Innovation is an essential value for Lenovo’s culture and is encouraged from the top. The executive leadership provides strategic direction, keeping everyone focused on the latest technology like AI, as well as market trends, people’s pain points, and how Lenovo can help.
Wei Bi, a strategic project manager in the Office of the CIO, cites four points that guide Lenovo’s people on innovation:
Innovate to create value: They innovate to create value for customers and the company.
Curiosity and courage: They are curious, dare to try, and take risks.
Challenge the status quo: They challenge the status quo to improve technology, products, services, solutions, business models, and management processes.
Fu Pan and learning agility: They use Fu Pan (or ‘replay the chessboard’) to quickly learn from successes and mistakes. They keep learning from the best, and they practice to improve every day.
The company also promotes collaboration across all its departments.
“We do not limit where an idea comes from,” says Wei Bi. “It can be internal or cross-department. Xin Tian and I come from different departments, but we can work closely together.”
Forecasting with AI
Wei Bi’s team has faced its own set of different challenges from the pandemic. Changes in customer demand were affecting the company’s whole production and supply chain management.
For example, the phenomenon of many K-12 students learning from home sent the demand for some devices skyrocketing.
Because demand forecasting sits at the heart of smart manufacturing decision making, Wei Bi — a certified Azure data scientist — and his team set out to meet the challenge with the power of data and technology.
They already had a strong foundation in AI, thanks to Lenovo’s emphasis on up-skilling and using the latest technology. Also, the company was already relying on Azure machine learning and multi-cloud-based data technology in its demand forecasting.
Additional input came from Microsoft China’s Customer Success Unit (CSU) Data and AI team, which collaborated with Wei Bi’s team to improve its demand forecasting capabilities for the new normal.
Together, they worked on combining publicly available data on COVID-19 health, consumer spending, and economic performance with their internal and industrial channel data to perform better predictive analysis for their demand forecast model.
The team’s innovation effort is adding “new data in the pipe” for more accurate forecasting, Wei Bi says, and this intelligent planning benefits the value of the whole supply chain.
TOP IMAGE: Courtesy of Lenovo