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Chee-Peng Tan: “A Blueprint for Industry 4.0 must exist at all levels”

Industry 4.0 (I4.0) will impact everyone, every organization and every country, hence Mauritius must get ready, are the words of Chee Peng Tan, Group CEO, Business Technovise International. A keynote speaker in the upcoming conference 26-27 September 2018 on Industry 4.0 by TeamSynthesis, Chee Peng Tan underlines that I40 will increase the global income and improve quality of life.

The buzz today is Industry 4.0. What it is all about?
Industry 4.0 (I4.0) is the 4th Industrial Revolution popularized by Germany in 2011.  Typically associated with smart automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, it has nine pillars and, among others, includes cyber-physical systems (CPS), Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), Cloud Computing & cognitive computing (Big Data/AI). Industry 4.0 initially creates what has been called a SMART Factory, but now embracing all industries and all walks of life spinning off Digital Economy/FTZ, Digital Twin, Digital IQ, Digital Employees, Digital Life.

Do you think Mauritius is ready to face this new industrial revolution?
This is not a question of choice nor whether an individual, an organization, or a country is ready. Industry 4.0 will impact everyone, every organization, every country, advanced or otherwise need to compete and collaborate in the Digital Economy and thrive in the new e-ecosystems, individuals, low-skilled or high-skilled – will need to reskill/upskill to be digital-savvy, customers, privileged or otherwise will need to adapt. Organizations, big or small, will need to change their tried and trusted business models (and service delivery mechanism) to be Digital Enterprises or perish. Mauritius must get ready, and the distributed leadership must plan for the overall readiness. An Industry 4.0 Blueprint must exist at the individual, the organizational and the country level.

Besides the implementation of the technical concepts, how will Industry 4.0 transform industrial operations from your perspective?
Speed & Immense Disruption. Exponential change at exponential speed, disrupting almost every industry in every country. The depth and breadth of these changes will steamroll and cause transformational impact to the entire systems of production, management, and governance. New Business Model leveraging on/unlocking of disintermediation opportunities, new product/service Lifecycle and new People skills focusing on Value Creation-Realization are the obvious game changers.

What strategies should companies adopt to ensure a smooth transition from traditional industries to factory of the future? 
At an organization-level, SMART Agenda needs to crafted to incorporate SMART Action Plan addressing SMART Business Model, SMART Lifecycle in managing products/services (agile to support constant iteration and flexibility), SMART People Transformation Culture (TM4.0) to equip with high Digital IQ resources and governance framework for Digital Employees, and operationalize SMART Value Creation-Realization TOM (Target Operating Model).  This is NOT a question of choice nor whether an organization is ready.

Specifically, it may cause inequality and widen societal disparity as those in the low skill-low pay bracket will be displaced. Only 30% global population are enjoying the pervasiveness of digital technologies and dynamic information sharing, thus worryingly putting the others’ employability under severe question marks."

The manufacturing of the future needs to be decentralized and to run autonomously. How far can this be realistic for Mauritius? 
As Industry 4.0 rears its ugly head, more Smart and Digital Factories (across all Industries, not only limited to Manufacturing) will mushroom due to the wave of unstoppable changes. Already, there are world-class factories in Mauritius generating large-volume, export-oriented outputs that are running 24x7 with 170 or less employees! As necessity is the mother of invention, the orientation and focus is how to make things happen for Mauritius. Leaders 4.0 must master Digitalization as they will be dealing with Digital Employees and Human Employees possessing high Digital IQ. Leaders 4.0 must be comfortable dealing with a flatter organization structure as decision-makings are empowered (with autonomy) at the decision points where quick time-to-market is akin to life-or-death matters. Leaders 4.0 must value-add as routine works and decision-makings are already outsourced to Digital Employees.  Leaders 4.0 must have the rightly-calibrated value system as the new working culture is one of collaboration and integration, harnessing diversity to achieve superior performance with par-excellence robust transformation management competency driving dual-speed culture environments.

Talent Management (TM) is now a pre-requisite and pressing.  TM4.0 is about building Digital Talents (Generation Digital - GenD) with high Digital IQ operating with innovation, multi-channel collaboration and risk-weighted modus operandi. Leadership 4.0 is about fostering a transparent, creatively agile culture that resonates with the required situational changes. This new work environment is certainly uncomfortable for many who are used to closed and rigid (project) management within the confine of the traditional environments.

One common argument is that Industry 4.0 can be particularly vulnerable from a cyber-security point of view. If there is an attack, organizational operations can come to a standstill. How far is this applicable? 
It is definitely a valid, clear and present concern.  Hence, one of the pillars of Industry 4.0 focuses solely on Cybersecurity to accompany Cloud computing.  The emergence of new cybersecurity technologies, such as latest variants of Blockchain, Microsegmentation and Flow Visibility, DevSecOps and Pervasive Trust Services are evolving and given top priority by the Digital Community.  Our Industry 4.0 experts will be addressing these key aspects in the Technology 4.0 segment on Day 2 of the 26-27 September 2018 Industry 4.0 Blueprinting Conference. 

What precautionary measures do you suggest to prevent any threat?
Any chosen response must be proportionate to the business value under threat.  It is likely to be multi-tier, multi-technology approach as part of pro-active dynamic risk management of the processing infrastructure and data protection. Like the norms in the brick-and-mortar physical economy, we must also have a constantly tested and improved Digital Business Continuity Plan (DBCP).   

Will Industry 4.0 open new sectors? 
Industry 4.0 will not eliminate human needs – it is how these needs are fulfilled that will differ.  And it is likely – as the Digital World promises increasingly everything at the touch of a button - the new fulfilment process will spin off new opportunities (new sectors, new industries) just like how some successful Robotic Process Automation (RPA) initiatives have demonstrated.   

Do you think Industry 4.0 will bring more jobs to the industry or will it result in a large loss of employment?
No one knows for sure the extent of the real impact. Generally, Industry 4.0 will increase the global income and improve quality of life. Specifically, it may cause inequality and widen societal disparity as those in the low skill-low pay bracket will be displaced. Only 30% global population are enjoying the pervasiveness of digital technologies and dynamic information sharing, thus worryingly putting the others’ employability under severe question marks. However, if we proactively pursue the change – urgently and with great sense of importance through an Industry 4.0 Plan which must include reskilling/upskilling – then I believe more value-added jobs will be created.  

How strong is Africa in the key technologies for Industry 4.0?
Like Mauritius, I believe Africa already has pockets of excellence.  However, as a catching-up economy, Africa must adopt the leap-frogging model. This is where Industry 4.0 comes in naturally to be the greatest leveler and democratizer of Digital Economy opportunities. Anyone that has the right idea and business model could succeed! It is the glass that is half-full! 

Where do you see digital transformation in the next 10 years? 
There won’t be any 10-year as the tipping point is 2025, a mere 6-7 years away!  Optimistically, I see the emergence of Industry 5.0 where there will be mass personalization to serve the human needs via human-machine collaboration (cobots).  I believe it will be sustainable and socially-and-economically inclusive.  It will be the return of human touches!

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