Bringing tech to Malaysia’s industries

  • SMEBiz
  • Saturday, 06 Jun 2020

MANY small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are more inclined to do business by traditional means; most would have avoided the adoption of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and big data due to the higher cost.

However, the digital transformation is sweeping across industries, driven, in part, by the current pandemic.

While not all industries are equal in their level of sophistication and level of technology adoption, industry watchers note that verticals such as media, digital content, healthcare, education and some spots of manufacturing, and even property development, have begun some form of digitalisation.

But now is a good time for businesses to reconsider and explore digitisation and automation in key aspects of their supply chain to have the upper hand as the landscape becomes more competitive.

Automating the supply chain would help manufacturers operate remotely and enable productions to function with minimal human intervention.

Additionally, the strict standard operating procedure (SOP) expected of businesses require them to adhere to new normals including on how workers are monitored and traced. As such, the human resource element in factories have become difficult to manage.

This is also where automation technology providers such as Blinkware can support and complement the supply chain to ensure manufacturers continue to be highly productive while adhering to government-set SOP.

According to Blinkware Technology founder Alvin Koh, technology will help companies analyse multiple data sets to enable improved efficiency and productivity.

In a manufacturing plant, for example, multiple devices are connected to a system, feeding in a constant stream of data across different functionalities.

While this may be too much data for a human to sift through, technology will be able to pick out patterns and enable solutions to close gaps in the production within a short period of time. Machine learning can rapidly analyse the data as it comes in, identifying patterns and anomalies.

If a machine in the manufacturing plant is working at a reduced capacity, a machine learning algorithm would be able to identify the problem and notify decision-makers on the need to schedule a preventive maintenance team.

This will allow small businesses to effectively delegate conventional tasks to computers, enabling employees to focus on more complex work, ensuring that there are more resourceful and creative opportunities available in the company to help them expand.

Through advanced industrial Internet of Things (IoT), manufacturing companies can achieve automation of machines, in-factory logistics and production scheduling to achieve consumer-to-business smart manufacturing.

In addition, interconnected industrial systems can be adjusted and coordinated to match the production capability of both upstream and downstream which would further increase the manufacturers’ productivity and profitability.

The integration of AI and IoT will lead to further innovation, automation and data management.

Manufacturing will be among the early adopters of AI-enabled IoT, Koh opines. The first deployments are starting in the areas of machine sensors, advanced electronics and will gradually move to other areas such as robotics, driverless vehicles and drones.

The government has also been pushing for better adoption of technology in the industries through the IR4.0 agenda, rolling out various grants and incentives to encourage businesses to upgrade the operations. They have also increase collaboration with technology partners to bring this vision of making Malaysia a high-tech-based manufacturing hub into reality.

“We are seeing a steady growth in technology adoption among Malaysian companies, and we expect this trend to continue, ” says Koh.

He adds that Malaysia needs more tech companies that are able to identify technology solutions that will be useful in solving challenges for local businesses, rather than companies that are merely copying business models from other countries and other providers.

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