Thai industries launch initiatives to boost SMEs post-pandemic

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New initiatives by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) aim to bolster local entrepreneurs, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) still grappling with the effects of the pandemic. The FTI is focusing on critical sectors such as agribusiness and the auto parts industry to foster resilience and growth.

Efforts are being made to help SMEs become more competitive through the Three Go’s policy, which follows earlier strategies aimed at boosting sales. The policy emphasises digital transformation, innovation, and global market expansion.

Chairman of the FTI Kriengkrai Thiennukul, highlighted the urgent need for closer cooperation between the federation and entrepreneurs to navigate the challenges posed by technological advancements and increased competition.

“A new economy is being formed by technological advancement and tougher competition.”

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The digital aspect of the policy encourages SMEs to incorporate more computer programs to enhance operations and reduce expenses.

Given the high cost of certain software, the FTI’s Digital Industry Club has been tasked with creating and offering essential programs, such as those for accounting and production control, at affordable prices.

Underutilised technologies

The Thai government has been promoting the integration of robotics and automation systems under its Industry 4.0 initiative. Yet, a 2020 Industry Ministry survey revealed that only 2% of Thai industries have reached this level of technological advancement.

The FTI aims to support SMEs in developing technological innovations to add value to their products.

The innovation prong of the policy includes collaboration with the Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Ministry to establish Innovation One, a 2-billion-baht fund designed to assist SMEs and startups in creating technology-based business projects.

Additionally, the FTI is helping SMEs expand into global markets. The Made in Thailand (MiT) campaign, initiated by former FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree, aims to increase SME sales through state procurement projects, encouraging the use of locally made products.

“Under the Three Go’s policy, SMEs will gain better access to markets and sources of funding.”

Sugar cane, a significant agricultural product, is being targeted for value-added innovations through a smart farming initiative.

Improving agriculture

The FTI is collaborating with universities, including Rajamangala University of Technology Phra Nakhon, to pilot projects that utilise farming technologies. The university will provide advice on farming and technological innovations and assist the FTI in sharing this knowledge with farmers nationwide.

The agricultural sector, contributing 1.5 trillion baht in value and accounting for 8% of GDP, employs approximately 12 million farmers in Thailand. The FTI’s project is based on agriculture on demand, where crop production is determined by industrial demand in specific areas.

The FTI’s Institute for Agro-Based Industries collaborates with the government to nurture a new generation of farmers who can integrate modern technologies with marketing strategies to enhance product sales and drive the economy.

The Thai Sugar Millers Corporation (TSMC) supports this initiative, encouraging sugar cane farmers to adopt bio-economy strategies to diversify and increase their revenue.

The bio-economy leverages renewable resources to produce energy, food, and other value-added products.

TSMC has suggested using sugar cane by-products like molasses to produce ethanol and bagasse as fuel for power plants. Other materials from the sugar industry can be utilised for pharmaceutical and biochemical products.

EV Challenge

The FTI is also addressing the challenges posed by the electric vehicle (EV) industry to local auto parts makers, predominantly SMEs.

A new unit, CFM-ONE, has been established to help these manufacturers transition from producing components for internal combustion engine (ICE) cars to parts for EVs. This initiative includes forming partnerships with car makers from Japan, Europe, the US, and China to support technological adaptation.

Chairman of the FTI’s Auto Parts Industry Club and secretary of CFM-ONE Suphot Sukphisarn, mentioned that Chinese EV producers are being asked to aid Thai auto parts companies in transforming their ICE-related technology into suitable systems for EVs.

With Chinese car manufacturers rapidly developing EV and battery technologies and expanding their investments in Thailand, Thai auto parts firms are encouraged to align with the growth of the zero-emission car industry.

The FTI’s comprehensive approach aims to equip Thai SMEs with the necessary tools and support to thrive in an evolving economic landscape, reported Bangkok Post.

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Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

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