Nimbleness and production efficiencies were not the only benefits. The site’s digital end-to-end ecosystem is also helping the team more accurately understand waste, including wasted energy. For example, Hefei now uses recycled residual heat to help power the factory, a measure which has reduced its overall steam consumption by 93%.
“I’m very proud of our site team’s dedication and adaptiveness. They have worked at incredible speed to make this digital transformation possible,” says Yong-mei Ma.
“Through our global digital transformation, we have been able to upskill thousands of people across Unilever, and significantly contribute to our environmental sustainability commitments through improved efficiency and reduced waste,” adds Marc Engel.
A world where consumers increasingly want faster, customised, personalised products requires a supply chain that is designed accordingly.
By embedding end-to-end connectivity and leveraging digital tools to upskill and augment worker capabilities, Hefei has delivered considerable efficiencies. As a member of WEF’s Global Lighthouse Network, it is also lighting the way for the next generation of manufacturers on how to achieve new levels of sustainability, agility, speed-to-market and productivity.
Watch Hefei’s high-tech production line in action: