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Takeaways from AIBP Insights Manufacturing: Digital Transformation in Process Industries

AIBP Insights is a series of closed-door regional roundtable discussions which are part of our ongoing engagement with enterprises in ASEAN to look at topics affecting digital transformation for their businesses. The purpose is to enable the exchange of ideas between industry stakeholders and spearhead creative collaboration across industries and countries.

Earlier this month, we hosted a session on Customer Experience in the Retail Sector, and last week, a separate discussion on Resilient Supply Chains was conducted. 

In the opening session for Manufacturing, our panelists from Beijer Electronics, EBN, Indorama Ventures, Petronas, PTC, Pupuk Indonesia and Sime Darby Plantation came together to discuss and share their expertise and insights on digital transformation in process industries.

2021 AIBP Insights Manufacturing Panelists

The discussions revolved around the adoption of industry 4.0 technologies and how it will greatly increase the efficiency of various aspects of the manufacturing industry especially in decision making, collaboration and communications within the organisation, and transforming business models and processes. 

Key areas of discussion today were Digital Transformation Initiatives, Driving Innovation as a Culture, and New Technologies for the Future.

Top 5 Industries by GDP

Setting the stage for the discussion, YY Fong, Vice President, Industry Platform, shared that manufacturing is an imperative and large contributor towards ASEAN’s GDP. 

Digital Transformation Initiatives 

Kenny Ong, Global Sales Director, EBN, opened with a presentation on Driving Production Excellence with Intelligent Factory. Kenny shared that enabling smart manufacturing and data fusion is important. Having a customisable dashboard that enables data fusion to provide accurate real-time information can help to improve efficiency and benefit inventory management. 

Shiv Srivastava, Corporate IT Head, Indorama Ventures, acknowledged that digitalisation is present but will continue evolving. Shiv leads three separate digital initiatives: implementing an ERP system that is commercial oriented, global business services to improve customer service and synergy within the organisation, and consolidating the adoption of AI and machine learning. 

Sam Murley, Digital Transformation Director, WW Augmented Reality, PTC, believes in the three pillars of operations – people, products, and processes. Organisations have to identify gaps, challenges and missed opportunities. From there, identifying tangible, measurable and scalable solutions, and the purpose of adopting digital transformation would be the next steps. 

Azli Razali, Head of Sime Darby Oils Philippines, Sime Darby Plantation, noted that for upstream processes with labour intensive roles, for example, drones and satellites have been introduced to replace the manual surveying of unhealthy trees. With downstream processes, Azli agrees with Sam on the three pillars, and acknowledges the need to collect data points to achieve goals. 

Glenn Hsu, Regional Sales Manager, Beijer Electronics, added that software can be used to enable integrated data systems to further improve processes and reduce cost and downtime. One of the biggest challenges that he observed is that many organisations who implemented ERP and MES only look at results from the past. It becomes challenging for them to understand and predict what will happen next, but with integrated machine data, they will be better equipped to receive real-time data for decision making.

Ari Novan, Senior Project Manager Distribution Planning and Control System, Pupuk Indonesia, shared that he has implemented more than 100 digital initiatives in smart projects in the procurement and distribution functions. These initiatives are in-place to improve productivity, quality, and flexibility. Pak Ari acknowledged the importance of having an overarching strategy by mixing multiple digital initiatives, and for everyone to be equipped with both digital capability and literacy. 

Navin Kaur, Head, Digital Accelerator, Petronas, highlighted the importance of building cross functional teams. Navin views innovation as a continuous process of understanding customer demands, creating and testing hypotheses, and striving to be better. 

Driving Innovation as a Culture

Addressing the question on driving innovation as a culture, Sam thinks that human centricity is key and it would be important to constantly engage with people. Shiv agrees and adds that people are probably the hardest part of the change. It is important to understand some of the issues they face and what are some ways they can address the issues. Listening and supporting people can help; it all contributes towards a collective project. Pak Ari shared that showing employees how they can benefit (financially where possible) from innovation could help to motivate and incentivise an innovation culture. 

In her experience with innovation, Navin highlights the importance of understanding and addressing pain points, which will benefit the organisation in the long term. Navin shared that one of her projects, Setel, Malaysia’s first e-payment solution for fuel purchases directly from mobile devices, was an ongoing trial-and-error process where they constantly look to improve to meet customers’ wants. 

Likewise, Azli agreed with the trial and error process. He believes that having Proof of Value (POV) and prototypes can complement the decision making process. At Sime Darby, they gather and decide what they want, how they define success, and more importantly, to identify their true norths. Challenges will surface but identifying pain points and aligning expectations are key. 

Shiv added that it is important to align stakeholders when it comes to believing in the value. Sam noted that with a POV, it de-risks the decision making process. In addition, he believes that knowing who you are talking to and what they value will be highly advantageous. 

New Technologies for the Future

AIBP Insights Manufacturing: Digital Transformation in Process Industries

At the close, the panel shared about the various technologies that they are looking forward to for the future. 

Augmented Reality (AR) is an area that Sam and PTC has put a lot of time and effort into and this was also something that excites Navin too, having worked on some related projects. 

Azli added that having some elements of robotics in upstream would be a game changer for his organisation. Shiv on the other hand thinks that blockchain and machine learning are something that he would be most excited about. 

With that, we look forward to the innovation projects that ASEAN enterprises will be implementing in the coming years.

Upcoming sessions for this week’s AIBP Insights Manufacturing will be ASEAN Manufacturing: Industry 4.0 In Action on 24th March and Maximising Data Value in ASEAN Electronics and Advanced Manufacturing on 25th March. Stay tuned for AIBP Insights Government, and Banking and Finance which will be held in the next few weeks. Do reach out if you wish to find out more about our upcoming sessions!


By AIBP | March 26th, 2021

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