Almost half of the respondents, around 46.6%, believed that their own companies fell behind the industry average when it comes to utilising digital tools as part of business processes, according to a survey conducted by AIBP and Oracle from March to April. The survey counted 193 professionals*, mainly from IT, innovation & business backgrounds in manufacturing and supply chain companies across the largest economies in Southeast Asia: Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines & Vietnam.

The manufacturing industry plays a significant role in local economies of Southeast Asian countries, contributing more than 20% of Gross Domestic Products in markets like Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Recent US-China trade tensions have also increased expectations of how manufacturing can contribute to markets like Indonesia and Vietnam. Concurrently, local governments are focused on uplifting local manufacturing capabilities by implementing policies to encourage and support initiatives towards Industry 4.0

The survey also found that 46.6% of respondents believed that the top priority of implementing digital solutions should be to drive operational efficiency in a bid to reduce costs, while 16.6% feel that it should be used to increase or create revenue opportunities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen supply chain disruptions across industries – while some companies struggled to come to terms with unusual fluctuations in supply and demand, other companies were better prepared. Thossaporn Petporee, SVP and part of Charoen Pokphand Foods digital committee outlined how Charoen Pokphand Foods have been ahead of the curve when it comes to digital transformation because of their experiences navigating past disruptions like the African swine fever and Avian Influenza. “Each time a pandemic hit, we prepared ourselves better. In our farms, we have the highest level of biosecurity and AI to identify animals across the farm and sales areas. We do well because we keep up to date, keep challenging ourselves.” The recent pandemic has led them to develop innovative online solutions like Vet Online and chatbots which are made available to the farms across their network to allow for diagnosis of animal diseases remotely. Charoen Pokphand Foods saw a net profit increase of 41% in 2020.

Companies from the Manufacturing and Supply Chain industries continue to innovate. In 2020, 3 out of 10 winners of the annual ASEAN Enterprise Innovation Awards were from the Manufacturing and Supply Chain industries, including Kalbe Farma and Astra International. Both companies embarked on digital transformation projects which involved integration of their ERP across business units to allow for a more connected supply chains; enabling real time feedback from across the entire value chain.

“There is an urgent need to reorganize one’s supply chains in the wake of 2020 and the recent Suez Canal blockage, and manufacturers in the region are rightly realising that what they have in-house is not enough when creating robust and resilient logistics processes that keep the business moving efficiently,” said Michael Lim, GTM Leader, ERP & Digital Supply Chain, Oracle. “With new capabilities upgraded onto Oracle Fusion Cloud Supply Chain Management each quarter, we are helping our customers streamline logistics to fulfil orders faster, cheaper and more sustainably to deliver the operational excellence they desire.”

*The survey was sent to professionals working in 1,600 publicly listed companies and/or subsidiaries of MNCs in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam & Singapore. These companies represent the following sectors: Consumer Durables, Non-Durables, Electronic Technology, Process Industries & Producer Manufacturing.

About AIBP

AIBP serves as an avenue for public and private organisations in Southeast Asia to access and exchange information about growth and innovation within the B2B space. With a current network of over 30,000 stakeholders in Southeast Asia, AIBP continues to develop ecosystems by engaging in activities which create value-adding information for our stakeholders seeking to make transformative impacts within their organisations. AIBP is a business unit of Industry Platform, a growth consulting firm based in Singapore.

About Industry Platform Pte Ltd

We work with public and private organisations to develop value-adding partnerships within the industries and markets which we serve. Our consulting framework advocates pursuing an integrated approach in assisting our clients in their growth and development initiatives. This includes market research, and access through business development strategy formulation and execution.