese government has deepened its efforts to revitalize the rural villages with commitments to rural infrastructure, tourism and culture, to bring the rural economy on par with its urban counterparts.

Decentralization of eCommerce Logistics and Changing the Face of Beauty Retail

Not resting on her laurels, Ting soon went on to take on the new challenges in eCommerce logistics.

“Ecommerce logistics is more fluid with regular promotions which can increase logistics costs if not streamlined or optimized, and less structured than traditional retail logistics needs. Therefore, this explosive growth which can be as high as 100 times during sale events, requires a decentralized approach to achieve optimum efficiency,” shared Ting.

“With the explosive growth of eCommerce, we have devised a decentralized approach to managing the similarly explosive growth in logistics demand. Strategies include leveraging a multi-layered warehousing solution, pre-order sales, identifying popular items etc. to spread out the parcel distribution over a longer period of time, and in the process, we forward the parcel from 500km away to 1–5km next to the consumer’s community. This helped to reduce logistics cost for merchants by 10% during these large sale events. Using this strategy, we were also able to reduce delivery time during Double 11 peak season from 5–7 days to same-day or next-day delivery in China, all whilst enhancing customer experience!”

For three years, Ting focused on reducing resource requirements while improving efficiency in domestic supply chain. Using strategies such as pre-fulfillment to dispatch the orders before sale events to the nearest warehouse or collection point to the customer which can facilitate same-day or within the hour delivery without placing undue stress on the logistics resources. “The key here is to not rely solely on logistics resources but rather ensure efficient resource allocation prior to the sale event.”

Today, Ting focuses on the beauty sector. Managing the logistics needs for the beauty sector required Ting to adopt a more consumer-facing strategy that transcends traditional logistics practices. She has tapped on opportunities to introduce creative applications in the areas of packaging to deliver a more unique customer experience especially during special occasions such as Valentine’s Day.

Becoming a Better Version of Herself

Ting’s five-year journey with Cainiao has been a challenging yet fulfilling one. To which, Ting beams with pride as she said, “At Cainiao, I have found a better version of myself.”

In fact, managing a 60-strong team today is no easy feat but Ting attributes this to the skills she gained from managing large sale events, “Managing sale events has given me a special set of skills that can be applied to leadership and team management. It is the keen eye and perseverance to see things from start to finish.”

“It is almost like I am running a small beauty business within Cainiao. To drive sales in the beauty category, I recently launched live-streaming feature which has been cross-shared with other category leaders as well.”

As we round things up, Ting shared some advice for aspiring Aliren, “At Cainiao, you will see that every contribution you make, no matter how small, will have a significant impact on the entire logistics industry in China. I wish for every new joiner to come onboard this logistics train and also have the opportunity to discover a better version of themselves through this journey.”

Ting’s passion is definitely contagious as I walked away with a newfound energy and excitement for the industry.

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The logistics arm of Alibaba Group. Follow us for content on smart logistics and supply chain management