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ICIM Successfully Held Its International Online Symposium: “Manufacturing Response and Supply Chain Collaboration amid the Pandemic”

On June 30th 2020, the International Coalition of Intelligent Manufacturing (ICIM) held an international symposium themed "Manufacturing Response and Supply Chain Collaboration amid the Pandemic".
On June 30th 2020, the International Coalition of Intelligent Manufacturing (ICIM) held an international symposium themed "Manufacturing Response and Supply Chain Collaboration amid the Pandemic". More than fifty representatives from 6 nations and 25 organizations, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), Coca-Cola, Cummins Generator Technologies, CIMdata, ABB, Panasonic, Cybernaut, attended the online symposium. Prof.. Zhou Ji, Co-Chairman of ICIM gave a closing speech. The event was hosted by Prof. Zhou Ping, Deputy Secretary General of ICIM.

Speakers from university, associations, and world leading companies shared their views and practices, that span throughout the whole supply chain. Although participants did not meet face-to-face, the focused presentations, enriched perspectives, in-depth interpretation, led to lively discussions, and a great cross-continental event.
 

Representatives That Attended the Online Symposium
 
Michael Dowling, Professor at the University of Regensburg, made a presentation entitled “Innovative Business Models in the German Mittelstand and the Impact of the Covid-19 Crisis”. He introduced the German-Mittelstand (German SMEs), and shared the impact of the pandemic on the group. According to a study in April 2020, around 73% of the surveyed German-Mittelstand said the supply chains had been severely affected, but mostly remained optimistic about the future, and an average of 75% of surveyed enterprises will continue to invest in digitalization in order to optimize their information technology management and improve their business models. By quote, Professor Dowling concluded that whatever the length of the shock, German-Mittelstand enterprises that act now, by adapting their business models to weather the storm, can recover faster and be better prepared for future crises, and in some cases, they may even emerge from the crisis stronger than ever.

 
Michael Dowling, Professor at the University of Regensburg, Made the Presentation

Curt Ferguson, President of Coca-Cola Greater China, Korea and Mongolia, shared the challenges occurred to Coca-Cola's supply chain, including the raw materials supply, manufacturing, and distribution network, and how quickly the company supply chain response to the challenges. He further shared the methodology of Coca-Cola's understanding of the “Consumption shift” in China, and the strategy and tactics required from the brands, to follow the e-life changes of consumers.


Curt Ferguson, President of Coca-Cola Greater China, Korea and Mongolia, Made the Presentation

Peter Bilello, President and CEO of CIMdata, gave a speech entitled “Flexible Product Innovation & Manufacturing - Preparing for the New Normal”. He mentioned, given the risk of an unprecedented global recession, all business entities are bound to face the new normal, and to make flexible changes in multiple facets (supply chain, business models, sales models, products, etc.). In this situation, enterprises have to evolve to agile & innovative platforms. And with citing the Chinese word 危机 (Wei Ji) for "crisis", he called for companies to speed up the process to succeed in the “New Normal”.


Peter Bilello, President and CEO of CIMdata, Gave the Speech

Desmond McMenamin, Global General Manager of Cummins Generator Technology (CGT), shared the pandemic impact on the to-B global entity with six plants, the short- to medium-term response initiatives, and the long-term planning of CGT, including investments on intelligent manufacturing. He further explained that, the pandemic has brought not only disruption but also more uncertainty to global business chains and supply chains, and he suggested that manufacturing companies may need to maintain higher resilience level between a lean supply chain and necessary redundancy.
 

Desmond McMenamin, Global General Manager of Cummins Generator Technology (CGT), Made the Presentation
 
Michael Johnson, Chief Strategy Officer of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), gave a presentation titled "What the Covid-19 crisis teaches us".  He suggested that in the midst of the global disruption like Covid-19, it is no longer sufficient for companies to rely on simple automation, but only to use intelligent manufacturing technologies, including internal intelligent manufacturing platforms, and external collaboration. Besides sharing the efforts that ASME took to deal with Covid-19 with other organizations, Mr. Johnson also shared some initiatives taken by ASME for digital innovation in the organization itself.


Michael Johnson, Chief Strategy Officer of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Gave the Speech
 
Last but not least, Prof. Zhou Ji, Co-Chairman of ICIM, gave a closing speech for the symposium, he said, “We are very pleased to say, that we have not only responded proactively and effectively to the current emergency, and ensured the continuity of production, but have also made some essential preparations to resist future shocks while considering possible changes to the global manufacturing industrial chain in the future”, he also stated that, “A new round of scientific and technological revolutions, industrial reforms, and accelerated economic transformations, have formed a historic convergence --and intelligent manufacturing is the convergent point. There is no doubt that manufacturing enterprises will seize this historic opportunity, to lead high-quality developments through innovation”. At the end, he invited the experts and ICIM members to participate in other activities organized by ICIM.

The current pandemic is sweeping across the globe and has brought a huge disruption on the global manufacturing sector. In the short term, the shutdown of manufacturing companies in various countries has had a tremendous impact on the global manufacturing supply chain. Various quarantine measures have also led to a severe decline or a temporary shift in consumption demand, as well as significant volatility and divergence in manufacturing revenue in the medium to long term. How to better manage the challenges, to increase the resilience of manufacturing entities in coping with similar shocks, become a pressing concern.

With this background, International Coalition of Intelligent Manufacturing (ICIM) is organizing a series of online symposiums, to share the best practices of global manufacturing companies in combating the pandemic. At the same time, ICIM hopes to organize cross-industry exchanges to actively explore the important role of intelligent manufacturing, while enterprises are dealing with the disruptions and on the road of re-examining the global supply chain.
 

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