Putting Smart Factories to Work in Thailand

As Thailand continues to gain momentum towards achieving its Thailand 4.0 goals, one of the key industries benefitting from digitalisation is manufacturing. As Thailand 4.0 focuses on achieving economic prosperity in the new, digital age, the transformative shift is focused on turning traditional, manual, and labour-intensive business models into modern, efficient, and innovative approaches.

Although many of Thailand’s manufacturing facilities are dominated by managers who have gained their experience in traditional manufacturing approaches, a new generation of workers is coming through. These younger workers are demanding digital processes and, for Thai manufacturers to continue to attract and retain the best talent in the industry, it will become essential to deliver on the digital promise.

The journey to becoming a so-called ‘smart factory’ doesn’t have to occur all at once. Manufacturers can implement incremental changes depending on how mature the facility already is. For example, for some businesses, simply taking data from programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and putting it into a dashboard to provide visibility is a huge step while, for others, the time is right to turn to predictive technology and machine learning.

However, before managers of Thai manufacturing businesses are prepared to invest in digitalisation, it’s essential to understand the key benefits that digitalization can offer. These include the ability to know what’s happening, why it’s happening, and how it’s happening (as well as how to address issues). Digitalization can also reduce machine idle time, product defects, and costs, while increasing awareness, decision and action speeds, and productivity. Consequently, manufacturers that transform into smart factories can achieve three key outcomes:

  1. Improved availability and safety: the availability of data and the ability to analyse it effectively lets manufacturers predict future availability, plan for resource use, and reduce unplanned downtime and maintenance costs through predictive maintenance.
  2. Performance efficiency: with the ability to predict demand, manufacturers will be able to optimise their resource planning, gain increased visibility into workloads and output, reduce downtime and costs, and improve overall productivity.
  3. Quality assurance: using artificial intelligence (AI), manufacturers can automate the inspection process and increase accuracy and productivity while reducing the need for manual or visual inspections.

Becoming a smart factory with Fujitsu

Fujitsu works with numerous manufacturing firms in Thailand and across Asia to help them transition to become smart factories. From the Fujitsu Digital Innovation Center (DIC) in Singapore, Fujitsu co-creates solutions with customers by leveraging extensive digital technology and industry knowledge. The Digital work and operation tracking (DWOT) solution delivers 3 main benefits to customers; incident management, contractor management and real time location tracking. Here are some examples of how Fujitsu is working with customers to help them transition to smart factories.

Incident and operation management

A Fujitsu client in Thailand needed better visibility into maintenance processes and work but struggled to get accurate, real-time data due to the large size of the operation and the use of third-party contractors. Fujitsu provided a web-based solution that delivered a centralized dashboard, letting the customer monitor work status. The solution was integrated with a real-time location services (RTLS) solution to enhance visibility into the location of engineers in the customer’s vast facility. Incidents in the factory could also be monitored in real time and immediate actions taken by sending instructions to engineers based on SOP standard operational action. This helped improve safety as well as provided exceptional visibility into maintenance activities, letting the manufacturer improve productivity.

Contractor management

Fujitsu clients who use third-party contractors need to be able to manage those contractors effectively, including knowing where they are in the facility at all times. The Fujitsu DWOT solution includes the ability to verify contractors at the gate, then track their location while they’re on site. Contractor management helps to manage contractors, assigning the right person to the right job for every maintenance order from ERP, streamlining the process. This improves security as well as safety.

Automated flaws analysis

A Fujitsu client manufacturers turbine blades, which must be perfect to avoid potentially catastrophic malfunctions while the blades are in operation. The inspection process relied heavily on skilled human operators and each blade took around six hours to be tested. Fujitsu developed an artificial intelligence (AI) solution that reduced inspection time by 80 per cent while detecting 100 per cent of defects, leading to improved efficiencies and enhanced reputation for the manufacturer.

The next step for Thai manufacturers

Creating a smart factory environment that incorporates cloud and IoT technology can help drive your manufacturing organisation towards Thailand 4.0 and beyond. You can improve your productivity, safety, and quality, differentiating your manufacturing facility from your competitors.

Co-creation for success with Fujitsu

At Fujitsu, we are world-leading experts in digital business transformation. We have in-depth knowledge of smart factory solutions. For more information on how Fujitsu can help your manufacturing firm transform into a smart factory, contact us today.

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