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Developing a broad-based view of Industry 4.0

30 Aug 2019

Step-by-step strategies are needed to harness Industry 4.0’s potential.

Industry 4.0 is considered to be a new paradigm not only for the breadth and depth of the changes it makes to the systems of production, management, innovation, and government but also for its implications for economic systems, social relations, human capital, and other aspects such as equality, trust, values, and ethics. Although today it is generally regarded as a mix of the trends, strategies, movements, practices, and technologies related to digitization, smart manufacturing, and the fusion of advanced technologies, the complexity of Industry 4.0 demands an even broader view engaging different sectors and stakeholders as well as a dynamic understanding of technological advances and socioeconomic trends.

To provide a reference for its members to deliberate on and construct step-by-step strategies for industrial upgrading, reinforcing their development policies in responding to the challenges and harnessing the potential that Industry 4.0 represents, the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) organized a workshop on Developing a Roadmap for Industry 4.0 in Taipei, 19–23 August 2019, in collaboration with the China Productivity Center (CPC). It examined the mega trends in technological progress and economic development, specific strategies and policy programs in Asian and European countries, stakeholders in the ecosystems for Industry 4.0, implications of the Industry 4.0 movement, and practical tools and methodologies for digital upgrading.

The five-day workshop, attended by 17 participants from 13 APO member countries, was inaugurated by Director General Jang-Hwa Leu of the Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs, ROC, who is concurrently the APO Alternate Director for the ROC, followed by a warm welcome from CPC Director Dr. Eugene Lin and remarks by APO Secretariat Program Officer Ta-Te Yang. The workshop, incorporating perspectives on nations, sectors, and agents in the ecosystem along with the roles of policymakers and industry representatives, was structured to allow participants to develop a holistic view of Industry 4.0 so that they could review and develop effective national strategies for digital upgrading.

The delegates visited the new APO Center of Excellence on Smart Manufacturing, hosted by the CPC, where they observed a smart factory demonstration facility developed by the CPC and the training programs and facilities that support enterprises and factories in upgrading their operations, management, and business strategies. They also visited the Intelligent Manufacturing Pilot Site in Taichung Precision Machinery Park, operated by the ROC’s Industrial Technology Research Institute, which showcased the integrated systems and technologies it developed that could support digitization in SMEs and integrate them into smart supply chains in a simpler, more affordable manner.

The workshop was conducted by three APO international experts: Founding Managing Director Dr. Eva Diedrichs, IMP3rove Academy, Germany; Vice President Professor Shandre Mugan Thangavelu, Jeffrey Cheah Institute for Southeast Asia, Malaysia; and Vice President for Advanced Manufacturing Jackie Tan, TÜV SÜD Asia Pacific, Singapore. Director of International Affairs Dr. Ray Jui-Hung Chien, Smart Machinery Promotion Office of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, ROC, also shared the ROC’s vision, strategies, policy programs, and support for SMEs in pursuit of smart manufacturing and enhanced productivity underpinned by technologies.

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