Business

Governments, business owners must rethink strategies


With machines doing people's work in factories and shifts in global trade sentiment, Asean's export-led manufacturing model needs a relook, said delegates at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Asean meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Automation and emerging technological breakthroughs mean governments, enterprises and people leading small businesses need to rethink their approaches to sustain the region's production capabilities and save thousands of jobs, they said.

The delegates were speaking at a forum last Thursday moderated by The Straits Times' business editor Lee Su Shyan.

The session marked the launch of a series of dialogues in the region by the Davos-based WEF on Shaping The Future Of Production. This will feed into a multi-year global initiative on the issue, involving more than 24 ministers of commerce, 38 companies, 20 academic institutions and other luminaries.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, characterised by the rise of artificial intelligence, robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT), is set to transform businesses at a pace not seen before, experts believe, risking the future of conventional jobs and requiring substantial re-skilling of workforces to cope.

Indonesia's Industry Minister Airlangga Hartarto said Jakarta has made transforming manufacturing an issue of mainstream debate and public policy. For small-scale enterprises, its government is supporting capacity building and ability to maximise gains from the digital world. For established players, it is trying to plug them into regional value chains.

Through a revamp of the educational model, wherein Indonesia is emphasising executive education on IoT and strengthening vocational education, the nation is encouraging its young to make the most of the new opportunities presented by the revolution, he said.

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