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IT IS the time of the year when we reflect on our hits and misses for 2018 as we work on our vision and mission for a more successful 2019 and beyond. In this annual market outlook, we find out from executives on what they have in store for the coming year and their thoughts about the trends and opportunities in the market.

Pierre Teszner, Regional Director, Southeast Asia, Rockwell Automation

Pierre Teszner, Regional Director, Southeast Asia, Rockwell Automation

“In 2018, our focus at Rockwell Automation has been to bring The Connected Enterprise to life for our customers. The Connected Enterprise, which is how we implement smart manufacturing capabilities for our customers, is at the heart of everything we do.

With every action we took in 2018, we grew the strength of our distributors, system integrators and machine builder partners to bring the best automation and information solutions to our customers. Our partnership with PTC and the launch of our new branding towards the end of our fiscal year 2018, position Rockwell Automation tremendously well to bringing the Connected Enterprise to life for all customers and adapting it to local markets regardless of customer size, industry or geography.

The outlook for the regional economy of Southeast Asia for 2019 is positive. Factoring the risks inherent in the global trade and tariff arena, we do see a high likelihood for continued growth in the region supported by government investments (eg: EEC Corridor in Thailand).

We also expect the FDI/ODI gaining strength into industries such as CPG (including companies involved with food production, packaged goods and beverages) and oil & gas. Customers are particularly investing in Southeast Asia as a regional manufacturing hub as they perceive has fewer risks and less tariff exposure.

Next year, we’re focused on helping our customers take the first steps to digital transformation, or continue their journey, as companies are looking at digitisation to unlock increased productivity.

The key 2019 industry trends for Rockwell Automation are digital transformation and cybersecurity protection for our customers.

The key driver for digital transformation is the need to keep pace with the competition. Digital transformation enables organisations to optimise their existing processes and increase productivity and efficiencies within the business.

When it comes to cybersecurity, the best defence for companies is a good offence with a robust prevention and response plan to protect industrial control systems from ever-increasing cyberattacks.”

Potential And Opportunity In 2019

“To drive growth in the next 3-5 years, Rockwell Automation is focused on continuing to develop deep industry and country expertise and building our supplier and distributer networks. Additionally, with the region’s need for digitisation and cybersecurity we also see opportunities to help our customers to understand the world of digital transformation and the benefits that it offers.

Through partnerships with the best universities, local governments, and Industry 4.0 agencies, Rockwell Automation is committed to elevating the industry and its needs by up-skilling students and re-skill working professionals so that the digitisation journey brings benefits to everyone.”

 

Carsten Haecker, Head of igus Asia Pacific

Carsten Haecker, Head of igus Asia Pacific

“THE goal and focus of igus business activities is to provide customers with the best product for their individual moving application, to reduce costs and improve the performance with tribo-polymer solutions. These high performance plastics are the core of our activities, our developments and our strategy and we are clearly focused on this material.

We continue to improve our online tools and configurator, the material selection, visual imagination and the complete e-commerce process to ensure our clients get what they require in an easy, fast and efficient way.

Asia Pacific remains the growth driver also in 2019 but we may see regional differences. Uncertainty related to tariffs and trade, Brexit discussions and regional tensions may cause some interruption on global scale but we believe in long terms sustainability. The opportunities in Asia as a whole are far outweighing the challenges. Around 25 percent of our sales and workforce is today in Asia and we continue to invest into new markets or expand existing manufacturing facilities

The world is changing faster than ever before, new trends are taking place and past solutions may disappear. Artificial intelligence, complete process automation, intelligent robotics and driverless vehicles just to name a few. We see enormous opportunities in all of those trends but we have to constantly re-invent ourselves, we have to differentiate ourselves, we have to question status quo and we have to be very alert for new technologies.

As an engineering solution provider we have to carefully listen to our customer requirements and combine digitalisation with industrial development. The clear objective in the coming year(s) is to concretely implement the automated process that ranges from online configuration to digitally supported manufacturing for all product categories.  This is a difficult path to take because ready-made solutions cannot be bought – they usually have to be developed individually. We have already made enormous progress and we are convinced that we will succeed. Due to this perfected form of individual mass production, customers will be able to obtain any motion plastics product they need even quicker, more reliably and in a significantly reduced time.”

Key Industry Trend To Watch Out For 2019

“The IoT continues to drive development. igus as an early adopter has developed the i-sense product family, a smart plastics series to enhance the availability of the customer’s equipment due to their integration into a network. The intelligent cable, energy chain and linear guide monitor their own condition during use and open up new possibilities of predictive maintenance. The user is therefore never unexpectedly confronted with a problem in his application but can plan replacement of a component well in advance.

Additive manufacturing would be another key trend to mention. 3D or SLS printing is a good example. Additional to our more than 50 different tribo-materials for molding, we have developed additionally six tribo-filaments and two SLS materials. With this, individual wear parts can be printed very easy – on customers own equipment or at igus. This offers the customers more freedom of design.

Lastly, let me name the idea of low cost robotics. The igus robolink modular robotic system allows automating manual work steps quickly and easily. Articulated arms in various lengths and sizes are available. The number of lubrication-free joints used ranges from two to six, and the robot can be equipped with various tools (eg: grippers, suction cup, camera, etc) as desired. Robolink robot components are characterised by their modularity. As a modular system, a robot arm can be configured as desired and therefore economically, and moreover it is also possible to obtain ready-to-use complete systems.

As stated before, developments into total automation, remote monitoring of machine performance, artificial intelligence, driverless cars and robotics will drive requirements in the next years. We believe that we have for all segments tribo-polymer based products and support systems which will generate opportunities on various ends.”

 

Poul Lorentzen, General Manager, Consoveyo

Poul Lorentzen, General Manager, Consoveyo

“Our focus for 2018 was to design and develop a wide range of customised, first-in-class integrated warehousing solutions for our customers. Research and development activities are an important priority to Consoveyo, and we’re constantly looking to refine and develop high-quality warehousing solutions.

One of our biggest projects for 2018 was the installation of a turnkey interfloor conveyor system in JTC Food Hub @ Senoko. The system allows the tenants of the Food Hub to transfer finished food products from the production areas on the upper floors to a centralised storage area on the ground floor. It also enables tenants to transport raw materials from the ground floor to the upper floors. The entire operation is carried out without the use of traditional forklifts or cargo lifts, which would typically require operators to make multiple trips across different floors.

Another noteworthy project is the upcoming installation of a highly customised, explosion-proof automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) solution for a chemical specialties producer. We designed a warehouse that allows the customer to safely host work-in-progress materials while preventing safety hazards like combustion and contamination. This project holds significance for our business in Asia, because chemical specialties require special handling, storing, and transporting, so it reflects the industry’s confidence in us.

Global economic challenges might put a damper on international business activities. That said, warehousing solutions are an integral part in any business regardless of industry, and the logistics sector can be expected to remain dynamic in 2019.

Consoveyo remains at the forefront of the logistics industry, providing automated solutions tailored to each customer. Our ability to tap on the expertise of our sister companies within Körber’s Business Area Logistics Systems will continue to keep us ahead of the competition within the industry.”

Attractive Business Trends In Asia In 2019

“The e-commerce industry has been growing rapidly in Asia. As an increasing number of consumers are making their purchases online, brick and mortar retailers are readily adopting online sales platforms. This competitive landscape has led to retailers improving their processes and efficiency in dealing with consumers’ needs. As a result, consumers have come to expect faster deliveries and better responses from retailers.

To cater to consumer demand, retailers place high importance on three factors: faster delivery channels, strategic locations of distribution centres and warehouses, and real estate costs. Today, retailers are turning to ASRS systems, as these systems are able to operate in areas with small footprints, while at same time allow users to have increased control over their inventory.

This is where we can offer our expertise. We have designed and installed ASRS solutions for a variety of customers who have limited, restricted areas for a warehouse or distribution centre. With our ASRS solutions, users will be able to maximise productivity, and increase throughput and efficiency for positive results.

Integrating automation in logistics solutions for last-mile fulfilment will continue to be top-of-mind for manufacturers. Automation technologies can help companies overcome manpower shortages, which is an important factor for Asian markets facing shrinking labour forces.

Furthermore, an increasing number of countries are implementing new labour regulations that protect employees from excessive physical work. As a result, companies are choosing to integrate automated technologies instead of hiring and training manpower. With our technologies, we are well-positioned to help our customers improve overall productivity in their warehouse operations by integrating automated technologies into warehouses and distribution centres.

I believe that Southeast Asian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be at the forefront of the region’s economy next year. As the regional digital economy grows, SMEs are motivated to harness new technologies to drive operational growth. Enterprise software technologies such as supply chain management and data analytics can help SMEs increase productivity and operations, better handle business management, and simplify human resource administration.”

 

Andy Coussins, Senior VP and Head of International Sales, Epicor Software Corporation

Andy Coussins, Senior VP and Head of International Sales, Epicor Software Corporation

“One of our major achievements in 2018 was our announcement of an expanded strategic partnership with Microsoft that allowed us to deliver enterprise-class solutions globally in the public cloud leveraging the Microsoft Azure platform. For customers, choosing Azure means more reliability, faster access to innovation, less disruption, greater ability to scale, and higher performance.

We have also had two updates to Epicor ERP this year. The latest version of Epicor ERP supports omnichannel commerce strategy for manufacturers and dealers, and Epicor Kinetic Design is a three-pronged common cross-platform user experience (UX) framework.

I believe we will continue to see companies expanding their operations, particularly in Southeast Asia, where a higher growth path can be expected for 2019. This is coupled with the strong economic integration through the continued focus and commitment of the ASEAN nations to the AEC Blueprint which is aimed towards achieving the vision of having a highly integrated and cohesive economy by 2025.

I also see the expansion of the digital economy in this region particularly around the convergence of communication networks and increased connectivity of devices. The increased use of ICT in manufacturing and services will continue to be a big enabler of growth and that will help boost the economy of the region.

Asia, particularly Southeast Asia, plays a very important role in the global economic landscape. The region is expected to become even more competitive as an industrial centre with deeper regional economic integration. The focus on digitisation, especially for manufacturers, in this region will be an opportunity for all. About 40 percent of the industrial companies in Southeast Asia rate their level of digitisation as high – it is believed that this will rise to 69 percent in the next five years.

Coupled with fast moving global markets, Southeast Asian manufacturers need to respond quickly to changing demands to maximise new market opportunities. Our product vision is designed to drive industry forward with an intelligent business platform primed for global customers to embrace cloud, IoT, mobility and predictive analytics – likewise, we strive to be ahead of the curve on trends like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and machine learning, so we can help our customers embrace them when they are ready.

Innovative ERP solutions, combined with Industry 4.0 developments, are already helping to automate production lines, streamline supply chains, and provide the intelligent data manufacturers and distributors need to react quickly to changing consumer demands. One example includes what Epicor customer Cladtek Singapore is doing to embrace these trends.

Manufacturers in Asia, and mainly in Southeast Asia, are beginning to understand the business imperative of the IoT, as well as artificial intelligence and data science. Done right, Industry 4.0 will enable them to improve efficiencies whilst reducing costs.

By 2020, there will be 30 billion connected devices on earth. This is leading to a Big Data mountain growing beyond recognition. Machines communicating with people – and other machines – are creating so much data that we have generated more in the past two years than in the previous 5,000 years of human history.”

Potential And Opportunity In 2019

“There’s solid proof that prioritising technology will help businesses grow. This year, Epicor delivered its second Global Growth Index, and discovered that around the globe, manufacturing businesses are showing healthy signs of growth.

Overall, more than one third (36 percent) of all businesses agree that investment in IT is a high priority. Technology is, after all, crucial to overall business growth in the manufacturing sector because it provides leaders with vital insight into their business operations, enabling them to make better decisions faster. Technology can also automate otherwise manual tasks, freeing up employee time – valuable to a growing company with a stretched workforce.”

 

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