Manufacturing News

Firms step up digitalization to mitigate outbreak impact

The coronavirus outbreak has accelerated the pace to go digital by Chinese enterprises, with more and more companies embracing the industrial internet as they strive to enhance anti-risk capabilities and retain global competitiveness given the current turmoil in the world economy.

Tao Jingwen, president of process, IT and quality at Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co, said what Huawei faces as the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the world is a more complicated world supply situation as the global business of the company has been disrupted.

But Tao said the company's efforts on digital transformation over the past few years have helped it weather the storm.

"Digital development has brought a number of changes to our businesses. We are able to display such capabilities to our clients since the coronavirus outbreak," Tao told the Kingdee Cloud Cosmic Summit held in Shenzhen on May 15.

"For example, due to the coronavirus outbreak, we were not able to meet our clients and sign contracts face-to-face. We managed to solve the problem by pushing forward with digital trade, enabling them to finish the whole process online including making orders and signing contracts. As a result, most of our businesses have not been affected by the pandemic."

Tao said Huawei has also promoted digital management of its supply chain, which helped it improve efficiency in supply, reduce costs and control risks.

"Remote work, remote training and remote delivery could become a new normal for Huawei in the future," he said.

Han Qiang, director of the supply chain department at SF Technology, the technology arm of Chinese courier giant SF Express, said the outbreak posed a great challenge to SF's supply chain system. The company is building a digital supplier ecosystem platform to cope with the challenge.

SF has been developing various businesses and it has different demand and standards for its suppliers, Han said.

"In the current environment, the whole supply chain is in an unstable condition. Many unpredictable things could happen. When the coronavirus outbreak was at its peak in China in February, the country's supply chain was broken down, or say, inefficient," he added.

"The new digital platform could help us enhance our work efficiency, make our businesses more flexible and, more important, more intelligent."

For example, the digital platform which will be linked to data-providing platforms could automatically recognize various connections of suppliers and identify potential tax and legal risks, helping SF better manage those risks.

Xu Shaochun, chairman of Chinese business software specialist Kingdee International Software Group, said Chinese enterprises are in the process of a major change brought about by digitalization. Xu said executives need to change their mindset and promote innovation to strengthen their business capabilities.

Kingdee is committed to helping enterprises make digital transformation and upgrade by providing an open platform ecosystem, Xu said.

The company's Kingdee Cloud Cosmic, a platform which focuses on providing cloud services to large enterprises, has been offering over 20 types of cloud services and more than 100 enterprise-based applications since its launch in 2018.

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