The World Economic Forum Welcomes Western Digital to Prestigious Global Lighthouse Network

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Press release

The World Economic Forum Welcomes Western Digital to Prestigious Global Lighthouse Network

  • Western Digital’s smart facility in Thailand is the first Lighthouse to be accepted in the country
  • Award recognizes leadership in scaling innovation with next-gen manufacturing technologies
  • Facility deploys artificial intelligence and automation technologies to achieve new levels of sustainability and efficiency across the production chain

THAILAND – September 30, 2021 – Today, Western Digital (NASDAQ: WDC) announced the World Economic Forum has named its smart factory in Thailand to the Global Lighthouse Network, a community of world-leading companies that have succeeded in the adaptation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) at scale. Of the 90 total sites within the World Economic Forum’s Lighthouse network, Western Digital’s Thailand facility is the first in the country to be recognized as an end-to-end (E2E) Lighthouse for accelerating digital transformation and augmenting human performance at scale.

“Today’s recognition by the WEF Lighthouse Network is an honor and a testament of our leadership efforts in 4IR with both technology innovation and workforce engagement,” said David Goeckeler, CEO, Western Digital. “In a world that is increasingly technology-enabled and technology-dependent, we understand that the responsibility we have to the future of industry has never been more critical. As the world’s leading data infrastructure provider, and we are committed to enabling sustainable growth and transformation across our facilities around the world to deliver value to our customers, employees, and partners.”

Western Digital applied the technology innovations it enables for customers each day – artificial intelligence, robotics, automation, advanced analytics and the Internet of Things – to achieve transformational change at its facility in Prachinburi, Thailand.

With rapidly growing demand, stringent quality requirements and cost pressure for hard disk drive (HDD), Western Digital’s facility in Prachinburi leveraged connectivity and advanced analytics technologies to transform a capacity-saturated manufacturing site into a digital operation system with real-time visibility in suppliers, production, logistics and customers and data-based insights and predictions, ultimately increasing factory output by 123%, avoiding 30% in procurement and production costs, and reducing product return rate by 43%.

Beyond technology, workforce development is another key focus area for the Western Digital Prachinburi factory. The site rolled out a comprehensive Center of Excellence (CoE) initiative to educate and nurture its talent to cultivate a new way of thinking with the adoption of 4IR technologies. On top of that, the facility is also collaborating closely with universities and government on driving in-depth research programs and is involved in other energy-saving and sustainability efforts as well.

“Increased global concern for environmental impact has made sustainability a must-have to maintain business viability,” said Francisco Betti, Head of Shaping the Advanced Manufacturing and Value Chains, World Economic Forum. “The selected Sustainability Lighthouses make it clear that by realizing the potential of 4IR technologies in manufacturing, companies can unlock new levels of sustainability in their operations and explore a win-win solution: greater operational competitiveness while simultaneously making commitments to environmental stewardship, leading in a cleaner, more sustainable future as a result.”

Western Digital is committed to its sustainability effort, and this presents a great opportunity to collaborate with WEF on this new frontier.

The Lighthouse Award is provided by the Global Lighthouse Network (GLN), a World Economic Forum (WEF) initiative in collaboration with McKinsey & Company that brings together the most advanced manufacturing facilities setting new benchmarks in productivity, sustainability, agility, speed to market, and customization. The award honors manufacturing sites that have achieved outstanding business results while decreasing environmental footprint through the adoption of 4IR technologies.

To learn more about Western Digital’s sustainability activities, please visit the Western Digital’s sustainability website.

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About Western Digital

Western Digital creates environments for data to thrive. As a leader in data infrastructure, the company is driving the innovation needed to help customers capture, preserve, access and transform an ever-increasing diversity of data. Everywhere data lives, from advanced data centers to mobile sensors to personal devices, our industry-leading solutions deliver the possibilities of data. Western Digital data-centric solutions are comprised of the Western Digital®, G-Technology™, SanDisk® and WD® brands.

About Global Lighthouse Network

The Global Lighthouse Network is a community of production sites and other facilities that are world leaders in the adoption and integration of the cutting-edge technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Lighthouses apply 4IR technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3D-printing and big data analytics to maximize efficiency and competitiveness at scale, transform business models and drive economic growth, while augmenting the workforce, protecting the environment, and contributing to a learning journey for all-sized manufacturers across all geographies and industries. The Global Lighthouse Network is a World Economic Forum project in collaboration with McKinsey & Co, factories and value chains that join the Network are designated by an independent panel of experts.

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