INFOR, a US-based business software giant, has stepped up its customer focus in Asia Pacific with Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore among its major targets.
Charles Phillips, chief executive officer of Infor, said during a recent opening ceremony of Infor’s regional headoffice in Singapore that innovation is at the core of Infor’s strategy as the region embraces enterprise resource planning (ERP) software as a cloud-based service to help companies to digitalise their business and production process.
Artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, network, cloud service, and specific industry features are key components of Infor’s digital platform for various industries.
Phillips said Infor will spend about US$3.2 billion in research and development over the next 5-6 years to develop more “deep functions” for its cloud-based services.
For example, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, temperature, proximity, vibration, GPS, and other sensors as well as other related technologies can be designed in connection with AI for various applications in smart warehouse, factory and other asset management.
Helen Masters, senior vice president for Asia Pacific, said a growing number of companies in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand have also moved their IT resources to the cloud-based service while Indonesia is slower in this transition from on-premise to cloud-based computing facilities.
At present, an estimated 60 per cent of solutions are cloud-based, while the rest are still on premises.
According to Masters, the Thai automotive, food and beverage, fashion, retail, e-commerce, logistics, warehouse, and healthcare sectors have a strong growth potential for adopting the new generation of cloud-based software services.
For example, Boonrawd Brewery has invested in a 70,000-square-metre automatic warehouse. Other Thai customers include CFP, Tipco, Suraphol Group, IRPC, D-Stone, and VT Group.
Chalumpon Lotharukpong, managing director of VT Group, a Thai garment maker, said its adoption of sophisticated software and other related technology has boosted |the firm’s international competitiveness vis-vis Chinese rivals.
VT Group, which produces sportwears, outdoor clothing and other products for global brands such as Adidas, Patagonia, Montbell, also focuses on niche markets to stay competitive when compared to Chinese manufacturers.
At present, VT Group has factories in Bangkok and the northeastern province of Mahasarakam as well as in Yangon, Myanmar, employing about 3,000 workers in total.
With an annual sales revenue of Bt1,7 billion, VT Group has turned to Infor for a cloud-based solution that reduces its cost of raw materials by 5-10 per cent as well as its lead time for production of new items.
According to Chalumpon, the Infor solution helps the firm to be agile and more responsive to customer needs as critical data is shared across the whole supply chain to achieve a more efficient and cost-effective production process.
Since the firm’s products are regarded as “fast fashion” items, a shorter lead-time for production is an important competitive edge.
VT Group is also testing the robotic sewing machines which may soon replace human workers for some basic and simple works such as towel production, even though it is not yet technologically possible to have machines produce fine garments.