Is community group buying improving efficiency or grabbing jobs?


Welcome to the wechat subscription number of chuangshiji
By Liu run
Source: Liu run (ID: rUnLiu pub)
These two days, a classmate “can’t help” wechat to send a picture to me, asking: what does general manager run think?
This picture, with a rocket background picture, has a paragraph of text:
Musk is making the future a reality step by step, while the domestic Internet giants are busy grabbing jobs from community vendors.
Obviously, this is a satire or even criticism of the “community group buying” of the recent fire.
This student knows that I am usually very busy. He “can’t help asking” because he is really confused and would like to hear my opinion.
I don’t know how to reply to him.
Not participating in the discussion is perhaps the greatest respect for this topic.
Because once you participate, no matter what position you take, there are risks. Don’t reply. However, if you don’t reply, you feel that you are disappointed.
Oh. forget it.
Let me tell you a story.
1. They did nothing wrong, but
The hero of this story is a truck driver: Malcolm McLean.
The truck that comes up on the highway every day is the main one who drives the truck to the bottom of the society.
Day after day, I get up early and go dark, and I still don’t make money.
Because “land transportation” exists as the “transportation cost” of national economy, its efficiency is not high.
How much can a truck pull?
Moreover, only a few tons of goods need to be sent by a driver for several days. It’s also very fuel consuming.
So the industry is not making money.
One day in 1953, McLean had a whim.
The land transportation efficiency is not high, but the water transportation efficiency is high. It has large loading capacity, less personnel and fuel saving.
Can I not transport the goods all the way by land?
In the section where there are rivers or oceans, it is better to use cheaper waterways to pull these goods, and then in the next section, the trucks will be used to deliver the goods to the destination. Can the efficiency be improved?
All Chinese people should be grateful for this “whim”.
Why? Let’s talk about it later.
Let’s first say, then, is this idea feasible?
Before McClain had this idea, water transportation was mainly by “scattered ships”.
What is a loose boat?
It is a package of things, by the dock workers, from a wharf to ship, bulk in the cabin, on the deck. After being transported to another wharf, the workers at that wharf will remove them from the ship.
The split ship won’t solve McLean’s problem.
No matter how strong these dockers are, they can’t carry the big trailers behind the trucks.
I can’t drive the truck to the dock, and then I’ll ask you to unload and load, and then I’ll tell you to unload and then load the truck to another dock?
This requires more workers and costs more.
How much is it?
If it is transported in this way, the freight per ton of beer is about $4. It’s too expensive.
The moment of truth is here.
McLean thought: can I just have the dock and not the dockers?
Can I use the crane directly to lift the big iron box from the truck to the ship, and then use the crane to lift the truck to the next wharf?
In this way, can’t trucks and ships be combined? Don’t the workers be saved?
You may have heard that. This is the container.
McLean’s idea, at the time, sounded like a fantasy.
He was ridiculed by many people.
But he insisted on trying. Keep trying. Keep trying. Keep trying.
In 1956, McLean finally completed the first container voyage.
How much transportation cost can McLean’s combined transportation of trucks, containers, cranes and flat ships reduce?
Remember that ton of beer?
Its freight, because of McLean’s container, was reduced from $4 to 20 cents, only 5% of the original.
An order of magnitude decline!
Because of McLean’s great invention, the era of global container transportation has come.
In the past, for every 100 yuan of goods transported, the cost could be as high as 25 yuan.
If 100 yuan of raw materials are transported to China, it will cost 25 yuan to ship back. Have you ever thought that China will still have the status of “world factory”?
50% of the cost is enough to offset the cost advantage of China’s labor force.
Because of the container, an iPhone from Shekou, Shenzhen to Pusan, South Korea, now only needs 3 cents RMB!
Because the transportation cost is so cheap that it is almost negligible that all countries in the world can transport, reprocess or sell all kinds of raw materials, semi-finished products and spot goods among countries.
This is why we have made in China.
It can be said that without containers, there would be no globalization.
It can even be said that without containers, there would be no Chinese made products.
It’s a story that sounds exciting.
But there is another side to this story.
So, what happened to the dockers who couldn’t carry the containers?
Yeah. How are they doing?
They resisted tenaciously.
In the face of the containers that they can’t carry and the unemployment caused by efficiency, dock workers begin to resist one after another.
Some of the company’s fury, occupation of the docks, and even violent demands of the port workers.
so what? And then you guess what happened?
Finally, the shipping company chose to compromise and agreed to share some of the benefits with the workers.
I don’t want to be a coolie all my life.
It’s better to take some money and let your children study hard. Don’t be yourself when you grow up.
It was only when the storm subsided.
We are experiencing great changes in our times.
No one wants to be replaced.
However, it is hard to imagine that if the dockers win, and all the wharfs around the world are still carrying cargo, and all containers, cranes and flatbed freighters are excluded, then in that parallel universe, because of the rise of globalization in the past 40 years, China will also fly out of smoke at the same time.
When I write this passage in my new book, a brief history of business, I can’t help but say:

If you make a movie, you don’t know whether you should cheer for the winner or mourn for the loser. They did nothing wrong.
But because the connection crossed them, it was hurt.
It has nothing to do with who they are.
There is, of course, a competitive relationship between an efficient business model and an efficient business model.
However, there will be no competition between the efficient business model and the inefficient business model, and there will only be “gradual replacement”.
Do you think if this story is really made into a movie, will it be a comedy or a tragedy?
2. What about community group buying?
So, what do you think of community group buying?
Of course, the importance of community group buying cannot be compared with that of containers.
However, the reason why I tell you the story of containers is that there are many similarities between community group buying and containers.
Both of them improve business efficiency because of the good use of technology; and they may change the underlying professional structure because of the improvement of business efficiency.
Some people say:
Community group buying, is not staring at a few bundles of cabbage, grab small vendors business? What technology is there?
If you think so, you may have a preconceived view of group buying in the community.
The basic logic of community group buying is “pre-sale, next day delivery and self delivery”.
what do you mean? Let me explain.
The biggest problem with fresh food (vegetables, fruits, fish, shrimp, etc.) is inventory.
The vegetable peddler did not know how much he could sell today.
If the business is good enough, it will not be enough to sell.
If you get too much, you will feel bad all your life. Fresh vegetables will deteriorate quickly, and they will be thrown away and wasted.
And these wastes will eventually be added to the price of vegetables.
What will this lead to?
The result is:
The food that consumers buy is very expensive, the vegetable peddler still can’t earn money, finally the society also undertakes a lot of waste.
Is there any way to reduce inventory?
In 2016, I wrote an article called “small capital playing with fresh e-commerce”. Before the concept of “community group buying” was not available, I analyzed the core value of this model: de stocking.
I gave an example in my article.
Organic strawberries, delicious, but also expensive. It costs 60-70 yuan / Jin.
Because once the strawberry is picked, the fresh-keeping period is only 1-2 days. If it is not sold out, it will lose a lot.
The loss must be included in the selling price.
Therefore, the cost of strawberries is only 10-20 yuan / kg, sold to the user’s hands, to 60-70 yuan / Jin.
The price difference is mainly broken, not the strawberries you eat.
What can we do?
Pre sale.
“Chongma neighborhood group” crowdfunding a strawberry, a total of more than 200 families participated in the sale of 20 greenhouses of strawberries.
Because it is “pre-sale”, all the strawberries of farmers are sold out before they are planted.
There is no sales pressure, and there is no inventory loss, so the loss can be eliminated and the price is preferential.
A greenhouse can produce about 400 Jin strawberries, and each family pays 798 yuan on average, which is distributed to 40 Jin.
Finally, a kilo of strawberries is only 20 yuan.
Consumers pay only a third of the money, while farmers make more money.
This is the value of reducing inventory through pre-sale.
But I can’t always buy vegetables four months in advance? I want to eat it tomorrow. What should I do?
This is: the next day.
What would you like to eat tomorrow? Pick up a dragon in a group or place an order on the app.
Before placing an order, these community group purchases are not in stock.
In the evening, we need to buy 25 tons of tomatoes, 40 tons of cucumbers and 100 tons of crayfish.
Stock up from the primary wholesale market overnight.
And the next day, it was delivered to the community.
This is next day.
In the past, the market needed to “guess” what users like to eat, and then purchase. This leads to the inventory loss caused by “guessing inaccuracy”.
Guess what? Can’t you just ask.
I’ll eat whatever you say. In this way, inventory waste is almost completely eliminated.
But, how to deliver it?
Self raised.
It’s good to send it to your home by delivery. But what if there’s no one at home? Send it back and forth several times, the cost is high, and the food may be broken.
Consumers can accept self-help. By the way, take it.
And because there is no need for in-depth delivery, the price is lower.
If the delivery point is a convenience store, it can also drain the convenience store. Maybe I can buy some Guandong cooking by the way.
This is “pre sale + next day delivery + self delivery”.
Through these three measures, community group buying can help consumers buy cheaper vegetables, and farmers can make more money.
I see. But it’s not technology, is it?
In order to achieve daily “pre-sale”, we need to have a tool that can reach consumers every day to collect demand.
Neighborhood committee aunts knock on the door to collect? Call and ask?
None of this is realistic. The cost is too high.
The “technology” of the Internet, with a very low cost, collected a large amount of pre-sale demand the night before. Through the high-tech driven efficient warehousing and logistics, it will be delivered to the community the next day, truly exerting the power of this mode and benefiting consumers.
I understand. But, but, what about those vegetable vendors? Will they disappear like dockers?
3. Fear comes from the unknown
We are always worried that the progress of science and technology will bring huge unemployment.
It’s not just community buying.
Even Elon Musk, who is compared with group buying in the community, may lose a lot of truck drivers and taxi drivers with his automatic driving technology.
His fully automated automobile production line has led to the unemployment of workers.
People from the American Automobile Association raised a sign at the gate of Tesla to protest:
Tesla hurts workers, families, communities. Shame on them!
(pictures from the Internet)
He even said a desperate word:
Most of us will lose our jobs in the future.
You see, Elon Musk, it’s not much better than community buying.
In the business world, there is a special word: technical unemployment.

But concerns about technical unemployment are not sudden today.
After the invention of the steam engine, there were all kinds of worker riots in the industrial countries. The workers occupied the factory and smashed the machines.
Because they feel that these steel monsters have taken their jobs and made them unemployed.
Is it very much like the dockmen occupying the dock?
This kind of drama is repeated.
However, today, steam engines and containers have created more jobs instead of eliminating jobs.
In 2017, a magazine cover of the new Yorker went through the screen.
In the future, robots armed with artificial intelligence will rush to and from work with briefcases, coffee and smart phones. Humans, on the other hand, can only beg along the streets.
This cover conveys great worry and fear.
This fear never stops, and it cannot stop.
But we need to know why we are afraid.
We fear because of the unknown.
The unknown to the future is even more unknown to the law.
What’s the law?
Science and technology are the primary productive forces. Efficiency is the only direction for the progress of commercial society.
This is the law.
However, this “progress” will not be achieved overnight.
It is divided into three steps:
1. Early stage. Only a few people will benefit. For example, Watt invented the steam engine, and Edison invented the electric lamp. At this time, some industries will disappear, social inequality will increase, and the gap between the rich and the poor will increase.
2. Medium term. The whole country began to benefit. Consumers begin to enjoy lower cost goods, cheaper and better services brought about by technological efficiency. The lives of the people at the bottom have been improved.
3. The end. All mankind began to benefit. Countries and nations far away from technological innovation can also enjoy the economic growth brought about by science and technology. A big step forward for all mankind.
The Internet is technology.
The efficiency revolution brought about by the Internet is not over.
Today, we are in the middle and early stages of this change.
So what should we do now?
What we need to do at this time, and the only thing we can do, is not to stop the scientific and technological revolution, but to make adequate preparations to resolve the associated problems as far as possible.
For example, as a country, how can we use the redistribution mechanism to make the benefits of scientific and technological innovation benefit more people?
For example, as a company, how to provide more training for employees to help them acquire new skills and realize transformation?
For example, as an individual, how to foresee the future changes, lifelong learning, and adapt to this era of rapid change?
We can help because of compassion, but we can’t stop it because of fear.
Last words
Recently, artificial meat is on fire.
People are imagining the benefits of artificial meat. Better health, for example. For example, reduce carbon dioxide emissions from raising cattle and sheep.
You know what?
A considerable proportion of carbon dioxide emissions on the earth are caused by the respiration of farmed cattle and sheep.
But have you ever thought that if one day, giant factories can make artificial meat, a large number of farmers will lose their jobs?
When that day comes, you may still see news of farmers occupying factories and smashing machines.
People always think that they have met bad people in a hundred years. I don’t know that I’m hurt just because technology has gracefully crossed them.
It has nothing to do with who they are.
When you suddenly want to scream and revolt, history will press the mute button and move on.
And use the spirit of others to adapt to the greatest changes. Instead of stopping change.
Let’s encourage each other.
(statement: This article only represents the author’s point of view, not Sina’s position.)