Tuesday 16 Jul 2024
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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily on October 25, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: More local manufacturers, particularly small and medium entreprises (SMEs), need to be aware of the challenges of Industry 4.0 and to get ready for it, according to the ministry of international trade and industry (Miti).

Deputy Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming said his ministry currently offers a free readiness evaluation framework to help manufacturing firms assess their capabilities and readiness to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies and processes.

However, not many have shown interest, he said.

“So far we have over 600 applications and approximately 200 have been approved. We found there are 50,000 manufacturing companies out there. So it can’t just be 600 people interested.

“So some gaps need to be filled between government and industry players,” Ong said in his closing speech at the Baker Tilly 2019 Business and Tax Seminar here yesterday.

Based on his experiece as a deputy minister over the past one-year-and-a-half, he noted that many industries, in particular the SMEs, tend to only engage with the government at arm’s length because of a lack of awareness of the programmes and assistance offered.

“A lot of people on the ground are not aware of government policies or the details that have been announced. This is where cooperation with auditing and consulting firms becomes very important,” said Ong, who hopes that various new incentives such as the smart automation matching grant announced in Budget 2020 will be beneficial to companies seeking to undertake Industry 4.0 activities.

The grant, which goes up to RM2 million, is expected to benefit 1,000 local manufacturers and 1,000 services companies to automate their business processes.

“The policy still needs to be refined and the ministry is open to receiving suggestions. The terms that need determining are which companies are eligible, what is the threshold in terms of revenue and capitalisation. We want to engage with businesses so we know how to help them,” Ong said.

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