Chinese Giant ‘Alibaba’ Begins Work on Massive Factory Modernization Project

By: | November 10th, 2020

Image by whirligigtop from Pixabay

‘Alibaba’, the Chinese tech giant that engages in e-commerce, retail, and internet solutions, is on a mission to modernize manufacturing units in the country, starting with the garments field. Alibaba holds the tech, expertise, and vision to help factories in China make the leap to “smart manufacturing”.

The tech group has recently unveiled its pilot factory to showcase the approach they’re going for, calling the facility “Xunxi”, which is English for “Fast Rhino”.

The Chinese garments sector is estimated to be worth around $328 billion, so it’s a huge area economically speaking. Most importantly though, it is a field that was established many decades ago in the country, so most factories follow outdated practices.

Typically, apparel companies in China need a couple of months for their new designs to reach physical stores. Alibaba promises to cut this down to a few weeks with the deployment of AI solutions, computers, and cloud computing systems.

These sophisticated cutting-edge systems will work in a range of ways like predicting demand and removing obstacles and delay-inducing factors from every point of the workflow.

From cutting machines to sewing devices, everything will work in a fine-tuned way, and under a holistic management umbrella. Scaling the production will happen automatically as the central system will consider the inventory size, the projected market demand, and more factors.

Moreover, the transportation/delivery of a product to its next point of processing inside the factory will now take place with the help of automatic self-driven hauling robots, so more delays will be cut from this part of the process too.

Finally, the designers won’t have to go through the tedious and time-consuming process of dyeing the fabrics to figure out what works best. Computer software will help them render various colors on various types of fabrics in a few hours, finalizing their designs for entire new collections in mere days. 

For now, human workers will keep their job in garment factories, but the positions will surely get fewer with time. Alibaba’s only consideration is to ramp up production efficiency by 75%, so whatever comes with this is not part of their worries.

Bill Toulas

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