In 2021, the world economy is gradually recovering. The Smart Factory Solutions (SFS) market in Thailand rebounded to grow by 10.3%. This has been boosted by demand from large companies forced to make adjustments to lessen their dependence on manual labor, and the proactive investment of Chinese businesses in Thailand's automotive and electrical appliance industries. It has also been supported by partnership between major Japanese and Chinese SFS operators and Thai telecommunications companies to create a fully integrated SFS service ecosystem in Thailand.
Prompted by the prolonged COVID-19 outbreak, business operators in the Thai manufacturing sector have started the transition to smart factories, no longer limited to merely robots and automated conveyor systems, instead investing in an integrated production line management system that functions through various technologies. In addition to achieving continuous production and mitigating the risk of reliance on workers, the goal is to create a flexible production line that can produce a wide variety of products. This helps operators gain a competitive advantage and enables them to devise plans to substitute production at other factories during times of crisis.
For 2022, KResearch views that the Thai SFS market will continue to grow, albeit at a slower rate of 9.4%. This stems from the high base in 2021 and the likely waning enthusiasm for improvements to the production line to avoid the impact of COVID-19, but foreign investment, especially form China and Japan, is likely to continue to expand in industries that use smart factory systems. However, current Thai SFS service businesses still have limitations that rely on large manufacturers' customers, as they require large investment and should have high production volume to achieve economies of scale, making SME manufacturers not ready to invest. Therefore, SFS operators may consider adopting a Robot as a Service (RaaS) business model, for which the cost is based on the duration of work or actual production volume, and which can reduce the constraints on investment and production volume of SMEs.
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