Today, Western Digital (NASDAQ: WDC) announced the World Economic Forum has named two of its smart factories in Asia to the Global Lighthouse Network, a community of world-leading companies that have succeeded in the adaptation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) at scale. Of the 90 total sites within the World Economic Forum's Lighthouse network, Western Digital is the first company to receive this distinction for an intelligent factory in Malaysia. Additionally, the company's Thailand facility is the first in the country to be recognized as an end-to-end (E2E) Lighthouse for accelerating digital transformation and augmenting human performance at scale.
"Today's recognition by the WEF Lighthouse Network is an honor and a testament of our leadership efforts in 4IR with both technology innovation and workforce engagement," said David Goeckeler, CEO, Western Digital. "In a world that is increasingly technology-enabled and technology-dependent, we understand that the responsibility we have to the future of industry has never been more critical. As the world's leading data infrastructure provider, and we are committed to enabling sustainable growth and transformation across our facilities around the world to deliver value to our customers, employees, and partners."
Western Digital applied the technology innovations it enables for customers each day – artificial intelligence, robotics, automation, advanced analytics and the Internet of Things – to achieve transformational change at its facilities in Penang, Malaysia and Prachinburi, Thailand.
With an increase in flash memory demand of more than 2X, stringent quality requirements and the need to optimize costs, Western Digital's factory in Penang, Malaysia embarked on lights-out manufacturing journey based on Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies. By automating production and logistics, they were able to deliver 32% factory cost improvement and transition to build-to-order with intelligent planning system, thereby reducing product inventory and order lead time by 50%.
In Prachinburi, Thailand, with rapidly growing demand, rigorous quality requirements and cost pressure for hard disk drive (HDD), Western Digital leveraged connectivity and advanced analytics technologies to transform a capacity-saturated manufacturing site into a digital operation system with real-time visibility in suppliers, production, logistics and customers and data-based insights and predictions, ultimately increasing factory output by 123%, avoiding 30% in procurement and production costs, and reducing product return rate by 43%.
"Increased global concern for environmental impact has made sustainability a must-have to maintain business viability," said Francisco Betti, Head of Shaping the Advanced Manufacturing and Value Chains, World Economic Forum. "The selected Sustainability Lighthouses make it clear that by realizing the potential of 4IR technologies in manufacturing, companies can unlock new levels of sustainability in their operations and explore a win-win solution: greater operational competitiveness while simultaneously making commitments to environmental stewardship, leading in a cleaner, more sustainable future as a result."
Western Digital is committed to its sustainability effort, and this presents a great opportunity to collaborate with WEF on this new frontier.
The Lighthouse Award is provided by the Global Lighthouse Network (GLN), a World Economic Forum (WEF) initiative in collaboration with McKinsey & Company that brings together the most advanced manufacturing facilities setting new benchmarks in productivity, sustainability, agility, speed to market, and customization. The award honors manufacturing sites that have achieved outstanding business results while decreasing environmental footprint through the adoption of 4IR technologies.
To learn more about Western Digital's sustainability activities, please visit the Western Digital's sustainability website.
About Western Digital
Western Digital creates environments for data to thrive. As a leader in data infrastructure, the company is driving the innovation needed to help customers capture, preserve, access and transform an ever-increasing diversity of data. Everywhere data lives, from advanced data centers to mobile sensors to personal devices, our industry-leading solutions deliver the possibilities of data. Western Digital data-centric solutions are comprised of the Western Digital®, G-Technology™, SanDisk® and WD® brands.
About Global Lighthouse Network
The Global Lighthouse Network is a community of production sites and other facilities that are world leaders in the adoption and integration of the cutting-edge technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Lighthouses apply 4IR technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3D-printing and big data analytics to maximize efficiency and competitiveness at scale, transform business models and drive economic growth, while augmenting the workforce, protecting the environment, and contributing to a learning journey for all-sized manufacturers across all geographies and industries. The Global Lighthouse Network is a World Economic Forum project in collaboration with McKinsey & Co, factories and value chains that join the Network are designated by an independent panel of experts.
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