The Minnesota-based industrial supply giant 3M recently opened a flagship e-commerce store on the JD.Com platform in China. The event is a milestone for both companies as it brings together two of the world’s premier and most successful business models.
It is also a combination that joins one of America’s longest-standing companies with a relative newcomer on the world stage. JD-Com originated in 1998.
3M was established more than a century ago by five businessmen in the small town of Two Harbors, Minnesota. It was originally called the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, hence the name 3M. The original purpose of 3M was to mine corundum, a crystalline form of aluminum oxide. This effort quickly failed, however, when the company’s mine holdings failed to produce significant quantities of this resource.
The owners of 3M soldiered on by turning their focus to manufacturing useful products for the mining industry. Its first successful product was a kind of industrial sandpaper. Soon thereafter, 3M began developing an array of all-new items that allowed it to thrive. While 3M produces more than 60,000 products, some of its most famous are Scotch Tape and Post-It notes. 3M is also well-known for inventing highly reflective materials that make road signs shine brightly at night in a car’s headlights.
According to JD News, 3M opened its JD.Com flagship store in September of 2020 on the JD Industrial Technology platform. This is a section that specializes in products for maintenance, repair and sundry industrial operations – commonly called MRO within the industry.
Deming Ding is the general manager of JD Industrial Technology. He reports that sales on the new 3M platform have been robust and “surging since the day it opened.” Ding said that the site has enabled one-stop procurement and training services that offer significant efficiencies to firms that need what 3M manufactures and sells.
In addition to selling, clients can obtain onsite training from top engineers on the 3M JD platform. It’s another way to improve efficiency for an array of manufacturers and sellers based in China. Offering this kind of service demonstrates 3M’s ongoing commitment to developing its omnichannel strategy. By working with JD, both companies have created a dynamic partnership connecting service centers across China. The result is worry-free delivery of highly integrated services.
The two years leading up to the JD-3M partnership have been an important period for the kind of industries that both companies serve, said Boping Huang. He is the general manager for 3M’s industrial products sales in Greater China. Mr. Huang said significant levels of new investment are pouring in to drive the development of e-commerce infrastructures focused on industrial products. It was not so long ago that selling in this category was not done in a digital environment.
That’s part of what makes the JD-3M collaboration so compelling. Both of these firms are among the world’s most advanced in terms of logistics and distribution capabilities. Working together, they can break new ground in fulfilling the specific needs of industrial clients.
Both 3M and JD Industrial Technology officials say improvements in standardization have altered the landscape in the way this sector operates. JD News sources said mass amounts of “low-standard raw materials” have presented significant challenges in the past. To meet these challenges, JD created a product pool leveraged by its AI and big data capabilities. Together with 3M resources, items, such as a highly specialized bolt that was once difficult to locate, can now be identified in minutes and shipped within hours.
The new collaboration between 3M and JD promises to be a productive one for years to come.