Managing Disruption: Sustaining Regional Manufacturing Success With IIOT And Sensor Technology

High angle view of printing press conveyor belts in printing plant

As businesses look forward, the Industrial Internet of Things or IIoT offers manufacturing companies the opportunity to play to their strengths in a disrupted global economy and implement faster, more flexible, and efficient processes, ultimately recapturing a bigger share of the market.

Article by Eugene Quah
Photo: Eugene Quah, Vice President, Industrial Automation for Schneider Electric Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei

Asia worked hard to secure its spot as the world’s manufacturing hub over the last three decades by leveraging a committed and increasingly skilled labour force to produce many of the manufactured goods the world’s consumers needed and desired. A relentless focus on exports, the successful scaling, and the eventual mastering of Industry 3.0 technologies, including the introduction of digital automation systems and resource planning tools, have helped maintain the dominance of Asia’s manufacturing sector until today.

Given current industry momentum, it is likely that Asia will continue to lead in manufacturing by adopting Industry 4.0 and IIoT technology to stay ahead of global competitors.

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IIoT refers to implementing smart systems that enable manufacturers to better share and analyse vast amounts of data to make better, more accurate decisions. At the same time, the adoption of new manufacturing technologies, including artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and digital twins or replicas, will allow Asia’s manufacturing giants to not only maintain their industry leadership but establish the foundation for the next generation of growth.

The manufacturing sector in Asia has been an early adopter of Industry 4.0 technology. Companies like Schneider Electric have helped companies across the region champion increasing digitisation and end-to-end integration of their operations at a much faster rate than their peers in the Americas and EMEA. However, according to PWC, the current gap between the regions will continue to widen. The survey shows that 32 percent of Asian companies plan to have established mature digital ecosystems in the next five years, compared to Americas and EMEA companies with only 24 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

Narrowing down closer to home, Malaysia recently rolled out the National Fourth Industrial Revolution Policy (National 4IR Policy), a vision for Malaysia to be a high-income nation with Industry 4.0 technology and digitisation as its core drivers. Singapore also falls in line with the launch of its Industry 4.0 Human Capital Initiative, redesigning jobs and transforming the workforce to implement Industry 4.0 solutions, with the goal of ensuring that companies are future-ready in the years to come.

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