Foxconn CZ communicates with employees through its own television channel
The turnover of Foxconn CZ – Czech branch of the international consumer electronics manufacturer – makes it one of our country’s biggest companies. Nearly 5,000 employees work in its offices and production plant in Pardubice. Effectively disseminating information and communicating with so many people is no easy task. Foxconn is well aware of the difficulty, and this was one reason why in 2013 they decided to introduce information LCD panels to the company. What do they use them for and how?
A higher level of corporate culture
Allan Keown, director of Foxconn’s manufacturing division, got the whole plan rolling. He didn’t want to settle for information inflexibly transmitted through bulletin boards, as in the previous century. Nor were e-mails a realistic solution: these are particularly ineffective when communicating with people working in production and without a computer. LCD information screens represented the only clear choice. Allan Keown believed their introduction to the company would bring about not only better communication, but also an improvement in corporate culture.
Entrusted employees were asked to pick a solution for Foxconn that would live up to all of Allan Keown’s expectations. „Based on the set criteria, we chose from seven solutions, four of which were shortlisted. Some Digital Signage tools were very sophisticated in selected areas. However, the problem was the product’s inability to adapt to our needs. We’d have had to adapt it ourselves. That’s why we chose a Ki-Wi solution which was open to further customization and development tailored to us,” explains V. J. Smejkal from the Department of System Architecture at Foxconn CZ.
Ki-Wi provided Foxconn with a complete solution including software and hardware. „Setting up the software for our needs was quite complicated because Ki-Wi is, in principle, a cloud-based solution and we needed everything to run on our own server. Thanks to great willingness on the part of Ki-Wi, however, we managed to sort it out and arranged everything the way we needed it,” says Mr. Smejkal, describing the implementation process.
Dynamic content for their own TV channel
Foxconn decided to run the screen content as their own “FocusTV” television channel – with a clearly defined programming schedule and regular shows such as HR for You, Business News, Sports, National Geographic, News for Pardubice, Today for Lunch, Transport, and Sports and Cultural Tips.
Foxconn also uses LCD panels to inform all employees about current and important news concerning company life, e.g. about the upcoming visit of a strategic business partner or about a new colleague. Such information runs throughout the day as a news ticker in the lower portion of the screen, as is the case with conventional news channels.
The programming pattern and the framework on which the channel is run were prepared and set up by Mr. Smejkal and his team. He still oversees the project and acts as program manager and script editor. However, these days about ten other employees from various departments also regularly contribute to the sections. „We’ve set up the Ki-Wi system so that it’s able to play content straight from directories. This means that team members upload prepared content to shared network folders of the corporate directory structure. From there, they’re automatically imported by the Ki-Wi system. This means that the technical solution, which I’m in charge of, has separated from the content part,” adds Mr. Smejkal.
Content that really catches your eye
The benefits of the new technology are appreciated not only by management, who can now send important information to employees, e.g. about sales, production or HR, but also by the workers themselves. They’ve quickly got used to the screens and getting information from them. „Besides important and useful information, we also try to put out entertaining content for people. So that they can pause for 5 minutes, take a breather, and have a laugh together, which is important for the company to function well,” says Mr. Smejkal.
Currently, Foxconn uses about twenty screens – in its offices, in the dining room and also in production. „We’re considering increasing this number and also adding screens to other buildings and divisions. At the same time, in the near future we’d like to open up the system more to all employees. We want each of them to be able to send information from their e-mail accounts, which will be displayed on the screens in the news ticker,” concludes Mr. Smejkal.