By techweek Techweek
1 July 2020
The Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) and The Manufacturers’ Network (TMN) have supported New Zealand manufacturing for over 130 years and that includes the introduction of the concept of Industry 4.0 in 2015 – at a time when few others in the New Zealand’s manufacturing community were aware of it.
Industry 4.0 is the digital transformation of manufacturing and related industries and the term is used interchangeably with the fourth industrial revolution. It represents a new stage in the organisation and control of the industrial value chain.
This approach aligns with our core mission to help businesses succeed and the opportunities for improving productivity, product appeal and business models through the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies are critical for future-proofing our manufacturing sector.
New Zealand manufacturing is a significant and diverse sector contributing $29 billion to the GDP which is 10% of the economy. Manufacturing also employs 242,000 people, accounts for $680 million of R&D investment and represents 52% of the value of New Zealand exports. (Source: Manufacturing Matters Report 2020).
The contribution it makes to R&D and innovation makes up close to a third of business expenditure on R&D in New Zealand, with 45 percent of manufacturing firms introducing innovation in 2018.
The importance of Industry 4.0 will become more evident as manufacturers recover after COVID-19. It has provided an incentive to move towards a smart factory, complete with smart manufacturing or smart processes to help increase productivity.
The EMA have working relationships with Callaghan Innovation, MBIE and Regional Economic Development agencies in Post Covid-19 recovery. In addition, the EMA are committed to long term manufacturing excellence including Industry 4.0.
The EMA and TMN were successful in the proposal to Callaghan Innovation to deliver an Industry 4.0 contract to manufacturers. This will include a network of site visits and access to smart factories and help manufacturers who are still unclear about the business case for Industry 4.0 technologies, understand what other companies have achieved and how it has benefited their manufacturing operation.
Growing awareness of technological changes associated with Industry 4.0 creates a new window of opportunity for investment in upskilling the workforce of the future. Technology is changing the way work and businesses are organised and workers will need different skills, not just more skills.
The EMA and TMN have been engaged in a project “Skills Shift in Manufacturing”. This is an in-depth analysis of actual skills profiles at key levels in manufacturing and where they need to be moved to in the future, together with running pilot studies in selected manufacturing plants.
This all adds up to a closer relationship between businesses, people and technology which is why we are proud to be involved with Techweek20202.
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