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Planning tool launched to guide firms in Industry 4.0 transformation

COMPANIES unsure of how to embark on their Industry 4.0 transformations now have a clearer guide in the form of a Prioritisation Matrix planning tool developed by the Economic Development Board and its knowledge partners.

Launched by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon at the Hannover Messe tech show on Monday, the Prioritisation Matrix builds on the Smart Industry Readiness Index (SIRI) and accompanying Assessment Matrix established in November 2017.

Companies are first evaluated on their Industry 4.0 readiness levels across 16 dimensions using the existing Assessment Matrix. Then, the Prioritisation Matrix takes into account the Assessment Matrix scores, revenue-cost profiles, key performance indicators and proximity to the best-in-class in each to identify which dimensions they should focus resources on to gain the greatest benefits to their businesses.

"The planning and execution of an Industry 4.0 transformation plan is not a simple task," Dr Koh said in his speech at the launch. He noted that it requires investing significant amounts of time and resources to identify key focus areas, select the right technologies and vendors, and oversee the entire transformation process.

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"It is therefore not surprising that very few companies have taken the plunge, unless they themselves have a high level of confidence and clarity about what is needed to implement the projects that can help to achieve their desired business outcomes."

The SIRI index has served as a useful diagnostic and descriptive tool, helping businesses understand where they stand in relation to competitors and the rest of the industry, as well as helping them visualise what the different stages of Industry 4.0 look like. However, companies that know what Industry 4.0 means and where they stand continue to struggle with designing and implementing effective roadmaps, Dr Koh told The Business Times.

"This is where the Prioritisation Matrix helps them to list out all the things they can do in a sequential manner, according to where the low-hanging fruits are, so they can better actualise business outcomes as they undertake each step of the transformation journey."

The matrix, said to be the world's first such tool, was developed in partnership with McKinsey & Co, SAP, Siemens and TUV SUD. With the inclusion of more commonly used standards and definitions, it could also prove useful in other countries.

"It's meant to be a platform that can involve companies from across different jurisdictions and countries, which is why we chose to launch it here (at Hannover Messe)," Dr Koh said.