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From Succession to Branding: Revitalizing Traditional Industries

From Succession to Branding: Revitalizing Traditional Industries
the establishment of the Sheet Metal National Team
Since the establishment of the Sheet Metal National Team, we have focused on the theme of "Next-Generation Succession" and embarked on the reform and upgrade of traditional industries. Subsequently, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global supply chains, and international trade wars officially began. Traditional industries, which had been export-oriented, had to find ways to survive, stand up, and expand in this challenging environment. This became a pressing issue in the second year of the team's existence.

The Sheet Metal National Team decided to make "branding" the core of its development strategy to help traditional industries break through their challenges and establish a new image. To achieve this, they organized the "2020 Branding Enhancement Forum" on November 20, 2020, at Donghai University's Maoban Hall. The event was co-hosted by the Taiwan Sheet Metal Business Association, Sheet Metal AI National Team, Sustainable Enterprise Management Association, and co-sponsored by 1111 Job Bank, Dashan-Donghai AI Center, Donghai University, Sincere Enterprise Consultants, and the Taiwan Digital Enterprise General Association. The forum featured three main themes: "Internationalizing Brands," "Lean Management," and "Digital Production."

Despite a registration fee of NT$1,500, hundreds of participants registered within a few days, and the Maoban Hall, which accommodates 200 people, was nearly full. Students from the management school at Dashan-AI Center, dressed in white shirts and black pants, guided the VIPs from the school gate to the venue.

The forum began with a speech by Vice President Wang Lizhi, who introduced Donghai University's recent efforts in "3+" areas: Liberal Arts +, Digitalization +, and Industry +, highlighting the university's contributions to the industry. Chairman Wang of the Sustainable Enterprise Management Association emphasized the need for collaboration among industries in the face of limited resources and environmental demands, stressing the importance of "banding together" to overcome challenges. Lin Yuanzheng, Chairman of the Sheet Metal Business Association and a key figure in the Sheet Metal National Team, addressed the forum's theme, focusing on digital transformation and building lean teams.

The speaker on "Internationalizing Brands," former Giant Group CEO Luo Xiang'an, explained how Giant evolved from an OEM manufacturer to creating its own brand, expanding globally, entering the mainland China market, and ultimately developing research and design centers in Taiwan. At the beginning of Giant's expansion into the mainland, many bicycle manufacturers relocated their research and manufacturing overseas, leaving Taiwan as a mere "warehouse." Luo, along with nine partners, established the A-Team and proposed "Power of Partnership" as the path to the "Future of Cycling." This collaborative effort successfully retained critical bicycle technology in Taiwan. To strengthen the A-Team partnership and promote cycling around Taiwan, an annual cycling event was organized and continues to this day. Luo believes that the industry is currently facing significant challenges, standing at the "crossroads of humanity and technology," a "turning point in time and space," where the whole world is starting from a new, common point. Having a brand is essential for knowing what actions to take in such a moment. 

The speaker on "Lean Management," Zhan Zhihui, was recognized by the China Petrochemical Corporation as China's top strategic mapper. The Deputy CEO of Mittal Steel, the world's largest steel company, stated that Zhan Zhihui is more impressive than any American or Japanese consultant he has met. Zhan introduced the five steps of LCIM (Low Cost Intelligent Automation), particularly emphasizing the first step of "complex pull production systems," a rare practice in Taiwan's manufacturing industry. The key to this step is establishing a "universal code," which can reduce delivery cycles and product inventory costs by 50%, as well as manufacturing costs by 25%. It also serves as the foundation for the second step, "AI scheduling," which is crucial for entering complex production line design, warehouse and logistics design, and AI production control, thus achieving true lean production.

The speaker on "Digital Production," Luo Wencong, presented the topic of "Digital Production: The Rebirth of Sheet Metal Digital Manufacturing." He began with a video titled "Eagle Rebirth," illustrating how eagles, with an average lifespan of 70 years, renew themselves when they reach 40. Facing aging talons, heavy wings, and a curved beak almost touching their chest, eagles have two options: waiting to die or renewing themselves. They fly to a cliff at the mountaintop and start by tapping their beak against rocks until it falls off. Then, they patiently pluck out their talons one by one. Once new talons grow, they pluck out their feathers one by one. After five months, new feathers grow, and the eagle soars gracefully in the sky again. Digital production is the key to the revival of traditional industries, and Luo Wencong briefly described the Sheet Metal National Team's first-year achievement of establishing the Smart Boss system and their progress towards version 2.0 in the second year. He cited a quote from Kazuo Inamori, a pioneer in computer vision, "Think like a layman, act like an expert," emphasizing the importance of cross-industry partnerships.

From "Next-Generation Succession" to "Branding," the upgrade of traditional industries involves not only technological advancement but also a shift in mindset and the creation of aesthetics. It marks the beginning of a new journey, starting with building their own brands.