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Hong Kong Firm Collaborates with Yammer    [Date Added : 01/24/2014 ]
Hong Kong-based apparel manufacturer Esquel Group has recently rolled out Yammer to more than 4,000 employees across Asia to improve collaboration and innovation.

Esquel, a high-end manufacturer for brands including Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Nike, produces over 100 million cotton shirts annually and communicates with a vertical supply chain including cotton farming, spinning, weaving & knitting, apparel making, accessories & packaging, to retail and direct distribution.

Today, China is Esquel's main production base, but the company also operates several factories in Vietnam, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Mauritius, and a handful of merchandising offices in the US and Western Europe.

Wilkie Wong, Esquel's CFO (Hong Kong and Overseas), accounts and IT, said that the use of modern social and productivity tools, such as enterprise social network Yammer, can enhance team collaboration, increase productivity, attract young talent and facilitate knowledge sharing and innovation.

To retain young talents, he said that it is essential to create a liberal environment to help get fresh ideas across to the management. "The younger workers tend to be more vocal and want more instant feedback. We want to create a less hierarchical work environment to attract and retain young talents - not just retaining them, but getting them to share with us their thoughts," Wong said.

Two years ago, Esquel began a pilot deployment of Yammer to about 100 users. After Yammer's acquisition by Microsoft in June 2012, Esquel has continued the adoption and its Yammer user base now exceeds 4,000 employees. For Esquel, the biggest benefits of using Yammer have been:

- reducing productivity loss through real-time communication.

- increasing mobility through anywhere access to emails across devices

- developing a unified culture by promoting staff collaboration.

- reducing hardware administration cost.

Esquel estimates that it achieves US$ 2 million in savings annually.

"Yammer offers rich team collaboration functionality which can drive productivity and innovation anytime, anywhere, and on any device. It also demonstrates its great value in terms of staff engagement for resolving problems, team collaboration for project management and innovation for new product ideas," Ling said.

"With Yammer, our employees can now instantly provide us with constructive feedback and new concepts, helping us break barriers across cultures, geographies and hierarchies to accelerate innovation throughout the organization," Ling added.

In addition to Yammer, Esquel Group has moved over 7,000 users to Microsoft's Exchange Online in 2013 as part of the Office 365 deployment. By the end of 2014, Esquel Group will also migrate to other platforms under Office 365, including SharePoint Online for knowledge management and Lync Online for web-based conferencing.
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