It’s time for holis­tic plan­ning and im­ple­men­ta­tion

New Straits Times - - Business - The writer is chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Malaysia Au­to­mo­tive In­sti­tute.

ON Monday, Malaysia, along with many na­tions, cel­e­brated In­ter­na­tional Work­ers’ Day.

For many, it was an op­por­tu­nity to take a break from work as it co­in­cided with the week­end.

While we cel­e­brate the achieve­ment of our na­tion’s work­force, it is equally im­por­tant to spend some time pon­der­ing the fu­ture. In this case, the fu­ture source of liveli­hood for the mil­lions in need of qual­ity jobs and ca­reer ad­vance­ment to fur­ther boost the stan­dard of liv­ing for all Malaysians.

As the world moves through its fourth in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion, it is im­por­tant for the na­tion to ad­dress the fu­ture employment needs.

The fu­ture of prod­ucts, busi­nesses, man­u­fac­tur­ing and ser­vices within In­dus­try 4.0 needs no in­tro­duc­tion. This col­umn has dis­cussed the pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios ex­ten­sively in pre­vi­ous ar­ti­cles.

With re­spect to the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try, the ma­jor talk­ing points spe­cific to employment and ca­reer ad­vance­ments would most cer­tainly re­volve around job scope evo­lu­tion and ta­lent de­vel­op­ment.

It is said that through­out all the in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tions, in­clud­ing this fourth one, man­u­fac­tur­ing is the first sec­tor to feel the im­pact. The cul­mi­na­tion of the first three rev­o­lu­tions, which fore­sees rapid ad­vances in con­nec­tive au­to­ma­tion, will not only dis­rupt blue col­lar jobs, but also the while col­lar po­si­tions that man­age them.

Even be­fore In­dus­try 4.0, the last few decades have seen the global dis­ap­pear­ance of jobs that re­quire both pre­ci­sion and rep­e­ti­tion, re­placed by multi-ax­ial robots that have taken over jobs such as weld­ing, ma­chin­ing and assem­bly.

While this phe­nom­e­non was more ap­par­ent in de­vel­oped coun­tries — Malaysia would most likely face the same is­sues, as the cheap labour com­mod­ity con­tra­dicts with our am­bi­tions for high-in­come sta­tus. Imag­ine now, the dis­rup­tion to higher level jobs due to en­hanced con­nec­tiv­ity and data an­a­lyt­ics, syn­ony­mous with In­dus­try 4.0 and paired with cur­rent au­to­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy.

In­dus­try 4.0 may sound like a scary out­look. For me, neg­a­tive im­pacts can be man­aged with pos­i­tive take­aways. Dis­rup­tions af­fect ev­ery­one — but they are also op­por­tu­ni­ties, as this very dis­rup­tion also re­sets the game, paving chances for those who reach up to re­main strong play­ers.

It is best to note that while some jobs will be re­duced be­cause of In­dus­try 4.0, new jobs will be cre­ated — it is not meant to elim­i­nate liveli­hood, but rather a shift and re­model in work­place de­mands.

In con­clu­sion, what must take place is the holis­tic plan­ning and im­ple­men­ta­tion of hu­man cap­i­tal de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes that shift to­wards the de­mands of the fu­ture. After all, it is for this very rea­son the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try was cre­ated — to spur high value jobs through the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Malaysians in an in­dus­try that de­mands tech­no­log­i­cal prow­ess.

It is my hope that by the first day of May of next year, we are closer to this goal.

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