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To develop an understanding of current standardization work for smart manufacturing and support international coordination of industrial standards, the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) along with the National Productivity Council, India (NPC), organized an in-country symposium on Productivity Enablers in the Era of Industry 4.0 on 13 March and a multicountry workshop on Standardization of Industrial Automation in New Delhi, 14–15 March 2019.
The symposium, supported by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, provided a platform for Indian policymakers and industrial representatives to discuss the connection between advanced technologies and productivity growth along with the implications of Industry 4.0 for industries and the labor force. The workshop extended the discussion to a global scope, where APO members were familiarized with the current standardization landscape and initiatives by countries leading in technology. They also discussed their own strategies to develop or align standards related to smart manufacturing.
The Industry 4.0 movement is characterized by adopting advanced technologies to achieve continuous optimization of manufacturing processes and create innovative business models. Such optimization relies on seamless, Internet-supported integration of systems, which depends in turn on compliance with commonly recognized standards and reference frameworks that facilitate compatibility among machines, interoperability in applications, and communication among systems. Standardization is thus crucial for the success of Industry 4.0 and has significant implications for all stakeholders in global value chains.
Although the Industry 4.0 movement is typically led by highly industrialized economies, technology giants, and research institutes, the work of standardization is in fact a joint function fulfilled by users, governments, industrial associations, researchers, consumers, and regulators. To address the crucial need for alignment among stakeholders in each country for adopting, harmonizing, and developing industrial standards, the APO organized the symposium and workshop to keep its members abreast of international trends and developments in standardization to assist them in developing strategies for the harmonization, interoperability, and connectivity of systems and products.
The symposium was inaugurated by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade Additional Secretary Atul Chaturved, while the workshop was opened by Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Secretary Avinash Srivastava. The participants were also warmly welcomed by NPC Director General Amita Prasad, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Deputy Director General R.K. Bajaj, and APO Secretariat Industry Department Director Hikaru Horiguchi.
The symposium and workshop were conducted by international experts: University of Tokyo Emeritus Professor Fumihiko Kimura from Japan; Aachen University Research Associate Max Ellerich from Germany; International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) JTC 1/SC 42 Chairman and Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) Steering Committee Secretary Wael Diab; and TÜV SÜD Asia Pacific Digital Service Director Andreas Hauser. They were supported by speakers and facilitators based in India: BIS Scientist Manikandan Krishnankutty; UN International Development Organization (UNIDO) International Centre for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development Director Rajeev Vijh; International Labour Organization (ILO) Skills and Employability Specialist Gabriel H. Bordado; VANN Consulting President and CEO P.V.G. Menon; BIS Director General Surina Rajan; and TCS Research and Innovation Principal Scientist Rajeev Shorey.
During the symposium and workshop, current developments and initiatives from Germany, India, Japan, Singapore, and international bodies such as the ISO, IEC, IIC, UNIDO, and ILO were presented and examined. Extensive discussions of the implications for emerging countries and their industries and the strategies of APO members were also held. The symposium was attended by more than 100 Indian participants, while the workshop had over 20 participants and observers from six APO member countries.
Since 2015, the APO has assisted its member countries in developing awareness, resilience, capabilities, and excellence in the age of Industry 4.0. With the support of national productivity organizations, various conferences, workshops, training courses, and consultancy projects were conducted to share knowledge and experiences related to Industry 4.0. In 2018, the APO helped members in developing strategies for Industry 4.0 by sharing tools to evaluate their digitization readiness and maturity; it was also involved in setting up demonstration projects on digitization in the automotive and health sectors in India and Thailand, respectively. The APO Center of Excellence on IT for Industry 4.0 was launched in New Delhi for additional support to APO members in responding to the challenges and opportunities in this new wave of industrialization.