SMEs build “cloud plants” to advance digital transformation


It was quiet at the plant of the Xiantao Zhongxing Electronic Materials Co., Ltd., a high-tech enterprise in central China’s Hubei province, though it was during the peak hours of production.

As trucks carrying raw materials neared the gate of the plant, gate arms went up automatically, allowing the vehicles to enter an unloading area where their weight was automatically measured. Besides, the freight charge was also automatically paid to truck drivers there.

On a big screen in a control room, real-time data about workshops in the plant were shown, from which the operating staff could see clearly whether the tubes of production equipment were plugged and check the consumption of water, electricity and steam.

The plant’s digital transformation has not only improved its logistics efficiency but also optimized its production, management, and quality inspection. After adopting digital approaches, the capacity of the enterprise has been lifted from 7,000 tons to 11,000 tons per month, while the operational cost per ton has been reduced by 700 yuan ($97.96).

It is an epitome of the efforts made by Beijing United Information Technology Co., Ltd. to help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) build “cloud plants.”

In recent years, the Beijing-based company has actively assisted traditional industries and SMEs in their digital transformation by utilizing industrial internet platforms.

“To assist the digital transformation of traditional industries is a priority for us,” said Qian Xiaojun, general manager of Beijing United Information Technology Co., Ltd.

To tackle the problems encountered by SMEs during digital transformation, the company has developed a model that combines digital plant with industrial internet to digitalize factory production, management, quality inspection, energy consumption and logistics.

The company has a digital platform that shows real-time data about industrial chain transaction ranking and volume, as well as the distribution of orders. On the logistics interface of the platform, information of trucks that carry freights for factories is shown, such as what freight they carry, the weight of the freight and the vehicle locations.

It is reported that some SMEs in the titanium industry have improved their production efficiency by 15 percent to 30 percent after being connected to the platform. Besides, their networking rate of key equipment has surged 50 percent to 70 percent, while the labor cost is now 20 percent to 40 percent lower. Orders are delivered 40 percent to 60 percent faster than before.

Over the past years, Beijing United Information Technology Co., Ltd. has launched multiple e-commerce platforms for industry verticals covering paint materials, chemical engineering, glass manufacturing, sanitation supplies, papermaking, fertilizer, and food.

For instance, the company provides digital supply chain and digital plant solutions for over 10 enterprises in the titanium industry, so as to realize higher-efficiency collaboration among companies along the industrial chain. This model has played a vital role in stabilizing the industrial and supply chains.

The company has launched a plan to build 100 “cloud plants” in three years, and will expand the size of “cloud plants” for some industries, so as to help SMEs stabilize the supply chain, improve production efficiency, and achieve high-quality development.


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