Companies that have yet to heed the call to adopt Industry 4.0 solutions have more reasons to do so now, to enhance workplace safety and resilience, and leverage Southeast Asia’s positioning to capture the diversification of supply chains.
Indeed, attention has turned to the region, thanks to the growing consumer market, productive labour force, and adequate infrastructure and connectivity links, said Enterprise Singapore’s deputy chief executive, Ted Tan.
Speaking at the Market and Sector Leaders Forum, which is organised by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and SingEx in conjunction with Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific (ITAP), Mr Tan noted that investing in I4.0 infrastructure and expertise will allow existing regional manufacturers to scale their businesses, accelerate growth, and most importantly, future-proof their businesses in anticipation of continued global uncertainty.
Mr Tan also stressed that this process of transformation is one that transcends the size of enterprises, citing the example of Lingjack, which manufactures fire extinguishers. The SME began piloting automation measures on their labour-intensive production lines in 2017 and within a year had experienced efficiency gains of up to 40 per cent. As a result, they were more resilient to worker shortages during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Indeed, ESG has worked with enterprises in the manufacturing sector on over 1,300 projects to upgrade and transform their businesses from January to August 2020. This is about 65 per cent higher than the number of projects in the same period last year.
The top few projects areas are in tech deployment and automation, process redesign, and digitalisation solutions such as HR management systems, accounting, CRM, and sales and inventory management systems.
Mr Tan also noted that ESG is partnering manufacturers in the region to promote the adoption of I4.0 solutions. Beyond platforms like ITAP where ESG facilitates exchanges and collaborations between manufacturers and solution providers, ESG also works with multipliers such as industrial parks, trade associations and chambers, and institutes of higher learning to build a robust ecosystem across the region.
Wahyu Widodo, General Manager, PT Indolakto, Indonesia, who was one of the panellists speaking about their experiences with I4.0 echoed the importance of building an ecosystem to accelerate transformation. He termed it the "3Es" - Empowerment, partnership with experts, and building the ecosystem.
In 2020, ESG conducted several Industry 4.0 webinars with partners such as the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park, Jababeka Industrial Estate for Indonesia and Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers.
Through the partnership with the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers for instance, ESG facilitated nine one-on-one discussions between Singapore I4.0 solution providers and key potential clients. Over 200 participants from Malaysian companies across food manufacturing, electronics and IT solutions took part.