How can businesses stay afloat in the long run?

There can be no arguing that the extraordinary Covid-19 pandemic and internet and smartphones have changed our lives and how we do business in ways that would have seemed unthinkable even a short decade ago.   Just about everything we do these days is associated with technology – think e-commerce, media & entertainment streaming, travel booking, ride hailing services, financial services, and automated processes in industries and service companies.   Digital technologies help cut costs, enable delivery of services at a higher speed, promote ease of doing business, leverage an increasingly non-tactile world and grow economies. Little wonder then that entrepreneurs are reshaping their business models and streamlining their work processes to cope with technology disruption. 


As evidenced by many countries’ lockdowns, businesses which have embraced new technologies and strong digital infrastructure with visions to do better could survive and thrive in the Next Normal.    On consumer side, they are more open to learn new things and experiences, less brand loyalty, accessibility of information from anywhere and at anytime, the way we work are more flexible and remotely, greater awareness of  social and environmental issues, entrepreneurship mindset, and freedom to choose their lifestyles.


To cater consumer behavior changes, adaptation to remote working environment and the needs of digital-savvy consumers, many businesses have successfully captured the exponential growth in online and e-commerce businesses, thanks to the advanced emerging technologies and digital infrastructure development.    


Kanyathorn Poglad, Country General Manager of RS Components in Thailand comments that  “Prior to the pandemic, Thailand was one of three countries in Southeast Asia’s top ranking in the adoption of eCommerce.   It showed that 75% of Thai population had previously transacted online on a monthly basis.  According to the Department of Business Development, the value of e-commerce in Thailand has been growing continuously from 2014 and showed significant growth by 2020 to hit Bt200 billion projected market value.  The lockdown during the Covid-19 and with stay at home and remote working had led to tremendous online shopping changing behaviors on the back of more convenient digital banking solutions and connectivity.   According to report, revenue in the Thai eCommerce market is projected to reach US$7,288 million or 42.8% yoy growth in 2020 while it is projected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2020-2025) of 11.1%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$12,319 million by 2025.


Businesses and manufacturers are encouraged to determine what areas of business and technologies can be transformed to keep them competitive and innovative with data-driven market insights amid intensified and uncertain environment.   Adopting AI and machine learning, among other new technologies to study these consumer behaviours and understand the customers’ future buying patterns, businesses are optimizing their production outputs based on consumer demands, thus reducing production waste and unnecessary costs.


AI is considered as smart tool for quality assurance and detecting errors before they happen and AI-driven inspection tools can be used to identify defects on production lines at a faster pace and with greater accuracy.   On the supply chain, AI-driven automation can improve and speed up processes.  Lining up materials needed for production and products ready to go to the market can be handed over to machines, who can do the job efficiently. This will reduce manpower hours during the production process and shift their times to other valuable functions or more focus on work at factory floors by ensuring the end-products reaches the customer safely.


Kanyathorn views that personal or human touches also goes a long way, especially as more interactions or dialogues are digitalised.  It is more important for businesses to maintain and build up relationships with customers through digital platform and social media.   RS Component’s eCommerce solution offers customers to communicate with local designated staff, liaise with account managers and request for competitive quotes immediately.   Once any business can look after their customers on a personal level, it leads to brand loyalty in the long run, Kanyathorn mentioned.


One of the biggest contributing technologies in eCommerce and business industries  lies on the Internet of Things, or Industrial IoT (IIOT). Globally, Kanyathorn expects to see more than 75 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices installed by 2025. When it comes to data, IIOT technology can deliver real-time operational data, allowing manufacturers and businesses to make adjustments on the go and to manage factory units remotely and strategic advantages.


Many Thai businesses and manufactures have not materially realized substantial savings in streamlining their procurement and supply chain processes.  Imagine that if business can run their procurement process more efficiently through eProcurement system without any complicated integrated systems, it gives them quick and easy access to a wide range of industrial and electronics products available in our online catalogue. The system also gives them a better grip on tracking procurement costs, ensuring data accuracy, minimising errors and reducing Purchase to Pay process costs.


Lastly, with the availability of IIOT, the technology can bring automated machines to factory floors, and enable in-factory logistics and production scheduling to achieve consumer-to-business smart manufacturing. IIOT sensors can ensure ongoing monitoring of the production line from start to finish, allowing operators the ability to fine-tune the manufacturing process, reducing time and cost. These are specific technologies that significantly impact factory productivity and our role is helping customers identify and source innovative products from trusted brands in a simple and straightforward manner.


RS Components is a global omni-channel distributor of industrial and electronics solutions and products for engineers and procurement specialists.  The company offers 500,000 products from over 2,500 suppliers  across the maintenance, repairs and operations items and electronics range on its website.   Established partnerships with local sourcing suppliers across Southeast Asia countries, providing customers with total solutions ranging from designing, building and maintaining industrial equipments and facilities through innovation and different channels, after-sales service supports through local staff and technical teams, are key considerations to build up customer seamless experience  effectively and efficiently.


Some of our key supplier brands are ABB, Phoenix Contact, Schneider Electric, TE Connectivity, RS Pro, Siemens, SMC, Keysight Technologies, Fluke , Omron, ON Semiconductor, Analog Devices, ebmpapst, ST Micro, Microchip, Molex, Panasonic, Infineon and Vishay.