As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba.com says it has pioneered a direct procurement and supply solution that has successfully enabled the sourcing and distribution of nearly 26 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare systems and related government authorities outside China.
Alibaba.com is stepping in to provide hands-on customer service to help large-scale commercial buyers — such as health systems or related government authorities — who may not be experienced in global trade to successfully identify and make bulk purchases of high quality PPE. On the supply and logistics side, the Alibaba.com pilot solution involves Tmall Supermarket — an online grocer and member of the Alibaba ecosystem, to source and verify genuine, high-quality PPE from manufacturers in China who are not equipped to deal with international buyers and Alibaba Group's smart logistics network Cainiao, to streamline the delivery process of urgently needed orders of PPE.
The direct supply and procurement pilot conducted by Alibaba.com combines online tools and customer service provided by Alibaba.com employees to ensure the products transacted meet buyers' requirements in an efficient manner. Alibaba.com representatives work side by side with buyers in areas including pre-order negotiations, transaction finalization, pre-shipment product inspection, customs clearance and other unexpected hurdles. Cainiao plays an important role in the cross-border shipping logistics, some of which are rapidly changing as a result of government policies in flux due to Covid-19.
The pilot Alibaba.com service also allows the PPE manufacturers in China to focus on producing the highest quality goods, quickly and the largest scale possible, without being discouraged by the complexities of global trade or distracted in dealing with buyers half a world away, who speak different languages and have payment processes that may be unfamiliar to Chinese PPE manufacturers. The model can potentially be expanded to efficiently match demand for more categories of products with validated global suppliers in the future.