‘Online factories’ to promote man-machine dialogue;
‘E-commerce in transit’ to provide on-demand logistics
Beijing, February 17th, 2015 - Haier, the world’s leading home appliances and consumer electronics brand, has announced two of its core business strategies for 2015. The first, ‘online factories’, will allow a mass customization of production by empowering Internet-connected consumers to control the manufacturing process in intelligent factories to develop products according to their desired specifications. The second, ‘e-commerce in transit', will also place more power in the hands of consumers by providing on-demand and as-needed logistics services that integrate sales, distribution, installation and after-sales services into a two-way communication with the consumer.
These strategic goals are aligned with future visions set out in Industry 4.0. They also form additional aspects of Haier’s broader network strategy that it set out in 2012 to transform from a manufacturing into a platform enterprise that makes full use of the Internet to provide large-scale product customization. Through harnessing the added value of the Internet and mobile applications, Haier will continue to upgrade its industrial structure. By reducing the number of intermediate links within its production and services processes, it is able to meet increasing demands for the very best user experiences and allow customers to control and tailor the business to meet their needs.
Zhang Ruimin, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Haier Group, stated: "Haier’s online factories model is a disruptive innovation to the existing home appliance 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 it generates with customers, and the decentralization and distributed nature of the relationship. Enterprises must adapt by integrating with users to provide the very best user experience.”
Haier has already built the first ‘no light required workshop’ as well as the first ‘online factory’ in the Chinese marketplace. While Qingdao’s drum washing machine production line in Qingdao was previously staffed with 92 workers, nowadays the lights need not be turned on as robots directly connected throughout the entire production line have replaced all but one employee. In addition, after attracting 12 suppliers to participate in its front design, just one production line at Haier’s refrigerator factory in Shenyang can now support more than 500 different types of large-scale customization. Haier will continue such smart factory upgrading in 2015.
While Haier is known globally as a leading home appliances manufacturer, it is also already a major and innovative player in China’s e-commerce logistics sector, covering 400 cities and 1,800 counties. Operating in accordance with its service commitment to deliver all orders within 24 hours or deliver for free, Haier E-Commerce already undertakes the logistics services for 90% of large items ordered from Alibaba’s T-Mall website, which occupies approximately half of all Chinese B-2-C online product sales, following a strategic agreement with Alibaba that it entered into in 2013. As part of its ‘e-commerce in transit’ business development strategy for 2015, Haier will implement its ‘person-van-shop-warehouse’ vision. By integrating resources from offline retailers, service providers and warehouses, Haier aims to guarantee efficient last-mile product delivery by removing the handovers between sales, distribution, installation and after-sales services providers. Instead, the online user will experience integrated access to control all the resources in the chain in accordance with their specific requirements.