The China Story

The world is more digitally connected than ever before and is set to expand, rapidly.

Industry colleague and friend, Lucy Prior MBE shares with me a passion for all things ‘connectivity and IoT’ related which we discuss with a great deal of enthusiasm on a regular basis.

I have penned quite a few content pieces during my past two years working within rail, focusing on subject matters such as digital evolution, opportunities within international trade as well as emerging technology.

IoE v.0.3 is scheduled to be published imminently, being mindful to analyse human inclusion within the realms of technological advancements.

As an extension to the ‘One year down the line’ July 2017 publication, I plan to compose a follow-up regarding the activities that have taken place since then. A lot has happened!

Importantly, Tidyco won Manufacturer of the Year and Excellence in International Trade at the respective Derby Telegraph and East Midlands Chamber of Commerce 2018 Business Awards. The company is now a Regional Winner through the Chamber, successfully gaining recognition by the British Chamber of Commerce with the possibility of becoming a National Winner in November of this year.

I was delightedly invited to join the Derby Telegraph at its table for their Awards Ceremony and was overcome with joy when Tidyco became awarded in recognition for its core business function.

There is a fantastic UK Midlands story unfolding before our very eyes.

Manufacturing and exporting recognition alike is highly appreciated and incredibly topical regarding the UK’s positioning within a forever changing global trading arena.

2018 has seen a great deal of marketing activity targeting the Chinese industrial consumer market.

When considering that China spends more online than the USA, UK and Germany combined, the country becomes an enticing consideration for potential market share and profitable growth.

Being empathetic towards my interest in all things digital, China represents a thrilling opportunity coupled with an array of intriguing challenges.

There are obvious hindrances such as the Great Firewall of China, differences in culture, potentially intimidating connected platforms, time differences as well as language but; there is a desire within China to procure from the West.

Considering the safety critical nature of a vast majority of the Tidyco product portfolio, my communications strategy weaves a narrative heavily focussed upon organisational commitment towards quality, safety and CSR.

Trust is important whereby published marcoms feature company heritage in great detail. Of course, these key talking points are equally important to all markets, industries and sectors (both local as well as global).

The inclusion of data protection and cyber defence within CSR documentation is (to my mind) a forward thinking SME differentiator.

Obviously, digital changes needed to be made so as to reach out to a very new market.

By new, I mean new to me. I can safely say that at the start of this year I knew very little about China, its culture, technology or consumer behaviour. Fortunately, I am a fast learner!

Previous writings have described platforms such as WeChat and Sina Weibo whereby working in partnership with Lily Fu – Chinese British Business Consultant has revealed less of a need for Tidyco to focus its activity within these particular electronic environments.

So, the important digital building blocks were put in place consisting of the purchase of a cn domain name, creation of a Chinese landing page, integration of the Alipay payment system, design and publication of a virtual brochure all of which, was reinforced with Baidu indexing.

It has taken a little time but Tidyco is currently indexing on Badiu incredibly well.

So, next steps?

IoE v.0.2 mentions chatbot technology. I have been keen to implement a chatbot within the Tidyco digital space but was struggling regarding how best to accommodate a plethora of complex, technical queries further troubled by a database of over 300,000 product lines.

However, Info-Bot has been programmed and integrated within the company website. Beginning its robotic life as a trial run I have subsequently received Board Room approval to entwine automated chat technology within the Tidyco online landscape as an on-going affair.

The intention not being ai world domination but rather, to make the human work force more efficient.

Through personal involvement within the Sector Deal, it became apparent how important I feel it is to place data, security and technological evolution at the forefront of all strategies.

Moving forwards, managing the issue from the very outset of any plan (whether it be private sector, public sector or not-for-profit) will ensure future security regarding the ‘next wave’.

The ‘wave’ that I mention in previous IoE writings is not so much impending but more an already ‘self-learning’ virtual enterprise whereby, everyday human existence is more involved and affected than many of us realise.

Of course, I shall talk more of this in IoE v.0.3.

The bot is continuing to learn and develop inter-personal skills on a daily basis, available to communicate across the globe 24/7/365.

Interestingly, Info-Bot can speak over 100 different languages. The technology lends itself perfectly well to an international audience.

It’s not just about digital.

Thinking about heritage and quality, I have been in deep discussions with a potential 3PL partner who are keen to store and distribute Tidyco rolling stock braking product to the Chinese rail industry.

With a rich history of supplying the UK rail market, I am hopeful that the trust and experience gained by Tidyco will resonate with Chinese rail procurement.

Interesting times ahead!

 

About the author

Barry Aldridge MCIM

Head of Marketing at Tidyco Limited and member of the Board of Directors for Midlands Rail Forum.