Philippines seen making all the right moves in adopting Industry 4.0

The Philippine Star – August 22, 2018 – 3:24pm

SINGAPORE — The Philippines is taking steps toward the digitalization of the country’s manufacturing sector and enterprises, joining its neighbors in the region in entering the fourth industrial revolution.

Data from consultancy firm AT Kearney show the Philippines is still at the “planning phase” in adopting the so-called Industry 4.0, in which technology gathers and analyzes factory data to allow manufacturers to identify machine problems that hamper production process.

The data from AT Kearney were presented at a press event in Singapore for the inaugural Industry 4.0 trade show called “Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific” or ITAP, a conference and exhibition that will be held at Singapore EXPO from October 16 to 18.

“I personally do believe industry 4.0 is always a journey and different companies, regardless of whether you’re big or small or what country you’re from, have different starting points,” Singapore Economic Development Board Assistant Managing Director Lim Kok Kiang said in an interview on the sidelines of the ITAP press event last week.

“So I think every company can take the incremental step to try and be better than what you are today… To me there’s no end to the journey of adoption because it’s always how to do better,” Lim added.

According to a 2018 report by the World Economic Forum titled “Readiness for the Future of Production,” the Philippines belongs to the “legacy” countries category, or those with strong production base today that are at risk for the future due to weaker performance in three areas: improving institutional framework, investing in human capital and boosting technology platforms.

Meanwhile, a joint report by the WEF and Asian Development Bank published last year said based on the International Labour Organization’s estimates, 56 percent of jobs in five Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, are at high risk of automation in the next few decades.

“Legacy countries need to avoid getting squeezed between more advanced Leading countries, which can offer more advanced manufacturing, and Nascent countries that can offer lower cost labour,” the WEF said.

“Legacy countries, in particular, can accelerate readiness and transformation by utilizing the private sector more actively in tackling macro level challenges,” it added.

For his part, Yong Yoon Kit, executive vice president and partner at PEMANDU Associates, said during a fireside chat at ITAP’s press event last week that governments should give incentives to businesses and enforce the “right policies” to help in the adoption of Industry 4.0.

But Yong stressed such incentives must have “appropriate size” so the “government can afford it as well as for the industry to feel the benefits.” — Ian Nicolas Cigaral