Meet Timothy — SCM Autonomation Lead
Coupang is working to build the best commerce experience anywhere, and to do that, we have a world-leading engineering team and global offices. Our global engineers add diversity and breadth of experience to our technology, giving businesses greater mobility and they are connected from different cultures.
We met Tim from China who leads SCM Autonomation to hear how Coupang is providing the best experience for our customers in global offices.
Hi, Tim, Thank you for your time. Would you please introduce yourself?
I’m Tim from US and I’ve been with Coupang in Shanghai, China for 6 years.
I completed a Ph.D. in Computer Science and just after defending my dissertation, I joined a multinational e-commerce company as a software engineer. I was an individual contributor and later a manager on several different teams related to SCM: Optimal Inventory Health, Economic Ordering Models and IPC Lab. I joined Coupang 6 years ago with the goal of applying what I learned to improve Coupang’s Forecast, Automated Ordering, and Inventory Management functions. I’m currently leading the SCM Autonomation team at Coupang.
Could you elaborate more about your work?
SCM Autonomation is responsible for developing our Forecasting, Ordering algorithms, Inventory simulations, and Supplier Relationship Management systems. We are a cross-functional team comprised of Product Managers, Engineers, and Data Scientists. Our systems support the growth of our Rocket Delivery and Rocket Fresh businesses by predicting customer demand and ensuring we are in stock on products that our customers want to buy.
Our engineering teams work closely with product and business stakeholders. We have a strong "Wow the Customer" focus that is reflected in our teams’ scrum process. We work backward from the expectations of our internal stakeholders and use iterative development to deliver quick results. For more complicated algorithms like forecasting models or inventory management models, we use discrete event simulation and A/B testing to validate our work. Our data scientists and engineers have opportunities to use techniques in Machine Learning to solve key business problems.
Then what is the team’s biggest advantage?
There are several important aspects of our team. Because we are very customer-focused, team members can see a measurable impact on key business metrics. This is often a great way to help explain to friends and family the impact of our daily work, especially when they may be unfamiliar with technology.
Our teams have a chance to work with large-scale data and advanced techniques in Machine Learning, which is a rare and valuable career development opportunity.
You have been working in China. What makes it unique to work at China?
China has a large startup community and the largest e-commerce market in the world. This gives us an opportunity to see a diverse way of satisfying the needs of customers, like Live Selling, O2O integration, Group Buying, etc. This also allows us to attract talent with e-commerce experience and the skills necessary to be successful in our fast-moving environment.
Recently, what projects have you been focusing on? What projects were successfully launched?
We recently launched a Machine Learning forecasting model that dramatically improved our forecast accuracy and allows us to capture a wide range of business inputs. And we created a Supplier Relationship Management process that allows us to effectively communicate with our base of tens of thousands of suppliers in a scalable and structured way.
Coupang recorded amazing growth. How was the journey as an engineering team lead?
When I joined Coupang in late 2015, my team was just 5 people. As Coupang has grown and moved into new business areas, like Fresh or Rocket delivery, our team has also grown. And the growth has driven more complexity in our processes, requiring us to build more sophisticated algorithms and processes.
Now my goal is to establish a way of solving our business problems with technology that is truly unique to Coupang. Our leadership principles and way of working have supported Coupang’s rapid growth. Our Engineering and Data Science team need approaches that apply our leadership principles of Wow the Customer, Ruthless Prioritization and Aim High and Find a Way. By doing this we can drive impactful innovations for our customers. Our team can influence the inventory decision for hundreds of millions of units of inventory. So there is huge potential to Wow the Customer.
What qualifications are you looking for in a future member for your team?
We look for engineers with strong academic preparation, experience with iterative development and an interest in applying Machine Learning technologies. Data Scientists should combine strong theoretical background with an understanding of practical considerations of managing ML models in production.
Coupang looks for engineers who can make innovation together. Please explore more opportunities.