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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Japanese companies in digital transformation

ABeam Consulting works on analytics, big data and robotic process automation (RPA) across industries. Brother has set its sights on Industry 4.0, and is looking towards automation and robotics in operations.

ABeam Consulting Group
With almost forty years of expertise in the field, ABeam Consulting Group will accelerate further as it dives deeper into the digital space and focuses on helping customers in their digital transformation journey.

The company has a 150-strong team in Singapore where it has enjoyed thirteen years of operations in various sectors from ERP implementation and roll-outs to business process re-engineering and change management. It recently added big data and advanced analytics into its focused service portfolio.

Jasper Ngan, Principal, ABeam Consulting, said that ABeam Consulting sets itself apart from the challenging and competitive landscape in Singapore by priding themselves in their “Real Partner” philosophy. According to Ngan, this means treating every customer not through a customer/vendor lens, but looking at them as partners that can help them achieve a win-win situation.

“As “Real Partner”, we treat customer’s business as if it was our own. Having appropriate domain expertise is a must for our team of consultants. We start by engaging our customer with our domain expert(s). Firstly, understand their business objectives and growth strategy. It is critical to look into their pain points and areas for improvement with detail process studies. Subsequently, we derive recommendations that often involve IT strategy,” he said.

The company also works on analytics and big data implementation as well as robotic process automation (RPA) across multiple industries. In addition, the team takes on projects outside of Singapore especially in the Asia region, where they focus on EC&O, FSI, Hi-tech, discreet manufacturing and Telco.

Ngan said that having an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system would be a significant first step towards digital transformation. As a company begins to look into the possibility of digitisation, it would be critical for them to firstly appreciate how an integrated ERP system would benefit them, and how all the business processes can be married together in a centralised platform -- a platform that would enable them to make timely decisions and formulate business strategies. Once a solid ERP backend is in place, it only then makes sense to take bite-size steps to further digitally transform itself.

In one instance, ABeam Consulting helped a local financial institution organise its customer data in the KYC (Know-Your-Customer) area. Ngan said data that was previously extracted manually through various internal and external sources are now automated through RPA. These data are then automatically extracted from relevant sources and inputted into relevant target system for analysis purpose.”

“The bots drastically reduce human error and can work 24x7, thus for this particular process, we achieved cost saving of up to 50% in terms of FTE (full-time-equivalent) for the Financial Institution,” Ngan added.

From a mere 10 consultants in 2005 to the growing organisation that it is now, ABeam Consulting has always focused on the latest technology and how it can be applied to their clients’ business processes. Whether this would mean the “hard” items such as systems and solutions or infrastructure and hardware or the “soft” items such as an IT strategy, ABeam Consulting is one of the most trusted allies that firms can have in Singapore. 

Brother International
What began as a small procurement office in Malaysia 29 years ago has evolved into a Singapore based regional office focused on key business processes from marketing to customer service. Electronics giant Brother International has successfully grown its business outside of Japan, and continues to be recognised across the globe for its dedication to innovation, technology development, and machine reliability, an expertise acquired over the company’s 110 years of existence.  

As the Singapore market sees a shift from low-end to mid- and high end machines, Brother has ensured that the company remains focused on what the clients need, whether they may be from the consumer segment or the corporate or small and midsize business (SMB) segment. The printing market, except for large format and copiers, has been in a steady state of consolidation, and many brands have already opted out. “The demand has not slowed down but is seeing a marginal growth,” says Nigel Lee, Country Manager at Brother International.

Outside of the printing market, Brother also continues to grow its personal and home business (sewing machines), machinery business (industrial sewing machines), network and content business for Japan (karaoke systems), and domino business (coding and marking equipment) in selected markets.

Market shift
The market shift has also seen consumers focusing on multi-function and user-friendly capabilities and SMB clients requiring more network security, print-on-demand, and central print management, among others.

To address the changing demands of the constantly evolving market, Brother has rolled out solutions such as connecting clients and devices to the Internet of Things (IoT), improving device features, managing devices offsite, and providing consumables alert and order on demand capabilities. “Availability of consumables is a key demand component as customers expects that they are able to replace their used toners/ink cartridges as fast as possible. Of course, we must not forget that after sales service is critical to the customers,” says Lee.

Brother’s century-long heritage as a manufacturer of printers, sewing machines, and label printers comes from its reputable history of developing its own technologies, promoting the diversification of its business through applying accumulated cored technologies, and consistently cultivating new markets, all whilst focusing on what the customer needs. Brother is also known for operating with the times, and transforming its businesses to meet present demands.

Roadmap to Industry 4.0
Going forward, Brother has set its sights on Industry 4.0, and is looking towards automation and robotics to aid the company in its operations. The company, which is in the process of upskilling its staff, has also been ramping up more and stronger collaborations with its business partners in the area of technology, with a goal of having a more seamless integration in its business processes.

As a company dedicated to R&D and technology, Brother has committed itself to the conservation of the environment, contributing to local communities and society, and the practice of good corporate governance. In Singapore, the company has begun an effort to reduce and take back e-waste as the government seeks to enact e-waste legislation by 2021. “We at Brother will abide by the law and learn from other countries that have very matured practice on reduce, reuse and recycling,” says Lee.

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