Inventec to set up smart factory in Southeast Asia in 2016

An article published on August 27th, 2015 in The China Post (http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/business/2015/08/27/444353/Inventec-to.htm) describes how Inventec, a major Taiwanese supplier of the Chinese phone brand Xiaomi, is planning on building a smart manufacturing plant in Southeast Asia in 2016. The new smart facility will manufacture smart phones and PC related products. But according to Inventec Chairman Richard Lee, “We’re not going to copy our traditional labor-intensive Chinese factories.” Their plan is to utilize the “Industry 4.0” model and to use Web-based intelligent computer systems. Inventec recently signed a letter of intent with Siemens PLM Software to upgrade their current and future plants with these Web-based intelligent computer systems. To date they have purchased 300 robotic arms, but they expect to purchase another 3,000 more by June of 2016, which will cost approximately US$20 million to US$30 million. Their goal is to manufacture more efficiently by creating “a networked, flexible, and dynamically self-organizing manufacturing process for highly customizable products.” This is a great example of how Smart Manufacturing is changing the way that Chinese and Southeast Asian companies have traditionally approached manufacturing. Will it be difficult for China and Southeast Asian countries to shift from labor intensive factories to smart factories? Does smart manufacturing have a future in China and Southeast Asia? How will the work force feel about this upgraded technology? Will smart manufacturing in China and Southeast Asia have a significant impact on countries who import from them?

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