At a Glance
- Achieved rapid return on investment
- Reduced travel by up to 400 trips a year
- Efficient knowledge sharing across the company
- Enhanced R&D efficiencies
- Gained competitive advantage through collaboration
Manufacturer of specialty tape expands global growth and speeds production with video communication
Taiwan-based manufacturer of specialty tape expands global market growth, accelerates production and research and development projects with video communication
Four Pillars Enterprise Co., Ltd is a Taiwan-based manufacturer of adhesive tape. Established in 1954, Four Pillars was responsible for manufacturing the first roll of Taiwan-made adhesive tape (under the brand name of “Deer Head”), and since then has progressively extended its business scope from simple consumer products such as packing tape and label stock, to more industry-specific products such as medical tape, electrical components, specialty industrial tape and PCB material. Four Pillars has stood firm as the leader of Taiwan’s tape manufacturing industry over the past five decades, selling its products in over 100 countries and economies around the world, with a strong presence in Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and China, seven state-of-the-art factories around the world, and with an additional seven Taiwan-based branches to come.
Known for its continued R&D efforts and high-quality products, Four Pillars has built itself from the ground up, with close to 1,200 employees across Asia (including factory operations), 200 of which are based in Taiwan; and a development trajectory mirroring that of Taiwan’s large majority of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The secret behind its continuous growth lies in fast response to market movements and rapid decision-making – a valued commodity in the manufacturing industry.
Revolutionising SMB Communications
As a small-to-medium business (SMB), Four Pillars prides itself on its ability to cost-effectively extend its reach both locally and globally – without adversely impacting its capacity to be nimble and respond to market changes. In the manufacturing industry, time-to-market is crucial, and companies must find innovative ways to utilise the latest technological enhancements to ensure business continuity and operate more efficiently. Four Pillars is an excellent example of how visual communications solutions from Polycom enabled the company to extend its reach globally and accelerate its go-to-market strategy.
Accelerating Time-to-Market with Polycom
Adhesive tape manufacturing is often categorised as a somewhat ‘safe and conventional industry’, but in fact its operation requires high levels of knowledge integration, due to the wide range of applications it provides to a number of industries. Realising the need to better manage production processes and initiate real-time exchange of information for multi-site meetings, Four Pillars adopted audio conferencing systems more than ten years ago. However, limited by the ability to engage face-to-face, an important element of communication for the fast-moving manufacturing industry, where critical decisions must be made quickly, meant Four Pillars had to look for more efficient ways to revolutionise operations. With the business growing at a rapid pace, an effective video conferencing system that was easy-to-use, deploy and maintain, was needed to communicate with overseas branches and ensure coordinated delivery of products.
“We had a great need to enhance communication with our overseas offices. Audio conferencing, while successful initially, did not provide the face-to-face meeting experience we needed to be more effective, and as a result, was seldom used,” Wei-Mon Young, General Manager, Symbio, Inc. Member of Four Pillars Group.
Four Pillars chose Polycom due to its industry-leading performance and high-quality products, Polycom RMX 1012 and Polycom HDX 7001. “With an easy-to-use interface and high-definition sound quality, Polycom’s telepresence solutions have been well received by Four Pillars employees. We are seeing increased demand for the technology with meeting rooms frequently overbooked for everything from product updates to market alerts,” said Young.
“In the manufacturing industry, service employees are required to absorb new information quickly, be flexible when responding to clients’ industrial ecosystems and develop new products in a short period of time. With Polycom, we have been able to achieve all of these objectives and have reaped the benefits in such a short period of time,” he added.
Maintaining Business Continuity During Economic Uncertainty
This ability to be quick to execute and anticipate market needs served Four Pillars well when the global financial crisis hit in 2008. While many SMBs became submerged in the disaster, as they were unprepared for the impact and slow to act, Four Pillars already had systems in place to respond quickly and ensure their survival. The company reacted swiftly by exchanging market information via video conferences every week, during which response programmes were discussed and implemented in record-time for efficient risk control.
“Because we were able to use video to meet and act quickly during the crisis, we significantly grew our operations and moved ahead of our competitors. Now, as soon as we spot signs of changes in the market, we will convene over video to exchange information in real-time, to accelerate company operations and raise the quality and efficiency of our products,” said Young.
In order to maintain its development advantages after the global financial crisis, Four Pillars has reinforced this approach to lateral and vertical communication among various departments. Each day, units responsible for quality control, finance, performance and sales use video conferencing for meetings of various scales. As a result, the executive team can gain a better insight into challenges of overseas markets, without having to leave the office.
“The capability to react quickly to market trends is very important for SMBs. With video conferences, decision makers are able to brainstorm on countermeasures instantly, at the touch of a button, which in turn saves thousands in travel expenses and days in executive downtime,” said Young.
As an added benefit, employees have built stronger working relationships with their overseas counterparts, according to Young, by being able to interact face-to-face over distance. With high-definition video, communication is highly interactive and incredibly life-like, creating a same-room meeting experience. Every verbal cue is picked up on, and the intricacies of body language can be much more easily interpreted.
As a leading organisation in the manufacturing sector, Four Pillars’ demand for video conferencing and telepresence technologies is ever-increasing as business expansion continues. As the company looks to introduce new branches in the future, Four Pillars will look to build on their current Polycom environment so they can continue to be first-to-market every time.