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Haier further develops its industrial model and presents its first fully interactive production system
07-30 2015

 Objective: zero distance with the consumer

"Listen to and understand the customers to better answer their needs" is Haier’s overriding strategy. A strategy that manifests itself in bringing to market products designed primarily to facilitate the everyday life of users. To go even further, Haier develops its industrial model through the evolution of some of its traditional factories into interconnected factories and the creation of new interconnected factories. The objective is to give yet more importance to consumers by connecting them directly to Haier factories, to create the most tailor-made product possible.

How Haier is determined to become a leader in the Internet age

With the development of internet technologies, the world is developing from "Internet of Information" into "Internet of everything". As a result, the lifestyle and industrial style of human beings will change significantly. From this observation, the interconnected factories model is a representative practice of Haier’s networking strategy, allowing a mass customisation of production. Internet-connected consumers are empowered by their involvement in the manufacturing process in intelligent factories to customise the design of their desired products.

Zhang Ruimin, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Haier Group, stated:

"Haier’s networked factories model is a disruptive innovation to the existing home appliances industry, but the trend of the age must be the pursuit of such change. In the Internet age, it is no longer about considering how to make customers understand and accept what we are doing. Instead, it is about integrating users and enterprises together in a harmonious and organic way. The most important characteristics of the Internet age are the zero-distance relationship generated with consumers, and the decentralisation and distributed nature of the relationship. Enterprises must adapt by integrating with users to provide the very best experience.”

Concrete implementation and initial results

In the last few months, the Haier Group has built up Internet-based smart factories, where mass production of personalised products has replaced the company's traditional large-scale manufacturing.

These new smart factories (four in China: a factory producing smart air conditioners in Zhengzhou, a refrigerator factory in Shenyang,  a water heater factory in Qingdao and a factory producing washing machines in Foshan), allow users to personalise and order appliances by communicating their needs directly with the manufacturer through diy.haier.com. The most impressive and different part of this strategy is about the automatic dialogue between the factory and consumers. Consumers can participate in the creation, quality control, production, logistics.

These factories are still mainly for Chinese market, except washing machines factory. In the near future, users worldwide will be able to order their custom-made washing machine from the factory in Foshan, becoming the most advanced networked factory in the home laundry industry. This one has firstly achieved the visualised production for users in this field allowing them to observe the whole process live via app or internet. Furthermore, users can also catch the information of the performance parameter of the products due to the automatic data report after the products are finished. At present, users can be connected during every single step of the process. A unique code is generated for every custom-made product, just like an ID card. According to this, the product is then organised, planned and produced on the process line. Different models, colors and functions of washing machines can therefore be produced at the same time, to meet the individual requirement of the global users.

“The tailor-made products are a huge hit with Chinese customers. We hope to do the same soon with European consumers”, says Li Pan, Vice President of Haier and overseas managing Director.

 

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