Employees sort packages at a logistics center in Guiyang, Guizhou province. Chinese delivery companies are utilizing advanced digital technologies as well as a wealth of experience to make the most of the June 18 online shopping festival, which is facing logistical pressure due to the impact of COVID-19. As the peak of the shopping carnival-one of the busiest courier delivery holidays-approaches, express companies are required not only to prepare for order flurries, but also deal with uncertainties as a number of Chinese cities are busy containing further spread of the contagion. COVID-19 may cause disruptions to the supply chain amid the online shopping spree, thus not only impacting upstream supply but also generating delays in downstream logistics delivery, said Yang Daqing, deputy director of the research institute at the China Federation of Logistics &Purchasing. "To minimize the negative impact, e-commerce enterprises and logistics companies are exerting more efforts to strengthen their supply chain resilience and enhance logistics capability with digital technologies," Yang said. Ouyang Zhuojie, a senior expert at SF's supply chain solution center, said the current outbreak in several Chinese cities raised concerns over product delivery, especially during the 618 shopping festival, as retail brand operators typically may take various aspects of the online shopping event into consideration, including delivery schedules of their presale goods, refund policies and the efficiency of the entire procedure. In response to the evolving situation, SF Express provided its partners with diversified service options to ensure efficiency and safety of package deliveries, Ouyang said. To be more specific, delivery efficiency will be further enhanced by the increase of human labor and capacity, additional cargo flights, operation model upgrades, big data and intelligent technology. Based on big data analysis technology, SF will offer customers the most optimized service including order placement, storage provision, logistics, transportation and settlement. China's logistics market has grown steadily in terms of scale and quality over the past few years, and digitalization has been vital for the sector's further development toward high quality, Yang said. Due to the impact of COVID-19, digitalization and intelligentization are needed more than ever for logistics enterprises if they want to cut costs and boost efficiency. With its integrated supply chain, JD Logistics, the logistics unit of Chinese e-commerce giant JD, hopes to provide customers a better experience during the shopping extravaganza, said Lin Chen, vice-president of JD, who is also head of platform business at JD Retail. Boasting 43 large-scale intelligent logistics parks and some 1,400 warehouses across the nation, JD has set up a highly integrated logistics infrastructure and warehousing facility network. This layout is believed to help more partners-including brands, merchandizers, medium and small-scale merchants and offline stores-speed up transformation toward digitalization and intelligentization. Likewise, taking advantage of its business model, automatic facility application and digitalization, Best Inc provides its customers resilient supply chain solutions to integrate retail brands' online and offline stocks, raise order performance and upgrade the consumer experience, said Wei Yongqiang, general manager of Best Supply Chain Management. Based on its big data system, simulation tests on sales were taken in advance, and test data were used to analyze, optimize and adjust stock conditions and adjust labor and capacity, therefore helping to cut costs and boost efficiency, Wei said.Some 7.48 billion parcels were handled nationwide in April, down 11.9 percent year-on-year, due to the COVID-19.
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