Linglong launches fifth Chinese manufacturing base in Changchun City, featuring cloud-based smart platform

Shandong Linglong Tyre Co., Ltd. (Linglong) held a ground-breaking ceremony for its fifth Chinese manufacturing base in Changchun, Jilin Province, attended by government officials from Changchun City, executive leadership of FAW Group Corporation, representatives from China Rubber Industry Association, as well as trusted dealers and distributors.

The new plant, seventh of its kind for Linglong, will be built in Changchun’s automotive economic zone with an estimated total investment of RMB4.89 billion (US$700 million). Covering an area of 647,000 sqm, it is projected to have an annual capacity of 120 million semi-steel radial tyres, two million all-steel radial tyres and 200,000 re-treaded tyres upon completion.  The Linglong smart manufacturing facility is a vital component of Changchun City’s International Automotive City plan and an integral part of LingLong’s “glocalization” strategy.

“The launch of our fifth domestic manufacturing base in Changchun City is testimony to our commitment to strengthening our servicing capacity for FAW Group, a key customer with whom we have had a historic relationship spanning three decades.

“Tapping into the national policy of developing Changchun City into an international automotive hub, as well as the adjacency of Russia, North Korea and South Korea, we are committed to boosting investment in smart manufacturing and value-adding services in a bid to evolve into a world-class tyre manufacturer,” said Wang Feng, Chairman and President of Linglong Tyre.

Harnessing the heritage of the industrial city

Favourably located in Changchun City, one of six domestic plans in China’s national development policy, the Changchun factory harnesses the industrial cluster, the shared strength in scientific developments, human resources as well as raw materials as part of a broader scheme to expand the manufacturing capacity and to strengthen customer services standard.

Hailed as the cradle of China’s automotive industry and epicentre of the country’s industrial upgrading plans, Changchun city’s International Auto City Plan — launched earlier this year — will attract major automotive factories to invest in the city’s promising industrial growth. The city will work closely with renowned automaker FAW Group to upgrade China’s auto industry. FAW Group was selected among the top 10 best automotive suppliers in 2013, the same year Linglong Tyre became the sole award winner in the tyre category of China’s Top Suppliers Award.

Glocalization: think global, act local

In March this year, Linglong Tyre revised its “5+3” strategy to “6+6” strategy, as part of a holistic plan to connect the sizeable markets of Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province, Shanghai City and Northwest China. With the new addition of Changchun factory,  Linglong is better positioned to maximize the output efficiency and capacity underlining its commitment to the automotive industry and customer service. Overseas, Linglong has three bases in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, and has in the pipeline to expand into the US, South America, Africa and the Middle East as part of its revamped “6+6” globalization strategy.

As the maiden retail markets launched by Linglong Tyre over three decades ago, Northeast China has seen LingLong building strong relationships with dealers and customers from scratch. After the completion of Linglong’s sixth local production base, the company will build a robust logistics distribution network of transition nexus throughout China to address the increasing demand on delivery efficiency by local customers.

Smartening up with a digital-led approach

Linglong’s Changchun factory will feature China’s first digitalized cloud-based smart platform, which streamlines manpower resources in the manufacturing and production pipeline, allowing these resources to be optimized and reallocated into the quality inspection process to further strengthen Linglong’s digital transformation and to set the benchmark in the tyre manufacturing sector.

The tyre manufacturing process ­— made up of four major components — has stringent requirements for temperature and quality control, encompassing internal mixing, semi-finished products, finished products, and vulcanization. The new smart platform integrates lean manufacturing that is the hallmark of Linglong’s production facility, allowing for digital monitoring of factory equipment in real time, resulting in minimized down time, increased efficiency and improved quality standards.

Powered by a team of 200, the Changchun factory sets to deploy to enable full digitalization of office operation, manufacturing processes, customer service, factory operation and R&D. An integral part of LingLong’s globalisation plan, the integrated smart manufacturing management platform features Internet of Things technology, digitalised operating process, smart engineering and New Retail marketing capability. Moreover, the platform effectively reduces two-thirds of the inventory, resulting in cost-reductions, minimized response lead time and enhanced value-add passed on to the customers.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Linglong Tyre has agilely adapted to the crisis by enhancing emergency management as well as continuously improving supply chain and local operations to weather the Pandemic impact. The domestic automotive and tyre industry in China has witnessed falling demand, plunging sales and a fearful sentiment, affecting the supply chain, logistics, and operations of many companies. With the pandemic continues to crimp the global economy, affecting the international as well as domestic automotive markets, the adoption of a smart platform and digitalization strategy is expected to cushion the COVID-19 impact and keep operational and financial risks at bay.