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Adapt to demand changes, firms told

CREATIVITY, innovation, openness to change, and strong teams are the major drivers of corporate competitiveness in an era when people change their demands rapidly, businesspeople said at seminar on the subject.

The seminar was conducted by the Thailand Management Association yesterday.

"The world market is now smaller because of technology, while people have increased the pace at which they change their demands as technology changes, until now it is the economics of speed. Corporates also have to speed up their production changes to serve these changes in demand," said Pailin Chuchottaworn, president and chief executive of PTT.

He added that a few years ago the top 100 corporates were banks, mobile-telecom companies, and retailers, but now the top 10 are technology firms. That means the market has changed into a technological society. People are central to this change in the market and the drivers of market competition.

SCG Group president and CEO Kan Trakulhoon said businesses had to know who their customers are and what they want. Before the economic crisis of 1997, SCG expanded its investment overseas, but after that it came back to Thailand. Now it is expanding overseas again as it sees global demand.

"Customers are the key for our business expansion both domestically and overseas - we do what our customers want. We also believe in research and development, innovation, and quality products to serve the customers' demand," he said.

Nazir Razak, group chief executive of CIMB Group, said the key to remaining competitive amid the global market changes was to anticipate future demand. For example, its business is banking, and it has had to change as technology changed.

"At present, customers can do business [with mobile devices]. We have to converge our businesses today to support technological change." He added that as people changed their demands, business had to follow suit.

Hans-Paul Buerkner, chairman of the Boston Consulting Group, summarised three factors that drive corporate competitiveness. These are creating a competitive environment through innovation, technology and quality; being open to change when customers change their demands; and having strong teams to drive the corporate towards its goals.




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