ONE of the key milestones the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) has reached this year is the establishment of capacity-building programmes and events that expand beyond the automotive industry into the fields of advanced manufacturing and the Internet of Things.
As we rebrand from the Malaysia Automotive Institute, our scope of work is primarily about shifting our fundamentals to the adoption of automation and connectivity in our daily lives and business operations.
Apart from the intervention programmes for mobility-related business and to enhance capabilities and capacities in automation and “IoT-isation”, the foundation begins with creating awareness levels for the adoption of technology — not just awareness of the availability of technology, but also its accessibility to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as entry level workforce.
To ensure that Industry 4.0 is implemented successfully, our target group includes SMEs.
There are more than 900 thousand SMEs in Malaysia, or 98.5 per cent of the Malaysian economy, contributing 37 per cent to the gross domestic product of the nation.
Some 5.3 per cent of the SMEs are in the manufacturing sector and 89.2 per cent in the services sector. Only 34.5 per cent of the businesses are located in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.
We have to be mindful that as technology advances, the lines of manufacturing and services would become blury.
There were many examples illustrated in this column, one of which is the evolution of the automotive manufacturing sector into Mobility as a Service (MaaS).
It indicates that manufacturing and services would converge hand in hand with business models changing as we progress further.
When it comes to the adoption of advanced technologies, not only the 900,000 business owners must gain awareness of technologies, but they must also be willing to accept that a transition towards Industry 4.0 would be unavoidable in the near future.
The implementation must spread to all corners of the nation to ensure the local market stays relevant to global trends.
Businesses must understand that technological implementation is not as daunting as it seems as the true technological breakthrough seen today lies in the ease of use and built-in adaptability factor.
If you can operate a vehicle or a smartphone, it is enough to build technology into your business operations.
When the thinking of top business levels shift, those working within the business would also shift their thinking.
If the majority of SMEs move towards Industry 4.0, it would be the first — yet major — step towards transforming the economy into higher value and income.
The main and true purpose in maintaining relevance of our capabilities is to stop depending on others.
However, the dependence is not equal to inter-dependence.
Inter-dependence refers to our ability to contribute equally to a market of ideas, products, technology and services.
Dependence means an over-reliance on the capabilities, on technological commodities of others and becoming pure consumers instead of creators and innovators.
While it is natural for technology to replace jobs, they are not meant to replace humans.
We have to stay relevant, adapt to new jobs and businesses created through the advancement in technology and enrich our lives by increasing the valuation of our contribution to the global market.
Staying relevant is at the core of the numerous capacity building, training and awareness programmes developed and implemented by MARii.
For those intending to begin their technological journey, get in touch with me or my team.
For those who have graduated through our modules, more advanced programmes are being developed and will be announced soon to enable and unlock more opportunities for Malaysian businesses and talents.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii)