DIAL goes shopping.....at festival in China

Vaggelis Giannikas and Wernong Lu visited China during the Singles' Day festival in November as part of an ongoing research project between DIAL and YH Global.

Singles’ Day is perhaps the largest online shopping festival in China with sales at US$14.3 billion in 2015. Vaggelis and Wenrong visited two warehouse bases in the Suzhou area to study the main challenges and disruptions logistics organisations face in a festival of such high demand; it is estimated that 120,000 orders were placed every minute on Singles’ Day throughout China. Besides directly observing warehouse operations on the day, Vaggelis and Wenrong visited the headquarters of YH Global in Shenzhen to discuss this very topic with the Optimisation Team of the company.


Some of the key observations from this visit are:


  1. Logistics companies need to be able to handle big fluctuations in demand in a B2C context. Due to shopping festivals, warehouses that normally receive a few hundreds of orders per day can receive thousands of them in a single day.
  2. Minor disruptions or slow operations can cause significant problems on a shopping festival due to high volume. An intelligent IT systems should be able to predict such disruptions or reactively suggesting solutions.
  3. Warehouse companies need to be able to share facilities, systems, personnel and even products among projects to seamlessly serve both B2B and B2C clients.
  4. There is a need to set up warehouses in short time and for limited time only for projects that run during the shopping festival only.

For further information contact Vaggelis Giannikas, eg366@cam.ac.uk.


    Wenrong and Vaggelis in YH Global warehouse in Suzhou


Date published

25 January 2016

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