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Haier Group: Chinese manufacturing giant chooses BT network to integrate its global supply chain

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Overview

Service and local presence were decisive factors when Haier Group chose the BT IP Connect global platform

It’s not uncommon. Rapid growth had left Haier Group with a wide area network using a variety of service providers. Complexity was one problem. Compatibility was another. Instability was a third. Bad enough for any company, but for a manufacturer with a worldwide supply chain it was worse.

CIO Xie Haiqin sought a solution from a single carrier. Someone able to mirror the company’s mindset. BT Global Services was chosen for its local presence in China and its market leading service levels.

A BT network now serves 16 key Haier nodes on three continents, powering its global ERP application. Video-enabled collaboration, internally and with suppliers, improves efficiency and sustainability. A master class in Asia Pacific manufacturing know-how

Haier Group.

This video presentation describes the value that a BT global network solution has brought to Haier Group, a leading Chinese manufacturer of white goods, air conditioners, water heaters, computers, mobile phones, and televisions.

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Haier has gradually evolved into a world-renowned brand, therefore running on a real global network system becomes an embodiment of our world class ambitions.”
- Xie Haiqin, CIO, Haier Group

Challenge

Haier Group produces a wide range of products including refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, water heaters, computers, mobile phones, and televisions. It has 29 manufacturing plants, eight R&D centres, 19 overseas trading companies, and employs 60,000 people.

Timely supply chain processes and a zero inventory policy have become critical success factors for Haier. That places a heavy reliance on the company’s network.

A Haier Global Network Operations and Maintenance spokesperson recalls: “For historical reasons, our overseas branches were served by different carriers. We had problems because service levels differed between carriers. There have also been interconnection compatibly issues making the entire network unstable.”

Haier business units around the world are dependent on SAP ERP software running on China-based servers to manage things like production, inventories, and order control. The WAN is a pivotal component in this critical business application. The company decided to integrate its network with a single service provider with a worldwide reputation. Bids were invited from global players with operations in China.

The spokesperson explains why BT was favoured: “The reason we chose BT Global Services is that, compared to its competitors, it can provide us with more comprehensive programmes and higher levels of services. We highly value the BT investment and commitment as well as its local presence in the Chinese market.”

Solution

The new Haier Group network extends to 16 key nodes across three continents. Planning for a smooth and uninterrupted transition from the previous Haier service providers, BT set up a special project management team, responsible for the finest details. Weekly conference calls and regular face-to-face meetings were held to make sure that the migration had no negative operational impact.

BT provides Haier with end-to-end network management including pro-active network monitoring, technical support, repair services, and regular reporting. BT is also responsible for the management of third party business partners to provide assured service over local access circuits (last mile connectivity).

Value

Service level agreement (SLA) levels have stayed at 99.7 per cent for parts of Asia, and are up to 99.8 per cent for Europe, the United States, and other regions. In fact, excellent service is a key factor in why Haier chose BT in the first place. The BT service centre in Dalian, China, guarantees local language response.

As the spokesperson puts it: “Our business needs 24/7 service support. Ensuring unimpeded connection between the service centre and each single contact point is crucial. In addition, BT possesses exceptional service management systems and damage repair solutions.”

The Haier BT IP Connect network comprises a main node in Qingdao (BT China HQ). There are sub-nodes in Hong Kong, Seoul, Osaka, Silver Water (Australia), Bangkok, True Buri (Thailand), Selangor (Malaysia), New Delhi, Pune, Lahore, New York, South Carolina, New Jersey, Varese (Italy), and Moscow.

It’s of some consequence to have audio, digital, and video services on the same network. Video conferencing is of particular significance since it not only saves money it also enhances team spirit,” says the spokesperson. “Haier Group has subsidiaries around the world, so it’s important for us to cut back on unnecessary travelling expenses, reduce our carbon footprint and, in addition, enhance our company’s competitiveness.”

Other applications running on the BT IP Connect platform include email and IP telephony.

Upon the implementation of the IP Connect global network, an internal Haier survey showed that employee feedback and evaluation of the system had significantly improved.

We have seen a remarkable improvement in the network SLA,” adds the spokesperson.

Now, overseas Haier employees and its supply chain partners are able to collaborate on a more stable platform.

Core BT Services

  • IP Connect global end-to-end MPLS-based network platform connecting 16 locations in China and around the world

Resources

Case study