Advantech places a high value on corporate governance and responsibility and underlines this through its commitment to diversity in all areas, including in its board of directors. Their diversity policy means that board members are selected after a comprehensive evaluation of industry background, education and background, professional domain and gender equality. Directors range in age from 31 to 80 and we specify a minimum ratio of female directors in their regulations.

The company takes very seriously its aims to “enable an intelligent and sustainable planet, becoming a brand enterprise of truth, goodness and beauty, and facilitating sound social development in which technology and Humanity go hand-in-hand”.

Interview with Jash Bansidhar, Managing Director of Advantech Europe & AVP of Industrial IoT sector.

Easy Engineering: How do your CSR practices improve the well-being of the community and society?

Jash Bansidhar: Advantech aims to apply Internet of Things (IoT) technology in intelligent medical care to assist in the practice of good health and well-being (SDG 3) and to promote quality education (SDG 4). 

We offer long-term support for IoT education and in all areas of innovative education – including schools and social education – we aim to provide a better learning experience and benefits for young people. Under SDG 4 we promote education in national arts and literature, supporting the cultivation of outstanding talent with professional schools and art and literature teams as well as the aesthetic qualities of all people. 

E.E: What are your company’s views towards the environment and sustainability?

J.B: As part of our goal to “enable a sustainable planet”, Advantech has broadened its range of products that can help this to happen, working closely with upstream and downstream partners to co-create solutions that have the environment and sustainability at their core.

Advantech’s hardware, software, industrial apps (I.Apps) and integration solutions are designed for suchenvironmentally-friendly sectors as solar energy, wind energy, smart grids, electric vehicle charging stations, building energy-saving and energy-saving monitors. Our products are also used in flood and disaster prevention, sewage treatment, remote education, public safety (smart street lighting, transportation safety), public health, telemedicine, smart medicine, cold chain management (food safety), smart agriculture, information security and cloud computing. 

A fundamental part of our commitment to environment and sustainability is reflected in our worldwide revenue for the sale of products used for sustainable purposes. These accounted for 12.1% of total revenue in 2021. The company is working actively to increase this percentage in the coming years.

E.E: What role does CSR play in the company for your employees?

J.B: Advantech is prioritizing the well-being of employees and their families, recognizing that life extends beyond work. To this end, we provide such benefits as marriage, maternity, hospital, and bereavement condolence allowances, emergency relief funds, festival and holiday benefits (including birthdays) and much more. In terms of family support for employees, childbirth allowance provided by Advantech has increased from NT$3,600 in 2022 to the current NT$10,000 per child. Our allowances exceed legal requirements and all Advantech employees are eligible to apply.

Advantech is continually working towards increasing funding for arts and cultural activities and charity activities that combine social development and strengthen the connection with our employees. Gradually reducing aid-type donations, we plan annual cooperation on such key projects as IoT innovation research and development, artistic talent cultivation, traditional culture development, new media art development and innovative education support. We believe we can effectively bring the community together through our activities and invite employees, customers and manufacturers to participate, as well as all stakeholders.

E.E: Tell us about types of CSR implemented like: environmental initiatives, charity work, ethical labor practices, volunteer projects etc.?

J.B: Advantech also provides colleagues with annual free health checks (exceeding regulatory requirements) while employees with mental, health, legal or financial difficulties (or other intractable conditions) are offered consultation services so that they can obtain quality assistance and care.

We also recognize that female employees often face the dual responsibility of work and family care which can put them under considerable pressure. To help female staff balance the demands of family care and work within the social system, Advantech strongly supports employees in applying for family care leave and remote work options to accommodate new work models that were developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to Advantech’s 2022 sustainability report, the ‘work from anywhere’ option offered by the company was taken up by 76.31% of workers in Taiwan, 55.19% in Europe and 14% in America. Through our flexible working hours and working from home policies, employees are now able to decide for themselves when and where they do their work.

Since 2021, Advantech has been sponsoring telehealth solutions in a charity model, combining telehealth video carts and telehealth software to help medical staff quickly establish a non-contact medical care model. Advantech’s AMiS-72 Telehealth Cart is equipped with a high-definition lens, speaker microphone and 21.5-inch clinical-grade touch screen computer that can be operated using gloves. The whole machine can be cleaned and disinfected and it can work for up to 10 hours without needing to be charged. 

Residents of care institutions who cannot conveniently visit a hospital can, with the assistance of a nurse, use this video cart with an ENT mirror and other examination equipment to have a physician see the patient from a remote location. Family members can even visit from a distance through video. We believe these kinds of activities, backed by the very latest technology, underline Advantech’s total commitment to corporate social responsibility which runs throughout the company in every aspect of its operation.

E.E: What part plays CSR in the overall success of companies?

J.B: Our CSR approach is based around a range of innovation mechanisms which form the source of our competitiveness. We have shown how technological innovation can reduce R&D and resource wastage while business model innovation can improve synergies. For example, strong relationships with partners can enhance our corporate competitiveness while high-quality partnerships can improve the creativity of the IoT industry as a whole. 

By advocating eco design standards, providing environmentally-friendly products, developing a sustainable supply chain and fulfilling the responsibility of eco product management, we can not only enhance Advantech’s standing in the market but can also reduce losses caused by non-compliance with customers’ environmental protection requirements. Eco design relates to everything we do in our product development and creation – including raw materials, packaging materials, energy consumption and recycling. 

E.E: What can you tell us about future projects or initiatives?

J.B: Between now and 2025, Advantech will continue to deepen its involvement in the issues of intelligent medical care and Internet of Things education on the basis of our core capabilities. We will work actively to build on our successes and strengthen the ways that we meet and exceed our corporate and environmental responsibility targets.

We are planning that by 2025 around 80% of newly introduced standard products will meet the four criteria of Advantech’s eco design standards that were outlined above.

E.E: What estimations do you have for the rest of the year?

J.B: With the rapid advancements of IoT technology, energy and the environment have become issues of major concern for the public. Advantech’s IoT solutions focus on the processes of sensing, control real-time monitoring and remote communication and by combing these technologies with cloud-enabled services these solutions will greatly enhance efficient operation and maintenance management and decision-making processes.

Currently, the company is aiming to ensure 20% of our newly introduced standard products meet the requirements of our eco design standards.