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Swire Coca-Cola to install manufacturing information system at 18 plants

By Zhong Nan | | Updated: 2021-04-12 15:35
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An employee works in a workshop of a Swire Coca-Cola Ltd member company in Shanghai, on March 17, 2017. [Provided to]

Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a bottler of Coca-Cola beverages, plans to install a manufacturing information system at its 18 plants, with nearly 100 production lines across China over the next two years, its global head Karen So said.

The Hong Kong-headquartered company will add nine advanced production lines in the Chinese mainland, which began in 2020 and continue in 2021, to further boost its production efficiency. It also will partner with other technology companies, such as Germany's Siemens AG, to push China's beverage industry into a digital era.

Many opportunities come from China's surging demand for various beverage products, in particular low-sugar and sugar-free beverages, digital technology-led industrial upgrading, the government's goal to hit peak carbon emissions before 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, said Karen So, managing director of Swire Coca-Cola.

Even though the world's economic order has been severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Swire Coca-Cola saw its net profit grow by 31 percent on a yearly basis and generated 19.7 billion yuan ($3.01 billion) in sales revenue in the Chinese mainland last year.

By using Siemens' customized manufacturing information system, the first digital production line of Swire Coca-Cola in China, recently went into operation in Hangzhou in late March. Once these digital systems are installed in its 18 factories in China after two years, it will unlock an annual capacity of 550 million cans.

The manufacturing information system, jointly developed by Swire Coca-Cola China and Siemens, is designed to solve growth issues of China's beverage industry via digital solutions. It is able to collect real-time data during production and undertake multi-dimensional dynamic data analysis in efficiency, energy consumption, safety, quality and error forecasting.

"China's effort to push the dual-circulation development paradigm will sustain growth in the coming years, building up strength in both domestic demand and foreign trade to meet challenges in a new development stage," So said.

"As early as 2019, we positioned the digital strategy as one of Swire Coca-Cola's five core strategies," she said, adding the company hopes to explore new business opportunities and trends by drawing on internet technology and digital tools, promoting the sector's digital transformation.

China's economic growth will depend strongly on the industrial sector with less labor in the market during its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period; automation and digitalization are the key to meet the country's growth demand, said Wang Xiaoming, a researcher at the Institutes of Science and Development of the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The central government introduced a guideline in late March outlining measures to boost manufacturing services and intelligently transform the manufacturing sector. The idea is to improve the quality and efficiency, innovation capacity and resource allocation efficiency of the manufacturing sector by 2025.

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