‘Adopt, grow with industry 4.0’
23 Jan 2024
The manufacturing sector in Malaysia ought to take advantage of the prospects presented by the Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) to enhance business performance, according to Tan Siew Jin, managing director of Jabil Penang.
He said that the convergence of technologies in operations, information technology (IT), and the supply chain is causing seismic shifts in manufacturing.
These shifts create predictable, data-driven environments that facilitate increased productivity and operational excellence, he told Business Times.
Tan said that Jabil Malaysia’s proactive automation adoption and advancement of IR4.0 principles like IoT, connectivity, analytics, and digital visualisation are driven by the company’s dedication to manufacturing excellence and innovation.
“These allow us to deliver cost-effective solutions that enhance machine utilisation and process efficiencies.
“We leverage state-of-the-art technologies and implement digital transformation initiatives to give customers real-time insights, helping them monitor and optimise operations from anywhere,” he said.
Tan said industry players need to consider or address capital investment as technology implementation involves varying costs.
“Here, government grants or funding can further catalyse and incentivise adoption, enabling Jabil’s continued efforts in technology transfer opportunities through upskilling and partnerships across our network of local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
“This ensures that SMEs are also empowered to build a digitally driven, high-income nation and a preferred regional manufacturing leader by optimising technologies in automation, high-value machining, and digitalisation.”
He pointed out that the combination of the digital and physical worlds is bringing about a shift in how things are done, which is known as IR4.0.
According to Tan, strategies need to be backed by a system of support that equips staff members with the necessary knowledge and abilities and fosters an environment that is ready for the shift to IR4.0.
He said that Jabil had recently pioneered an innovative bidirectional communication system on the manufacturing lines that significantly reduces human dependency and enables automated process adjustments, especially in automated optical inspection (AOI).
The innovation helped to maintain accurate inspection limits and reduce non-value-added or repetitive work.
“Investing in factory automation, robotics, and machine learning has also enabled us to build sustainable operations. Jabil Malaysia saw a 25 per cent reduction in energy usage in 2023, going from 153.4 million kWh in 2022 to 116.8 million kWh in 2023, with the annual carbon dioxide reduction equivalent to planting 40,000 trees a year,” he said.
Jabil Malaysia’s operations began in 1995. Its Penang facility was the first expansion for the company in the Asia-Pacific region. Today, the company has seven production facilities in Malaysia.
“Bringing breadth and depth of scale across the manufacturing value chain, the rapid factory digitalisation adopted in our local operations is a business differentiator and a sign of the industry to come.
“Influenced by the principles of IR4.0, we are creating “smart factories,” bringing this to life by leveraging our strong digital foundation and continuously applying automation and digital technologies to our entire value chain to drive step-change improvements in safety, quality, delivery, and cost,” added Tan.