(Yicai Global) Sept. 28 -- A retail management platform under Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding plans to partner with 200 garment factories this year, enabling them to monitor production data better through the use of artificial intelligence.
Tao Factory will team up with Alibaba Cloud's Internet of Things team and deploy their equipment in traditional clothing workshops, the unit said. The 20 firms that have already participated in the revamp saw their scheduling performance increase 6 percent and delivery cycles became 10 percent shorter, data from Hangzhou-based Alibaba shows.
Cameras are installed in the factories for data collection and Tao Factory synchronizes the production process via computer vision algorithms," General Manager Yuan Wei said. The platform is working with 10 Alibaba Cloud technicians on the project and each implementation takes only about two days since no personnel training is involved.
The first company Tao Factory transformed, Hangzhou Dianshi Garment, was satisfied with the program. "The plant has more than 100 staff members and the process of digital transformation includes the installation and repeated debugging of 20 cameras, hardware, fiber-optic networks and other equipment, while the total cost is less than CNY50,000 (USD7,400)," its General Manager Wang Cunshi told Yicai Global.
Dianshi Garment used to take holidays in June to August due to a weak demand while it couldn't find enough workers in busy seasons. After the transformation, it has had no off-seasons and has enough workers during busy periods, despite the fact that order sizes vary.
"Our products' life cycle is only about two months with an inventory of some 200 items," said Fan Junjie, manager of Taobao store 13C that accounts for over 50 percent of Dianshi Garment's demand. "Our first order won't be big, generally from 500 to 800 items."
Tao Factory also introduced Alibaba's instant messaging platform DingTalk to synchronize real-time information to all the parties involved. "The progress of an order can be seen by everyone in a DingTalk group. A robot will text the responsible person if something goes wrong," Yuan said.
Editor: Emmi Laine