Sweden-Malaysia seminars: Digital and Efficient Manufacturing

A productive workshop on Digital and Efficient Manufacturing, focusing on the phenomenon known as Industry 4.0, was arranged in Kuala Lumpur on 6 September and Penang on 7 September by Business Sweden, in cooperation with the Embassy of Sweden Kuala Lumpur and the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM). Swedish innovation and industrial efficiency knowhow was showcased through presentations and workshop sessions with participating Malaysian manufacturing company representatives, 107 people in Kuala Lumpur, and 102 in Penang, while the Swedish organizer had aimed at 70.

H.E. Dag Juhlin-Dannfelt, Swedish Ambassador to Malaysia and YBhg Dato’ Dr Ir Andy Seo, FMM Vice President & Chairman of FMM SMI Working Committee were in attendance giving their respective introduction speeches.

Carl Malmqvist, Trade Commissioner to Malaysia, then presented insights from the survey ‘Reaching new productivity heights through digitalization of Malaysian Companies’.

Atlas Copco, SKF, Virtual Manufacturing, Monitor ERP System, Good Solutions and Flexlink shared their experiences on how to adapt to the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Carl Malmqvist from Business Sweden explained that these workshops followed on a first seminar held back in January 2017. “It goes back 1.5 years, we have been looking at the manufacturing industry for many years but have not necessarily done a direct approach. There are many players who are already here but having worked a lot with transportation previously we felt we needed to find new sectors in Malaysia where we could do more. So we started discussing with some companies, and did a first seminar in January, where we worked with the Malaysian government’s SME Corp, aiming at SMEs.”

“In that seminar, one board member attending from FMM, thought it was so good and that we had hit the right note. Industry 4.0 is thematic, a bit too difficult target even for larger corporations. But at lest we managed to create a target and had managed to use both big and large companies, discussing it very practically from different angles. And he wanted to bring that to FMM.”

Through FMM the Swedish organisers got slightly larger companies that are a bit more mature and receptive to discussing automation and ERP systems etc., according to Carl.

“We combined a half day seminar with afternoon sessions in smaller groups, gathering 10-15 companies going in more in-depth, where Monitor wanted to demonstrate their systems more practically and have people try it out, which is difficult in a seminar setting. The same goes for Virtual Manufacturing and Atlas Copco. In that regard it was great to get people into a classroom environment for them to exchange hands-on what are their issues, and get the solutions available presented.”

“The whole target we had was to not have people on stage just hard selling their solution but we wanted everyone coming to talk in the context of how they contribute to industry 4.0, which can be on a smaller or larger scale. For Virtual Manufacturing their whole context is industry 4.0 – automation, robots etc. But Atlas Copco wants to sell processors; that’s about lowering energy costs. Sustainability is also an important topic and an incentive in this; more effective solutions, surveillance of the systems to reduce downtime is absolutely part of 4.0. So that was the angle from SKF and Atlas Copco how one can work with preventive solutions against downtime towards their solutions.”

Carl thought this approach turned out very well: “It was very successful where they were able to sell their solutions by highlighting the opportunities around Industry 4.0. That is what we wanted to achieve. At the end of it one wants to sell the solutions but wants to contribute to development and to see that the industry here gets some kind of exchange from what we want to offer as well.”

One aspect discussed a lot during the seminar was to be careful when it comes to defining 4.0 because also in Sweden most companies are at 2.0 or 2.5 and in Malays many are still at 1.0. “To talk 4.0 becomes very difficult for people to visualise. So becoming very practical with even small changes like getting workers at their workstations engaged and thinking about their workflow to work perfectly, how can they maximise the whole process in their factory, was a successful approach. And it is from there we would like to continue.”

“We will continue this journey onwards with FMM and these companies are very interested in continuously engaging Malaysian companies and stakeholders to be a support in the agenda for development.”

Also in Malaysia Industry 4.0 has become a hot topic on the agenda for the country and its ministries – not without challenges. Carl replied that from the Swedish side they are only able to point out discrepancies but that it is an agenda for the country.

“The Trade & Industry Ministry is very interested and there will be much more new money to boost SMEs, and where Industry 4.0 twill be part of it to boost more automation,” he added and portrayed a positive picture about Malaysia.

“Aside manufacturing, which is a positive aspect from Swedish side, the more we dig into things the more pops up. With a new Swedish ambassador with a lot of energy we jointly notice together that a lot is happening, plus with InvestKL contributing strongly to increase the engagement and being very good at creating ecosystems for the Swedish companies and connect them with the right people in this jungle of an organisation. So somehow we are creating a working climate enabling to support companies to enter here and reap the fruits of the good economic development that is happening. It feels very positive.”

He paints the picture of Business Sweden’s collaboration with Invest L as being very positive and strong.

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