Bat Trang pottery: Industry 4.0 takes 700-year history into the future
The application of technologies in the era of Industry 4.0 is a good opportunity for Bat Trang pottery village to improve the competitiveness of its products.
Application of modern technologies still helps Bat Trang pottery products keep traditional features
Catching up with Industry 4.0
Bat Trang, just southeast to the capital of Hanoi, has developed a solid reputation for its ceramics, drawing domestic and foreign visitors and buyers. One of its major tourist draws is the opportunity for wannabe craft makers to make ceramic products by themselves in classes and workshops offered by local artisans.
However, the village’s main business is in producing ceramic products for sale domestically and abroad.
The village preserves its 700-year history, and builds on it. In face of the strong impacts from the Industry 4.0 and e-commerce, artisans in the Bat Trang pottery village are aware that they need a change in approach to keep up with the changing market trends.
Artisan Phung Van Hoan (Gia Lam District, Hanoi) who has 20 years of experience making pottery acknowledged that Industry 4.0 and e-commerce are inevitable trends, and “if we cannot grasp the opportunity to develop business based on new technologies, then we’ll be left behind”. He suggested that new technology and applications is an opportunity for craft villages “to remove old thinking” and adopt fresh approaches to design, production, branding and marketing.
Over the years, Bat Trang made breakthroughs in pottery production by shifting from coal to liquidized gas fueled kilns, which helped reduce environmental pollution and also increase productivity and the quality of their products.
Thanks to applications of the Industry 4.0 technologies, ceramic producers in Bat Trang craft village have accessed smart technologies and modern equipment to improve their product’s designs and quality, and better meet market demand.
The application of new technologies in business management also helped production facilities and enterprises in the craft village expand online sales channels, raising their revenues and profits. This is also a chance for them to learn and acquire advanced production and management models.
Online marketing and sales
Tran Duong Quy, director of the online ceramics provider of the BATO Online Business and Technology Co., Ltd (Gia Lam District, Hanoi) is a pioneer in developing the Bat Trang pottery brand. Recently, he said, local manufacturers have started paying more attention to online sales, especially via Facebook. “However, there aren’t many production facilities which have stepped up methodical investment in online marketing,” Tran Duong Quy added.
With the expansion of ceramic and porcelain online sales, the sale of pottery made at the Hoan Trang Ceramic facility of artisan Phung Van Hoan has increased about 30 percent a year. “We producers cannot directly take and introduce products to every local village. Instead, via the e-commerce network we can introduce the product’s quality and prices or how they were manufactured. Then consumers can also benefit from this platform,” he explained.
The strong development of Industry 4.0 has enabled ceramic makers in Bat Trang Village to introduce innovation in production and applied technologies and to promote the brand of Bat Trang products to Japan, Taiwan and other countries. In addition to traditional designs of Bat Trang ceramic and porcelain products, designs have been diversified to meet a variety of demands for household and decoration articles and ceramic materials used in the construction sector.
Truong Quang Ninh from the Kim Khanh Export and Trade Co., Ltd, which has experience in exporting pottery products for years, said he is setting up a team of young designers to create and introduce new products. With constant innovations and emphasis on maintaining the quality of ceramic products, Ninh has been able to retain many Japanese customers for nearly 10 years.
Opportunities provided by Industry 4.0 will help production facilities and businesses in craft villages expand their online marketing channels, increasing their revenues and profits.
Thu Trang & Nguyen Mai (ven.vn)