Data Driven Transformation – Moving up the Manufacturing Value Chain: Key Takeaways

AIBP Insights is a series of discussions held online which brings together a focus group of ASEAN stakeholders to discuss topics related to enterprise technology adoption in the region.

Last week, we kicked off our AIBP Insights Manufacturing series with a discussion on Realising the Potential of Digital Technologies in the Supply Chain, Cybersecurity for Smart Factories in Manufacturing, and ASEAN Agribusiness Revolution in the Digital Age. You may view the playback of the discussion here.

In 2020, the estimated GDP of the ASEAN region amounted to USD3.08 trillion and the manufacturing sector contributed to approximately 23%. ASEAN’s changing demographics, geo-political shifts and favourable government policies provide the strong foundation for its member states to capture growth in these manufacturing segments. 

According to the 2021 AIBP Enterprise Innovation Survey, 42.9% of ASEAN manufacturers said that unlocking enterprise data and analytics is a key priority when fortifying resilience, and 24.8% want to experiment with RPA, AI, ML, and other cognitive technologies. (You may view more survey results in our 2021/22 ASEAN Enterprise Innovation Market Overview here

In today’s discussion, our panel comprised speakers from Alliance Contract Manufacturing, Bio Farma, Dole Packaged Food, and technology partner Talend, who came together to discuss and share their perspectives on utilising big data analytics, artificial intelligence/machine learning and other next generation technologies, exploring new business models, and driving personalised customer experience, to navigate transformation and innovation to move up their manufacturing value chain.

Utilising Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning & Other Next Generation Technologies

Andree Hadiwinata, Enterprise Sales Director, Talend Indonesia, defines data health as “having data that can help you achieve your business objectives.” In one example, he mentioned how Subaru, a global automotive manufacturer, was able to use both data and technologies to achieve business objectives and solve business problems.

Fenny Marizka, Head of Strategic Partnership, Bio Farma, went on to say that data is extremely important to her team at Bio Farma. She added that as the leading vaccine manufacturer in Indonesia, their manufacturing teams are using data to better understand demand for vaccine production and reduce the overall time required to bring vaccines to shelves. Furthermore, Bu Fenny stated that the team is working on predictions and collective intelligence for disease/virus forecasting using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Thana P. Manathat (Kwan), Innovation Lead, Global Manufacturing, Dole Packaged Food, shared that his main goal is to be able to deliver whatever the customer or market demands. Data can play an important role in their supply chain too, by assisting in determining the best channels/modes for optimisation. Due to the increase in international export freight costs, K. Kwan added that it is critical to find ways to optimise their supply chain with data that can make all the difference in delivering an exceptional customer experience and increasing profitability, similar to a point raised in an earlier discussion.

In response to an audience question about having a quantifiable metric to assess how well organisations use the data they own, the panelists agreed that it is a difficult metric to measure and that the easiest indicator is often when things go wrong. Erik Looi, Chief Information Officer, Alliance Contract Manufacturing Sdn. Bhd., emphasised the significance of understanding how data is being collected and ensuring that data is clean along the way. However, he acknowledged that it is a time-consuming process, and K. Kwan added that when abnormalities emerge, it is usually late in the process, and that it would take a long time to correct these steps.

Erik and K. Kwan both added that, as appealing as it may be to keep up with the latest technologies, determining the underlying value of implementing a particular technology is far more important. Looking at the technologies alone will not suffice; it is also necessary to consider how these technologies can generate something and add value to the organisation.

Exploring New Business Models

As a contract manufacturer who covers multiple industries as opposed to manufacturing a single product, Erik is rethinking how IT can enable the business to achieve their objectives and solve challenges. Many businesses consider their IT department to be a cost centre, but with the right tools and mindset, Erik hopes to reset the mindset of executives and IT teams, and eventually transform IT into a profit centre.

Bu Fenny shared that they have recently embarked on a super app journey, which integrates a variety of comprehensive healthcare services into a single platform. People can easily and quickly obtain services from the company using this application. For example, online drug purchases, consumption, and other data from digital devices, such as smartphones. Kimia Farma, Bio Farma’s retail arm, has also served online sales through collaboration with Indonesian online stores and marketplaces via the Kimia Farma Official Store.

Future Outlook: Driving Personalised Customer Experience

Maintaining data health alone is insufficient. Both Erik and Andree emphasised the importance of data democratisation. Enabling everyone in the organisation, irrespective of their technical know-how, to work with data comfortably and to feel confident talking about it, and as a result, can make data-informed decisions and build better internal and external experiences driven by data.

Concluding the discussion, Bu Fenny said that improving personalised customer experience is a key focus for her, particularly given the changes in the healthcare industry caused by the ongoing pandemic.

The conventional wisdom on customer engagement and brand advocacy has changed now that people have had the opportunity to reap the benefits of on-demand, digital-first channels for so many of their day-to-day interactions. How are business leaders, and manufacturers in today’s discussion, differentiating themselves in the midst of an explosion of new, digital-first touch points? That answer is increasingly coming down to smart data and analytics use — to better anticipate customer needs and deliver “human” customer experiences at the right time.

With that, we look forward to continuing our discussion on Spotlight on Indonesia’s Supply Chain (15 June). Registrations are available here. In the meantime, we will be hosting a series of online discussions with the Public Services sector in the coming weeks. For more information and to access complimentary registrations, do visit this page

Do reach out if there are topics in digitalisation you would like to hear more of!


8 April 2022