Innovation is critical to staying competitive in a rapidly-changing global market. In pursuing a culture of experimentation, we incubate new ideas and capabilities that manifest in real-world experiments and ultimately shape the future of our industry.
Each of the Fung Group companies has innovation in their DNA and the Fung Academy plays a role of catalyst to create inspiration and provide creative confidence to propel our colleagues to invent faster and explore further.
Here are a few examples of some of our innovation-focused partnerships and initiatives:
AI and the future of retail
Fung Retailing and retailing giant, JD.com, are working to develop a new retail format for China and Asia, using an AI-driven retail system to seamlessly integrate online and offline retail platforms. Their first experiment is on an instant checkout process using AI-image recognition technology across Fung Retailing’s Circle-K stores.
Li & Fung has partnered with Softwear Automation, a US-company developing revolutionary sewing technologies for manufacturing automation in the home goods, footwear and apparel industries. The partnership leverages Li & Fung’s global supplier network and Softwear’s autonomous sewing worklines to create a fully-digital manufacturing supply chain for apparel and textile products.
Fung Academy powers The Kitchen, our award-winning crowdsourcing platform where more than 4,800 colleagues from 30 countries have collaborated on 1,200+ ideas since its launch in 2016. The platform allows our people to unleash their creativity to co-create around innovative ideas and products to address business challenges. It also gives us the opportunity to collaborate with our customers to bring fresh and innovative products to market.
Explorium is an innovation hub focused on the global supply chain with the purpose of learning, experimenting and discovering the ideas, opportunities and business models that will shape the future of global supply chains. Explorium innovation hubs are currently in Shanghai and Hong Kong and through these hubs, we are actively collaborating with the community of innovators to shape the future of retail.
This year Fung Academy hosted its second hackathon, “Hack The Rack”, which connected innovators, machine-learning gurus, data scientists, user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designers and application experts to create cutting-edge ideas and rapid prototype solutions to solve real issues facing our businesses – from customer segmentation in Circle K, to estimating container load size in logistics, to digitizing fashion images and the QA process on the factory floor.
Cobalt redefines knitwear with new CS Innovation Lab
Cobalt Fashion launched its CS Innovation Lab with Shima Seiki, the Japanese company behind the world’s most advanced computerized flat knitting machines, to undertake specialized materials R&D. The Lab allows us to collaborate on areas such as 3D and virtual design capabilities and driving efficiency gains in design-to-production – all to discover the ideas, technologies and solutions needed to produce better materials and knitwear for our customers.