It’s Long Overdue for Tech to Step Up
…but is it too late?
Has the dilly-dallying of tech adoption caused irrevocable damage to the country’s manufacturing and production capacity that is mainly supported by local SMEs?
New Working Order
Unlike SARS or other diseases, Covid-19 has proved to be THE pandemic that is forcing sweeping changes in the world that we know.
However, the fact that we are at the brink of vaccine for the masses, gives comfort that humankind will surely overcome the economically devastating situation with a rebound in the capital and stock markets seeing boom again.
Parallel to this (recovery) there will be also be a new world order in the working world – especially as people have become too comfortable with the WFH and remote operations options.
While this ‘new normal’ is acceptable in many areas such as the Services sector, the industrial and manufacturing capacity of many countries, Malaysia included, is being destroyed irreparably as factories have closed and production halted due to dried up funds.
For the larger companies (or those happen to be supplying for the right pandemic-booming demands), the only forward way ahead, is to sustain the help of technology – namely high automation of the supply chain and robotics to replace the human workforce.
Structural Damage to Production Capacity
The big problem now is that all the technologies that enable an Industry 4.0 era for Malaysia, have not been adopted in time. Now that we are further handicapped by the pandemic, I am pretty certain that we are set back by at least 5 years to catch up.
Pre-pandemic, it had been hoped that all the hype of Big Data, AI and IoT would have translated into actual acceptance and adoption by our SMEs to be integrated into their high-tech supply chain of Industry 4.0.
Now the fact is that many of our production-based SMEs have folded, or are barely hobbling along with government-funded assistance to manage basic operations such as worker salaries.
This points to the reality that tech might have come in a tad too late?
Bosses to be Blamed
Back then in 2018/2019, during the flurry of Industry 4.0 ‘promotional era’ whereby dozens of I4.0 events and seminars were held monthly, the audience was normally told (somewhere at the End) to get a grip with reality — that despite all the promise (at the earlier parts of the presentation), the maturity level that Malaysia is really at, averages at the Industry 2.0 stage.
That we shouldn’t kid ourselves.
And that’s when the many representatives or business executives attending the I4.0 events would quietly think about the traditional, family-controlled company that they are stuck with.
“Would my boss buy into this, despite my relating all the benefits of tech to him/her?”
How many SMEs would actually break out from their conservative view of IT spending fast enough to adopt Industry 4.0 solutions to revamp the underlying structural problems of their production business?
Then, while the gamut of global tech brands were aggressively pushing their wares of high-automation I4.0 technologies ready to be installed and integrated, how many companies delayed buying into the very IT solutions that would have saved the business beyond the pandemic?
IT BYTES BACK! Says: Company stakeholders and BOD members should reflect on their indecisiveness to acquire and adopt the available tech when they still could. Be brutally honest, and act to retire decision-makers who are Conservatives, Corrupt, or Cowards, who hinder the tech adoption that could determine your survival in the ‘New Normal’.