Is Industry 4.0 only about Smart Factories?
Bursa Malaysia and Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB) recently held the 7th Stratum Focus Series where industry experts and financial market players gathered to discuss the outlook and investment opportunities of Industry 4.0. The theme for this particular series was “Industry 4.0: Humanising Machines, Disrupting Economies.”
Pic above left to right: Kwek Kon Chow, Chief Operating Officer, Hong Leong Stock Broking, Yong Yoon Kit, Executive Vice President, PEMANDU Associates, Datuk Phang Ah Tong, Chairman, Malaysia Automotive Institute, Datuk Zunaidah Idris, Head of Dealing, SVP, Institutional Business, Hong Leong Investment Bank, Norhizam Kadir, Vice President, Growth Ecosystem Development, MDEC, Michal Golebiewski, Chief Marketing Officer, Microsoft (Malaysia), Dominic Mascrinas, Head, Group Operations & Technology, Hong Leong Bank.
The Bursa-HLIB Stratum Focus series is now in its 7th edition since 2015, and being themed sectorally, it aims to facilitate knowledge exchange and surface policy insight between Government, agencies as well as the investment community.
HLIB’s Head of Dealing & SVP of Institutional and Corporate Business Datuk Zunaidah Idris said that Industry 4.0 was chosen as the seventh theme because the global trend supply chain is moving towards AI and technology. “Malaysia needs to move with the trend as we are a trading nation and it is important for us to be a part of this industry revolution.”
During the panel session titled “Delivering Industry 4.0 – A Game Changer for Investors?”, many interesting tid bits of information was shared. Moderator Yong Yoon Kit from PEMANDU Associates posed a very pertinent question on how businesses should approach budgeting for Industry 4.0.
It’s all well and good to support Industry 4.0, but there is no small amount of Ringgit required to outfit environments with technologies be they Industry 4.0 type technologies or not – does one ignore existing equipment and plans and budgets? Or do they go back to drawing board and try to plug these technologies in?
Hong Leong Bank’s Head of Group Operations and Technology Dominic Mascrinas shared a simple way that his organisation views IT budgets – the type that goes into running the bank, and the other that goes towards changing the bank.
Existing tech at HLBB
At Hong Leong Banking Berhad, the manual activity of clearing cheques is now taken over by RPA or robotics process automation. The same goes for their cards operations when they process customer requests.
Artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of chatbots are also being used in the call centre to answer queries about products and services. Mascrinas shared, “About 10-12 percent of all calls to us are being migrated to chatbots.”
Besides this, a Tableau system links across all of their 270 plus locations, and provides real-time feedback about certain business objectives.
“I can check a branch in Johor and see how many customers are waiting and what our average servicing time is,” Mascrinas said.
In fact, HLBB also has a big data project and is embarking upon building a data lake, with the objective of understanding customer needs better.
Is Industry 4.0 only about smart factories?
HLBB’s existing use of technologies, emphatically demonstrates that this is not the case; Mascrinas had shown that his bank uses Industry 4.0 technologies like AI, robotics, big data, cloud and cybersecurity, to run operations in more than a few areas for a banking group.
Datuk Phang opined that it is all inter-related, and that before the manufacturing phase of a product, there is also the software to use, ideas, research and development, and other services-related portions that Industry 4.0 comprises of.
Not forgetting the data and information that businesses retrieve to be able to make machines work; it isn’t just in manufacturing that Industry 4.0 technologies comes into play, for example visual analytics systems that depict insights for businesses to act upon, can come into play in many other industries like financial services.
Industry 4.0 or 4th Industrial Revolution?
Besides the Industry 4.0 idea which has roots predominantly in Germany, there is also the notion of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), whereby a new way of production and manufacturing is being proposed. The Industrial Revolution concept seems to encompass all industries as well.
The gist of the Industry 4.0 national policy which was launched at the end of last October, IMHO, is to pervade the use of Industry 4.0 enabling technologies and concepts depicted by the two images below. Ultimately, businesses have to be able to leverage technology to keep up, if not stay ahead in the market.
The half day forum ended at 12.45pm after presentations by Huawei South Pacific Office’ CTO Chew Boon Hong, and UEM Edgenta’s COO, Graeme Walwyn.