Thai corporates test culture of digitalisation

Corporate July 22, 2017 01:00


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DIGITAL transformation of business and industry is gathering momentum in Thailand, especially in manufacturing, food and beverage, automotive and financial sectors, according to Wallapa Piemnoppakao, country director of Infor, a leading US-based enterprise software provider.

Infor, the world’s third largest business applications company, has more than 700 customers in Thailand, including CPF, CP Meiji, Betagro, Boonrawd’s Singha beer, Mitsubishi, Komatsu, Seiko, Patkol, IRPC, Thai Summit, Thai Life Insurance, Prudential, Alliance Ayudhya, and Kasikorn Securities.

All these Thai-owned and local subsidiaries of multinational firms have taken the path towards digital organisation. The question is: are your organisation ready for the major change? According to Wallapa, the age of digital disruption means innovation is now very fast while agility and a new culture of experimentation and risk-taking become highly important.

Amazon, for example, has disrupted the retail business with its e-commerce and related platforms, while Airbnb is changing the hospitality and travel industry.

In media and entertainment, Netflix is a leading digital disruptor, while LendingClub is hitting the banking sector.

According to a book written by Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, banking is necessary but banks are not, so the financial sector is heading towards a major transformation.

Regarding Thailand 4.0 policy, she said, the country’s new growth industries are those concerning food and agriculture; creative and cultural services; digital and Internet of Things; smart devices and robotics, healthcare and wellness.

In the food and agriculture sector, smart food factories, smart farmers, and functional food products are emerging, so are smart cars, logistics, robotics, and smart devices in automotive and related sectors.

In addition, the digital technology has transformed traditional services and industries, creating fintech start-ups, e-commerce and other e-service platforms, among others.

According to Wallapa, the digital transformation framework covers four key areas, namely, digitising the customer experience, digitising products and services, digitising the organisation, and digitising operations.

Given the government’s push for Thailand 4.0 initiative and competitiveness pressures, a growing number of Thai companies are gearing up for the transformation using the new generation of business applications available on the cloud computing network.

They can adopt new technology in a faster way with more effective cost-saving in IT and related investment.

TAL Apparel Group of Hong Kong is another example of how a long-established enterprise could be transformed digitally. The company is a major supplier of garments to European and US brands with a total of 12 factories in China, Thailand and other Asean countries.

With a total workforce of about 26,000 in these countries, TAL Group has recently switched to Infor’s business applications on the cloud computing network, designed specifically for the fashion garment industry.

Demand management 

The applications cover TAL Group’s demand management from the placement of orders by clients to production planning, sourcing of raw materials, quality control, packaging, warehousing, shipping and logistics.

The digital transformation allows the firm to quickly respond to clients’ orders with a turnaround time of only 2-3 weeks for each of the new product lines ordered by clients.

In addition, TAL Group has entered into the mass-customisation garment business with the help of new applications that allow production of tailor-made garments within a period of 3-5 days via its e-commerce platform.

The payback period for investing business applications on the cloud computing network is about three years, resulting in significant cost-savings in the long term when compared to on-premise IT facilities.