MNCs bet on digital transformation for efficiency and sustainability
Multinational corporations are speeding up their digital transformation to increase business efficiency and optimize the supply chain and customer experience in a more sustainable way.
This model fits businesses' requirements from shipping and logistics to industrial automation and in-office equipment and helps related firms expand business in China and globally.
Firms including the Mediterranean Shipping Company, or MSC, Rockwell Automation and Epson Corp share a vision regarding digital transformation and the improvement of operational efficiency, reliability, transparency, speed, security and sustainability.
These companies are deeply rooted in Shanghai and China thanks to the city's continuously improved business environment.
Rockwell Automation, which will attend the China International Import Expo in Shanghai this month, continues to promote digitization to boost innovation and research and development. It actively introduces global advanced technologies locally and makes contributions to China's digital transformation and smart manufacturing development.
Rockwell Automation has established Smart Manufacturing Innovation Center in China, providing consulting, top-level design, value stream sorting, implementation and delivery. It helps companies seize opportunities and offers them easy-to-deploy intelligent manufacturing capabilities.
Through platforms such as the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Rockwell Automation has delivered to the world practices jointly innovated with Chinese partners regarding the digital transformation in diverse industries.
Ian Shih, president of Rockwell Automation China, is impressed by Shanghai's improved business environment and booming business opportunities in China.
Rockwell Automation is "in the big wave" of industrial development and has been growing in the city for more than two decades.
"We experienced the favorable business environment provided by the Shanghai government for foreign-funded enterprises which undoubtedly brought more confidence and great opportunities," said Shih.
Rockwell Automation's entry into China dates back to 1988.
In 2009, the company was settled in Caohejing Hi-tech Park, which has offered it comprehensive infrastructure and a solid developmental platform. For example, Rockwell Automation's carbon neutral solutions can cover 90 percent of China's high carbon emission industries, while Caohejing is the first national eco-industrial demonstration park to apply "ice storage" technology.
The digital wave has put forward more requirements for the transformation and further development in China. As a leader in industrial automation and digital transformation, Rockwell Automation will increase the layout of industrial automation, information technology and digital transformation in various fields such as new-energy vehicles, life sciences, non-ferrous metals and coatings and cosmetics. It helps China's manufacturing industry build a more complete industrial chain and secure its position along the global mid-to-high-end value chain.
Based on deep insights into China's market, Rockwell Automation offers innovative technologies such as the industrial Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and AR/VR. It will officially launch Rockii Alliance, a future-oriented, industry-end-to-end intelligent operations and maintenance solution, at the upcoming CIIE with an aim to help Chinese enterprises use digital and efficient means for carbon tracking and energy management.
Nearly 60 percent of Chinese firms will increase their investment in digitization within one or two years, including 33 percent of firms which are planning to increase investment by 15 percent or more, as digitization is required by all, researcher Accenture said in a report released earlier.
"At MSC, we strongly believe that digitization is the way forward, enabling not only greater operational efficiencies, reliability, transparency, speed, security and sustainability, but also greater collaboration and customer satisfaction," said Andre Simha, MSC's global chief digital and information officer.
In the shipping industry, in particular, carriers, agencies, ports, terminals and customs are all part of the global and integrated supply chains, so any advancements must work at an industry level, not just within one organization. Therefore, the digital agenda forward should proceed as an industry instead of merely a sole company.
"We need to collaborate to move the digital agenda forward as an industry and the key idea is to ensure we work toward the same goals and have interoperability throughout the industry, which refers to the ability to operate something across technology systems used by multiple stakeholders in the supply chain," Simha said. "And this largely depends on our capability to speak the same language collectively and use the same industry standards."
In the coming years, MSC expects more important documents to be digitized and data-sharing opportunities to be enhanced in the process. Cargo traceability from warehouses to destinations (end to end) is another key area. By leveraging digital innovation, customers can have more and more visibility and real-time information.
Epson, which offers home and office printing, commercial and industrial printing, manufacturing, visual and lifestyle products, views green and digitized strategies as key. The company, with 10,695 employees in China, has digitized the majority of operation processes to improve efficiency in a sustainable way. Epson's goal is to become carbon negative and eliminate the use of exhaustible underground resources such as oil and metal by 2050.
Epson will showcase its latest innovations in printing, projection, AR and robots during the upcoming CIIE.
Despite rapidly growing technologies, firms still face bottlenecks on digital transformation.
Globally, about 70 percent of digitally transformed businesses have yet to meet digital expectations. The reasons for the shortfall are mainly due to the disconnect between strategy and industry trends, the lack of agile management systems, a lack of consensus, talent or tracking systems, as well as technology and data platforms, according to Rockwell Automation, citing figures from researcher BCG.
Enterprises should bet on diversified strategies in business, products and services to boost transformation, the company said.