Dalian Wanda Group has a workforce of more than 90,000 and runs operations in over 100 cities, but its founder Wang Jianlin remains aggressive as ever in pursuing expansion opportunities.
As management challenges mount along with the scale of the group’s business, Wang — who is China’s richest man — has realized that relying on people alone won’t be enough.
For years, China’s biggest commercial property firm and largest cinema chain operator has been trying to master the technique of management with information technology.
Wanda malls are equipped with smart sensors and air conditioning systems which can automatically adjust the temperature. This keeps customers happy while achieving energy conservation, Wang wrote in a Hong Kong Economic Journal column.
The shopping malls are digitally connected to the head office, enabling the senior management to “see” it all. The visitor number each day, incoming vehicle volume, sales and other operation metrics are all highly visible.
In 2008, a Wanda sales office in Shenyang caught fire and caused serious damage. The company responded by setting up a surveillance system that sends alarms when the temperature of cables goes beyond certain level.
Eateries are important components of shopping malls and kitchens are prone to fire accidents. To prevent possible incidents, Wanda developed a system that monitors all the restaurants inside a mall and keeps constant tab on whether gas stoves are properly shut off when not in use, and whether kitchen temperature is abnormally high.
IT, in fact, plays a big role all through the development process of Wanda’s property projects. From design to construction to fitting out, internally developed project management software takes care of the cost control and ensures that the progress is in line with schedule, Wang noted.
Wanda is a not a tech firm, but Wang takes every opportunity to get the most out of information technology to streamline and strengthen his business empire.
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