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How Technology And ESG Making The World A Better Place

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Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) are gaining momentum and becoming the talk of the town worldwide, including in Malaysia. We are committed to becoming a nation with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and it needs a concerted effort by the government and the private sector.

Smart Investor spoke to an industry expert, Ben Lim, to learn more about how technology and ESG are making the world a better place. Ben is Epicor Malaysia’s Senior Country Manager with ten years of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) experience.

Epicor Software Corporation equips hard-working businesses with enterprise solutions that keep the world turning. For almost 50 years, Epicor’s customers in the automotive, building supply, distribution, manufacturing, and retail industries have trusted Epicor to help them do business better.

Ben Lim, Senior Country Manager, Epicor Malaysia

How Technology And ESG Making The World A Better Place

Smart Investor: What does ESG mean to you, and why is it important to your business?

Ben Lim: ESG for Epicor is about understanding how we can help our customers better understand their environmental waste data, such as reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions, and support our customers’ social interdependencies, such as data hygiene and data security. Epicor helps companies improve hiring and onboarding best practices and logistics to achieve their business goals.

Progress on ESG initiatives is taking place at many levels, with businesses increasingly looking to strengthen their brand reputations through environmentally sound organisational practices. Cloud computing is uniquely positioned to help businesses save energy, reduce waste, and adopt sustainable business practices that support a healthier environment. Epicor’s customers in Malaysia can do just that.

Epicor has researched the opinions of technology decision-makers on their opinions and benefits of cloud computing with regard to their organisation’s sustainability objectives. Overall, the research results point to a positive trend when it comes to prioritizing sustainability within the corporate agenda.

An overwhelming 93% of IT decision-makers surveyed named sustainability as their focus area, with 41% saying it is a key focus area.

SI: How do technology and ESG impact your industry?

BL: A recent quote from Gartner summarizes the importance of sustainability and the impact it has on our industry, stating: “By 2025, 40% of all manufacturing company IT departments will own the responsibility of data modelling for sustainability and net-zero carbon targets”.

Malaysia has also committed to achieving carbon neutrality by the year 2050. This highlights the urgency for IT departments to start taking ownership and looking both internally and externally at how they can help to achieve this goal.

Clear evidence of this necessity is the increase in customer type and the need to understand more about how to achieve better consumption rates. Customer migrations are another important impact, including the reasons behind it.

SI: What are the key factors for a successful technology and ESG deployment?

BL: Cloud computing can have a direct and positive effect on sustainable operations, particularly when it comes to running IT daily operations, offices or facilities. This includes digitizing paper-based communications with cloud-based electronic document signature solutions to simplify the process, reduce reliance on paper and minimize environmental impact.

Complex manufacturing systems and data flows are monitored and controlled for improved efficiency in operations. This ultimately results in the maximization of resources and the reduction of resource wastage which reduces adverse effects on the environment.  All of this is right in the wheelhouse of Epicor, being an ERP software as a service (Saas).

Another key factor for successful deployment is a clear understanding of the industry, its processes for which areas that need improvement can be identified and the right solutions (not just immediate/quick fixes but also fit for the future. (i.e. workforce gaps, automation on the factory floor, production processes, and measurement/consumption of energy deployment needs to be about industry expertise and then having the right solutions now that are also fit for the future).

About half of the IT leaders surveyed (47%) believe they can reduce paper wastage through digitization efforts, and 42% believe that cloud computing will significantly reduce IT hardware wastage within their organisations.

SI: What are the key trends you see gaining traction for technology and ESG?  What are the areas of growth amongst the pillars to look at in 2023?

ESG, Environmental, Social and Governance printed in blue with two rubber stamps over white background. Corporate responsibility concept.

BL: The Covid pandemic has momentously shifted working patterns for good, with the growing number of employees working remotely from home, either permanently or part-time, as part of a hybrid model. Cloud computing acts as an enabler for the distributed workforce and ‘work from anywhere’ practices. However, the environmental impact of remote work is not as easy to measure.

The worsening global climate crisis and conflict in Ukraine are propelling complex risks, and organisations need to be aware of how these risks affect their businesses and help management plan strategically and tactically. Climate and geopolitical issues should be a permanent part of a company’s enterprise risk management.

The traditional shareholder-centric capitalism of the past half century is giving way to a broader set of shareholder considerations, expectations, and interests where employees, customers, regulators, suppliers and others are playing more important roles.

SI: How do technology and ESG trends shape Epicor as an organisation and its services?

In Malaysia, we are witnessing manufacturing companies become more observant of how their data is being collected and a trend where data is being managed via a formal energy intelligence system, connecting executives to the day-to-day tactical operations to achieve the strategic business goals that include ESG. One of the key solutions that Epicor heavily invests in is the Epicor Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) which collects data from shop floor resources such as machines and operators.

On the factory floor, the complex manufacturing systems and data flows are monitored and controlled for improved efficiency in manufacturing operations. This ultimately results in the maximization of resources and the reduction of resource wastage which reduces adverse effects on the environment.

SI: How has Epicor Software helped improve many organisations with their software?

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Epicor solutions fit very well for organisations that Make, Move & Sell. The Manufacturing, Distribution and Services industries are the three key industries that Epicor focuses on in Malaysia, and we have helped these organisations harvest exponential growth and improve their bottom line.

We are proud to have worked with Solarvest Holdings Berhad, one of Malaysia’s market leaders in the growth of the solar photovoltaic energy industry. The implementation of the Epicor ERP, Kinetic, has aided Solarvest in boosting their productivity and their capability to take on more projects than they were previously.

According to their CEO Davis Chong, Solarvest may have only been able to commit to 30 projects in a year but with the support of Epicor Kinetic, the company is now able to take on as many as 100 projects a year.

SI: How can Epicor help or contribute to Malaysia’s SME digital transformation?

Image by rawpixel.com on Freepik

BL: At Epicor, we’ve built our reputation on knowing exactly what our customers need. According to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), research has indicated that 70% of SMEs have intensified their use of digital technologies due to COVID-19. SMEs are one of our key markets, and implementing ERP as part of their digital transformation is a key success factor for our SME customers’ growth.  

We work hand-in-hand with our customers to better understand their businesses and industries to deliver market-leading industry productivity solutions and practices via Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software to solve our customers’ real business problems and provide seamless customer experiences.

Epicor in Malaysia has successfully assisted SME organisations in the following industries: metal/steel services, industrial machinery, electronics, medical devices, automotive, F&B, engineering, and chemical.

Now you know how technology and ESG make the world better.

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