As I browsed through the articles I have written for this column, one thing became clear – the issues related to the automotive industry had shifted drastically over the years.
From a central policy focused on energy-efficient vehicles in 2014, the industry is now speaking of high-tech investments in next-generation vehicles, intelligent transportation systems and Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) implementations. All this within the last five years.
The uncertain global economic backdrop, based on inconsistency and changing sentiments by in the world’s economic powerhouses on fundamental economic principles, has created new waves of debate and discussions on how we, as a nation, move forward as a global economic player.
While we remain vigilant on the developments in global trends that affect our export competitiveness, the continuation of developing our industry fundamentals should not cease. The scope of what is considered “fundamental” changes rapidly as well.
For example, the Lean Production – a system that reduces or eliminates different categorisations of waste to reduce production costs – was an option reserved for large companies.
Today, it is a fundamental requirement for small or large businesses in order to remain competitive.
Similarly, the application of cloud-based technology – something previously associated with information-technology companies such as Google – has become a part of any industry we see today. The utilization of technology no longer makes for a dominant market leader, but is a requirement for a market player.
As each year passes by, we must review and preview as today’s super computer may well become tomorrow’s “typewriter”. Our knowledge and skills today will also likely be obsolete in the future – in 10 years’ time, a person who is unable to use a computer may be considered illiterate.
The question is now simple – what skills, knowledge, and economic activity will make us relevant in the future?
The answers are obvious, and also found across the Internet in numerous articles written by a multitude of experts and thought leaders. As far as the automotive industry is concerned, Industry 4.0 has stated its demands for the future.
The application of robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) will clearly dominate the future lanscape. Issues such industrial IoT technology adoption, cyber security, Big Data analytics and collaborative robots will continue to grow in importance for the sustainability of the future industry.
The Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) has initiated implementations to develop the needed awareness, capacity building and development programmes to enhance literacy and competency in robotics and IoT adoption.
To start with, our stakeholders can expect numerous international seminars, conferences and dialogues on the multitude of areas of development surrounding robotics and IoT applications.
Businesses and industry players can expect assistance in accelerating the adoption of robotics and IoT through various capacity-building and intervention programmes, developed to hand-hold businesses from the moment interest is sparked to the implementation of advanced robotics and IoT within their entire business operations.
At a macro level, the industry must work within an ecosystem that is conducive to their business development – MARii is working closely with the industry, academia and government institutions to create the necessary framework to elevate Malaysia to emerge as a hub for robotics and IoT within ASEAN.
To move forward, the most important change we must recognise is the change in future currency. While we trade in the currency of our choice, the ability and speed at which we adapt to change will be the item of most value to the world.
Malaysians are known for their integrity, cultural diversity and friendliness – and we must look forward to instilling these values in our approach to nation-building, with an image of knowledge integrity, multidisciplinary culture and technological friendliness. This fundamental value acceptance will create a Malaysian economy that is sustainable and will rise above any form of disruption.
I wish everyone a Happy New Year 2019! May this great nation move forward to further embrace excellence, curiosity and strong will to lead.
“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii).