SDLG and Alibaba Group Holdings (Alibaba), which is headquartered in Hangzhou, China, have announced a new partnership aimed at improving and enhancing intelligent manufacturing techniques at SDLG’s assembly plants in China.
SDLG, which is majority-owned by Volvo Construction Equipment, is a construction equipment manufacturer based in Linyi, China, that produces thousands of machines each year. By partnering with Alibaba, a global leader in B2B e-commerce and business intelligence technologies, the company hopes to use such innovations as artificial intelligence, machine-to-machine communication and intelligent devices to modernize its manufacturing. The goal is to boost productivity and reduce waste in its factories, while still delivering high-quality, reliable products to its customers.
Immediately, SDLG plans to begin using Alibaba’s cloud technology to improve procurement and supply chain sourcing, for example, which should help the company become more flexible in its production, as it can better shift among supply partners to meet changing market dynamics. Also, it will use Alibaba’s business intelligence tools to analyze the data of its current operations, which will help the company make more informed business decisions in the future.
“SDLG has been steadily investing in its production processes for years, and this partnership with Alibaba will take these efforts to a new level,” said Wen Degang, general manager of SDLG. “With the deep insight and analytics that Alibaba’s business intelligence expertise can bring, SDLG can further take the lead in such efforts as supply-chain sourcing, lean production and digital manufacturing to increase flexibility, operational efficiency and more.”
SDLG’s intelligent or “smart” manufacturing processes already include mechanisms that optimize its machine design process, its production and sales pipelines, for example. Tools provided by Alibaba through the new partnership will give SDLG insight into its own business operations at a level not previously seen.
“Our partnership with Alibaba will enable SDLG to better look within our company and discover the improvements that can be made to help us continue to grow on a global scale,” Wen explained. “And this investment will help us do our part to shift from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Developed in China.’”
The strategy reflects the Shandong Provincial Government’s push to transform and upgrade manufacturing in the region. The government has directed its companies to move away from solely manufacturing products to developing new products that adopt and utilize new technologies, all while utilizing leading edge intelligent manufacturing processes and business models.
As a leading manufacturer in Shandong Province, SDLG has already proven to be a leader of this strategy. It automates the welding, logistics and assembly functions of its factories, for example, and uses automated machines that can visually identify production materials and move them among its facilities. The partnership with Alibaba will help the company identify other opportunities to implement intelligent manufacturing methods.
“SDLG is one of China’s leaders in intelligent manufacturing and has undertaken huge investments to modernize its production efforts,” said Zhao Wei, vice president of Alibaba’s China Business Unit. “We are ready to deepen our partnership with this great company and help it realize the massive benefits that innovative manufacturing techniques can bring. We expect this to be a powerful and productive relationship that helps propel our industry into the future.”