In May, 2017, Liby Group planned to build South China Emerging Industrial Base in Conghua of Guangzhou. Conghua Liby 3.0 version will be built as planned.
“After moving to the new factory, the entire production process will be updated.” Zhang Liping, Chief Scientist of Liby Group, told reporter of Financial Report of the 21st Century.
As the first factory of Liby Group, Panyu Production Base has been regarded as the Huangpu Military Academy in charge of factory management. After that, Liby built 12 production areas across the country with core talents from Panyu Production Base.
In the intensely competitive daily chemical industry, Liby Group faces both competition from domestic brands and challenges in market share from Fortune Top 500 Enterprises in China.
In this case, other than upgrading production line and improving production efficiency, it is more important to make preparations for product R&D based on a keen insight into consumer groups. However, sustainability of excellent talents is still a challenge against industry development.
Labor worker turn to technical worker
Once entering the workshop of Panyu Production Base, fragrance of detergent is directly in face. You cannot see anybody from safety glass and huge machines carry and stack boxes of detergents. There are only a few administrative staffs outside the workshop.
In the past two years, the increasingly mature robot technology attracted many manufacturing enterprises to introduce smarter equipment. As a result, labor workers turned to technical workers capable of operation and maintenance and even mechanical repair.
Feng Weihao, Deputy General Manager of Guangzhou Liby (Panyu) Co., Ltd., introduced to reporter, “For example, products were stacked manually before. After equipment was introduced, workers learnt how to install equipment and now they can operate automation equipment and take responsible for maintenance and minor repair.”
Economic benefit improves obviously. Feng Weihao said that 24 workers worked on the bottling line before. “It takes only an hour for machine to realize the output value of 24 workers in 24 hours. The effect is amazing. Manual operation costs a lot.”
As to the entire production process, Zhang Liping’s team researched and concluded that intelligence of manufacturing will extend to use in future. For example, household IOT will have different requirements for usage mode and usage amount of detergent, which relates to R&D and design of product form. “Our R&D is going in this direction.”
Presently, Liby Group applies intelligence to bottling, stacking and stereoscopic warehouse behind production and operation more. Zhang Liping said, “Next, we will upgrade configuration and reaction for intelligent manufacturing.”
To be specific, it ranges from insight into consumer demand, entry of materials, configuration and discharge to packaging and transportation. Picking up the goods and scanning a QR code in the stereoscopic warehouse will also be conducted by machine.
In order to further improve production efficiency, Liby plans to share storage network information with retailers in order to realize real-time communication of storage information and make preparations for delivery. “It can reduce storage occupancy time and make efficient use of resources.” Zhang Liping added. It is marketing 3.0 system in progress which has gradually been distributed among downstream dealers and large retailers.
The number of labor workers decreases sharply as intelligence is intensified
Feng Weihao recalled that Liby (Panyu) Co., Ltd. had more than 2600 registered employees in 2006 and now it just has more than 1260. However, the output value of 2006 was far less than current output value. With the help of intelligence, not only can employees change functions, but Liby carries out professional quality training and tracked training for employees and cultivates graduating students from universities and colleges every year.
“The number of employees will certainly decrease in future.” Feng Weihao said that Liby has always been devoting to equipment automation and system upgrading and transformation.
R&D is the core of transformation and upgrading
In the perfectly competitive daily chemical industry, the agglomeration degree gradually increases. At present, the domestic market is occupied by four brands: foreign brands, including P&G and Unilever, and domestic brands, including Liby and Nice.
In the face of competition, Liby considers R&D of core technology and application of new raw materials consistent with sustainable development need as the most important countermeasure based on a keen insight into consumer demand. Besides, we should set about from supplier cultivation, merger and acquisition and consumer research.
According to data obtained from Liby, market share of some products subordinate to Liby Group has long ranked first in the domestic market. Dishwashing liquid has the largest market share up to 42%, washing power has market share of 25% and laundry detergent has market share of 22.48%.
Xu Xiaodong, Vice-president and chief news spokesman of Guangzhou Liby Group Co., Ltd., told reporters, “As a traditional manufacturing industry, detergents should adapt to the development need of modern society and personalized consumer demand. R&D is the primary measure for transformation and upgrading, since more differentiated products can be developed only through continuous R&D.”
Zhang Liping summarized that Liby carries out R&D mainly based on two ideas: pursuit of psychological freedom and physical freedom. As a result, product efficacy becomes specialized, manufacturing becomes intelligent and life quality improves and consequently higher and higher requirements are raised for green health.
“With no irritation to hands” has been the core concept of Liby products. Recently, Liby launched a series of products with no irritation to hands, including incense, soap powder and washing powder. “We have applied for 3 patents of washing powder with no irritation to hands, which leave competitive products far behind.” Zhang Liping added, “washing powder launched by Liby is free of irritation to hands since this summer. Data of supermarket shows that market share of washing powder increased by 6% from 25%, it is a considerable number.”
Core technology and product research, production and supply chain teams offer support to R&D. Production line will be improved accordingly in future. However, we need not to introduce new equipment but transform launch mode technically.
To be specific, fewer and fewer people will use washing powder in future, while more and more consumers will have individual needs of laundry detergent. Therefore, liquid detergents will not be produced in large batches but undergo continuous production, online line blending and other innovative production modes.
Besides, for companies acquired, Liby will adopt measures for product R&D according to local conditions. “In the 10th anniversary in 2004, Liby systematically combed corporate culture and developed future development strategy for the first time. It proposed to expand the daily chemical industry and target at big daily chemical product, multi-brand and specialization. ” As Xu Xiaodong introduced, Liby Group acquired and reorganized Tianjin BlueSky Group and entered the oral care industry in 2005. In 2006, it acquired Cogi and entered the cosmetics industry. “Acquisition and reorganization is a shortcut, but it depends on the development situation of enterprise.”
Whereas BlueSky was equipped with an R&D team, Liby offered support to the head office as appropriate. The R&D Department of Liby inputted talents to Cogi, or Liby offered technical support or transferred core technology.
With the domestic manufacturing industry transforming and fast technological upgrading, Liby reserves plenty of core technologies for product R&D. “Zhang Liping’s doctor team develops more than a hundred product formulas every year, which will be launched according to market demand.” Xu Xiaodong said.