Alibaba’s Core Three-Year Secret Strategy for Remaking the Factory
By: Sneha Chaudhary
- Alibaba Three-Year Experiment to Remake the Factory.
- Path to Smart Manufacturing Starts with Garments.
- China is Going to Unveil Its First Smart Factory In September
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has now set its eyes on a new target: the country’s ageing factories, after helping more than a million brick-and-mortar, Chinese retailers are ready to modernise their operations.
Largest corporation of China is going to unveil its first smart factory in September, a secret trial that Alibaba has been undertaking on the outskirts of its hometown of Hangzhou for three years. The three-story facility known as Xunxi — literally translated as “fast rhino” — is the company’s effort to leverage it’s customer data and technology to increase performance in the multi-trillion-dollar development arena and meet rising consumer expectations.
The journey of Alibaba to smart development begins with apparel, a market worth 2.2 trillion yuan ($328 billion) in China last year, based on estimates by Euromonitor International. Alibaba said that one out of the country’s four garment purchases was delivered via its e-commerce sites, giving it access to an ocean of data. It is currently deploying to assist domestic clothing manufacturers in design and development preparation.
To further minimise costs, it also centralises the content sourcing process. In the Xunxi factory prototype, artificial intelligence, autonomous weapons as well as several other in-house developments were also put into use.
Fashion company usually take a month to deliver a new design from the runway to stores, but Alibaba claims that it can slash order lead times by 75%. This will counter the rising demand among China’s Gen-Z consumers for immediate gratification. For instance, designers may study virtual rendering effects on so-called digital fabrics on their computer screens with the help of AI, instead of going through a time-consuming procedure to dye the fabric.
Workers of the Garment Factory have high-tech assistants, such as AI-enabled cutting machines and internet-connected sewing devices, that help them to fine-tune their jobs.
If a step has been completed, via a conveyor belt, the item will be moved to the next work station. Since the whole workflow is digitally recorded, factory management no longer needs to be on site. Instead, they can track the progress remotely on computers or through their mobile phones.