By The Nation
The programme, which began in May, was conducted by UOB (Thai) and The FinLab, in collaboration with the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa), the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and the Office of SMEs Promotion (OSMEP).
Under the guidance of business, creative and technology experts in Thailand and across the region, the SMEs reviewed their business models, identified opportunities for improvement and mapped out long-term digital transformation strategies. The SMEs also evaluated and piloted technology solutions curated from more than 350 applications received by The FinLab.
The solutions addressed various business challenges, including how to apply data analytics to understand existing and new customers better, how to use digital marketing to increase leads and sales, and how to improve efficiency through business process optimisation. These were very much in line with the findings of an online survey conducted by The FinLab, where SMEs in Thailand said their top two business growth strategies are entering new markets (54 per cent) and using digital marketing to grow sales (51 per cent).
“The Smart Business Transformation Programme demonstrates our commitment to helping Thai SMEs embrace and be equipped for the growth opportunities presented by the digital economy,” said Tan Choon Hin, president and chief executive of UOB (Thai). We recognise the active role we can play in contributing to the Thailand 4.0 initiative, which aims to help Thai SMEs innovate and adopt technology. With our established and integrated network across the region, UOB (Thai) is well-positioned to partner SMEs in their ambition to grow their businesses domestically and overseas.
Felix Tan of The FinLab echoed that sentiment, saying: “The Smart Business Transformation Programme clearly showed that each of these 15 SMEs have the drive and desire to transform their business. Throughout the programme, they displayed their commitment to tackling the issues within their businesses and openness to incorporating new ideas and digital solutions. With the know-how they have gained, they will not only be able to continue their business transformation but will be in a stronger position to face future challenges. These outcomes augur well for Thailand’s economic and business landscape, and also support the Thailand 4.0 initiative which aims to grow the GDP contribution from SMEs to 50 per cent by 2025.”
One of the SMEs to complete the programme is MCC Industrial New 1999, an automotive company which manufactures accessories for 4x4 off-roaders. Through the programme, MCC 4x4 Accessories connected with digital solutions that can help smoothen its business processes, such as Workforce, a Thailand-based labour management software. It also gained management skills to implement these solutions effectively.
The company’s business development manager Chanokporn Sirananont was pleased with the result. “The Smart Business Transformation Programme has better equipped us to drive continuity and change, which is important to us as a family-run business looking to expand in the digital economy. We are now more confident to drive digital transformation, and are currently working with partners and digital solutions to implement workflow processes with faster turnaround and greater efficiency.”
Wisan Wanasaksrisakul, chief executive of Warrix , agreed. “The Smart Business Transformation Programme has helped us develop a structured approach to managing and to scaling our business. Recognising that a strong foundation is key to sustainable business growth, we are working closely with technology solution providers such as Boostorder to digitalise our core processes and sales channels. This approach will help us meet our online sales growth target of 15 per cent by year-end.”