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Digital Adoption, Sustainability Practices And Better People Management Among Favourable Outcomes For Thai SMEs Participants Of UOB’s 2022 Smart Business Transformation Programme

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UOB Thailand and The FinLab, UOB’s innovation accelerator, assisted over 250 Thai small-and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to undergo digital transformation as part of the Bank’s 2022 Smart Business Transformation Programme (SBTP). SMEs achieved various positive outcomes through the programme, including improved business efficiency, lower operating costs, better organisational management, and improved readiness to integrate sustainability into their businesses.

These outcomes are consistent with the findings from UOB’s ASEAN SME Transformation Study 2022 [The ASEAN SME Transformation Study 2022 is a bi-annual study to help SMEs gain insight into the strategies across the region. The findings are based on the responses from 1,500 SMEs across Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam], which found that while 55 per cent of SMEs in the region are optimistic about their business recovery, 50 per cent of Thai SMEs remain concerned about the need to transform their business models particularly in the areas of digitalisation, sustainability and customer engagement due to shifts in consumer preferences.

Ms Sirinun Jiradilok, Head of Digital Engagement and FinTech Innovation, UOB Thailand, said, “The concept of sustainability has influenced the way SMEs think about their operations in addition to digitalisation. Two-thirds of Thai SMEs (65 per cent) surveyed indicated that sustainability is now an area of importance and concern to their businesses.”

“Since the launch of SBTP in 2019, we have helped around 900 SMEs in Thailand to innovate and transform digitally. We equipped SMEs with relevant digital skills and tools for them to stay relevant and competitive. They also learnt to integrate sustainability into their business strategy and were introduced to green finance alternatives for long-term success.”

During the three-month programme, Thai SMEs embraced digital solutions, business and sustainability practices under the supervision of UOB Thailand and its ecosystem of partners as they progress to make changes to their business models and adapt to new challenges.

The adopted solutions, particularly those related to data management, addressed various business challenges such as managing and analysing collected and internal data to better understand existing and new customers and improve digital marketing, and for optimising business processes and better cost management.

SMEs reported positive outcomes from the Smart Business Transformation Programme

The SMEs participating in the 2022 SBTP reported higher productivity and customer engagement from business process optimisation, increased sales from using digital marketing tools, as well as lower operational and marketing costs. They also achieved better understanding and willingness of the business owners and key decision makers to embrace sustainability across their organisations.

Mr Chonlawat Ruengpreechavech, Chief Executive Officer, Clinton Intertrade, a wholesaler of electrical supply and water pump, said “The 2022 SBTP has tremendously accelerated our digitalisation journey. We deployed SAP B1, one of the key software applications to manage and optimise collected data, which improved our documentation process while real-time data allowed incidents to be addressed immediately. In addition, one of the partners from the programme provided consultation on managing generational differences in the workplace, which I believe will eventually help boost our productivity and performances.”

Mr Khunakorn Dhanasarnsombat, Managing Director of Thailand Knitting Factory Co. Ltd., the owner of the Double Goose brand, said, “We have participated the SBTP for two years and have seen positive impacts since. Especially in the second year when we started implementing tech solutions like SAP B1, which has improved our cost management and business data collection. With the data gathered, we were able to produce more recyclable products from our production line, contributing to our green manufacturing journey. Additionally, we adopted business solutions such as UOB mCollect to ease our collection and reconciliation processes, freeing up more time for front-end staffs/sales officers to provide customers better services.”

Mr Pitiphat Mongkolariyanan, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, KMP Partner, a construction consultant company, said, “We have learnt to adopt the concept of customer centricity in our application development process, and by doing this, our application was able to address our customers’ needs. Our user base has consequently increased from 20 users to 700 users. Also, thanks to the SBTP that connected us to Zaviago, a CRM solution that gathers data and optimises targeting process of online media, this helped us reach our targeted customers at lower costs.”

Mr Jakkadej Asavasopon, Chief Executive Officer, A Ramen said, “Business and customer data has always been our top priority. The programme helped us to successfully install a data management tool, providing us with the ability to analyse the customer data, allowing us to save cost and increase sales, all while providing better experiences to our customers. Moreover, the programme has led us to pursue zero waste in managing our food business, which aligns with our sustainability goal of becoming a Zero Waste entrepreneur by launching a central kitchen in 2023.”

Mr Paulovatchara Yuvanasiri, Managing Director of RainForest Green Community, said, “Our goal is to build our community mall to be recognised as a ‘green community.’ We not only gained insights from the experts, but were also introduced to UOB’s sustainable financing solutions like U-Solar where I see opportunities in adopting renewable energy for our community mall. The SBTP connected us to ecosystem partners, which I strongly believe will reduce the energy consumption and expenditure once the installation is complete. On digitalisation, we have seen an improvement in cost management, corporate taxation, operational process due to the adoption of PEAKaccount, the online accounting and cost management solution that mandates data management.”

The SBTP is open to SME business owners or decision makers who are keen to explore new ideas, adopt technology and invest in digital tools, and can commit their time throughout the three-month programme. Interested SMEs, regardless of sectors, can follow and learn more about the SBTP at www.facebook.com/uob.th or https://thefinlab.com/th/thailand.

Source: UOB Thailand

 

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