German automative supplier Schaeffler turns to FPT amid digitalisation plans in Vietnam

Tech giant also signs strategic agreement with Quebec-based research centre Mila to bolster AI expertise and capabilities
Truong Gia Binh (FPT)

Truong Gia Binh (FPT)

FPT has partnered with Schaeffler to drive transformation plans at the German automotive supplier, centred on new digital manufacturing ambitions in Vietnam.

The technology giant has provided consultation services and solutions to help develop a “holistic digitisation concept” aligned to Schaeffler’s global digital manufacturing pilot project, which is being deployed at the company’s plant in the southern Dong Nai province of the country.

Supported by a joint team of specialists, FPT is primarily tasked with helping the business optimise infrastructure, equipment and software solutions.

Located at one of Vietnam’s largest manufacturing centres, the plant was opened in May 2019 following an investment of €45 million, housing state-of-the-art technologies and machinery. Billed as the first plant in Southeast Asia to leverage Industry 4.0 solutions, the company has since added two production lines with three more expected to be extended by the end of 2020.

Schaeffler’s manufacturing plant housed in the southern Dong Nai province of VietnamCredit: FPT
Schaeffler’s manufacturing plant housed in the southern Dong Nai province of Vietnam

“With the integration and open communication, everyone is on the same page,” said Min Ling Chan, head of Industrial across Asia Pacific at Schaeffler. “We can move very fast in terms of our productivity. FPT has continuously surpassed our expectations in their robust project governance and capabilities in key software development areas.”

In generating more than €14 billion in revenue during 2019, Schaeffler goes to market as a leading supplier to the automotive industry, housing more than 86,000 employees across a global network of approximately 170 locations.

Since 2018, FPT has supported Schaeffler in helping roll-out digital projects wth the aim of embracing new technologies and solutions.

“FPT is proud to help Schaeffler accelerate their digital transformation efforts,” added Truong Gia Binh, chairman of FPT. “With strong capability and long-term collaboration with world-leading firms like Schaeffler, we pledge to always stand side-by-side with our business partners to help them achieve significant breakthrough, especially in the challenging time of Covid-19 pandemic.”

Advancing through AI

The enhanced alliance follows the signing of a strategic partnership agreement between FPT and Quebec-based research centre Mila in an attempt to bolster artificial intelligence (AI) expertise and capabilities.

Mila operates as the world's largest academic lab specialising in deep learning with a community of 450 researchers dedicated to scientific excellence and innovation. The move sees FPT become the first provider in Southeast Asia to join forces with Mila, in a partner network which also includes Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

The three-year agreement - which was signed virtually - will see centre around strengthening FPT’s AI expertise and capabilities, supported by strategic consulting and guidance.

Virtual signing of agreement between FPT and Quebec-based research centre MilaCredit: FPT
Virtual signing of agreement between FPT and Quebec-based research centre Mila

“Why is this relationship between Mila and FPT a value-added proposition for Mila?” asked Stéphane Létourneau, vice president of Partnerships at Mila. “I can think of several reasons, the first one is FPT’s focus on AI research.

“With a dedicated AI research group, FPT is poised to be a great partner for collaborative research projects. Number two is FPT’s focus on education. FPT University deeply cares about talents. Fostering talents, FPT and the government desire to develop an AI centre in Vietnam.”

As outlined by Binh, FPT continues to be “active” in research and development of core advanced technologies such as AI, big data, cloud and robot processing automation (RPA).

“With Mila’s extensive experiences and our determination, we are positive that our AI solutions will be upgraded constantly to help businesses enhance operations, transform themselves, and leap forward in the new normal,” he added.

“This agreement also helps fulfil our aspiration for universal access to technologies, particularly AI core technologies. Not only tech enthusiasts in developed countries but also young, talented Vietnamese have the opportunity to exchange knowledge and research about AI.”