The Asian Productivity Organization (APO) and China Productivity Center (CPC) concluded the International Conference on Industry 4.0 and the Future of Productivity in Taipei, Republic of China (ROC). During the three-day conference from 23 to 25 May 2017, 46 participants, including two observers, from 15 APO member countries discussed and shared views on the implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) for future productivity and its impact on their growth.
The dawn of Industry 4.0 has inspired organizations and economies to explore transboundary collaborations. The conference, a cooperative initiative among APO members, focused on the capacity building of various stakeholders to tackle the challenges, opportunities, and actions required for industries to benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The conference also deliberated on how member countries could adopt Industry 4.0 as a strategy for improving national productivity.
APO Secretary-General Dr. Santhi Kanoktanaporn addressing the delegates at the opening session of the International Conference on Industry 4.0 and the Future of Productivity.
Welcoming delegates, APO Secretary-General Dr. Santhi Kanoktanaporn pointed out that the Fourth Industrial Revolution was bringing with it a range of new technologies that combined the physical, digital, and biological worlds. ‘While these technologies are geared toward improving productivity, they could also be very disruptive. They are shaking up established business models and fundamentally changing the way people work, trade, communicate, and make other transactions,’ he said.
The Secretary-General also noted that the speed of change had created a lot of uncertainty about the future. Organizations and countries needed to analyze early warning signs, determine the driving forces, and learn how to use such information to create strategies to mold the future, he cautioned. ‘Those of us in Asia need to understand global events and learn quickly from the experiences of various companies and economies so that we are not left behind, or worse, hit by sweeping changes similar to being run over by a high-speed train,’ he stressed.
Dr. Santhi reported that the APO was building its capacity for foresight and scenario planning so that it could help member countries develop their abilities to plan for the future. The Secretary-General pointed out that, as an initial step, the APO had launched an online Strategic Future Platform at the recently concluded Governing Body Meeting in Tehran. The platform is expected to boost the ability of the APO to scan global technological, social, political, economic, and environmental trends through the use of artificial intelligence. The information gathered will be used to shape future policies and programs of member countries.
‘The time is now ripe to plug into new technology components to drive Sustainable Productivity and create hypersmart societies. For the APO, this is only the beginning of a transformation that will benefit member countries. In line with this, we will also develop smart projects for the industry, agriculture, services, and the public sectors,’ he stated.
The inaugural session of the conference was attended by ROC Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Counselor Frank Lee and CPC President Dr. Pau-Cheng Chang. Thanking the APO for meeting member countries’ need for a better understanding of Industry 4.0, Dr. Chang said that the ROC was the right choice to host the conference because ‘SMEs make up the largest portion of enterprises here and have long been the engine of the economy.’
‘They possess excellent manufacturing capability, operate with great flexibility, and are supported by an advanced IT industry. There are quite a few benchmark enterprises in ROC that have developed Industry 4.0 models to suits their needs and are reaping substantial benefits,’ he explained, adding that the conference would allow participants to exchange views freely and benefit from expert presentations.
The conference was attended by six international experts including IMP³rove-European Innovation Management Academy EWIV Managing Director Dr. Eva Diedrichs (Germany); Gakushuin University Professor Emeritus Michiya Morita (Japan); SAP Japan Director for the Internet of Things/Fourth Industrial Revolution Industry Cloud Soichiro Murata; Gyeonggi Center for Creative Economy and Innovation Chief of International Affairs, Cooperation, and Public Relations David Sehyeon Baek (Republic of Korea); Opus One Inc. CEO Joseph Kim (Republic of Korea); and Knowledge Associates Cambridge Ltd. CEO and CKO Ron Young (UK).
Presentations were also made by four experts from the ROC: Siemens Limited (Taiwan) Vice President Dr. Ken Cheng; National Tsing Hua University Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management Chair Professor Dr. Chen-Fu Chien; Cimforce International Limited General Manager Jerry Hsieh; and CPC Manufacturing Business Division Director Shih Lung Chen.
Photos : CPC