4 key takeaways from The New Shape of Manufacturing Conference

6 Apr 2015

We were grateful for the overwhelming responses for this event. We had more than 150 C-level executives registered, however due to venue constraint we had to limit the participants to 100pax. Guess what? 87 c-levels out of 100 turn up during event day. With speakers line-ups from MIDA to technology providers from USA & France, we decided to share 4 key takeaways from this conference to those who’ve missed.


#1 Manufacturers Need To Move Up The Value Chain

Convergence of technology and mega trends will revolutionize the way we manufacture things. Malaysia manufacturers rely heavily on labors and we need to move up the value chain. – Datuk Phang, CEO, MIDA.

Datuk Phang shared that relying mainly on hard labors is not sustainable, however, technology and automation can. He shared that the approved investments grew year-on-year for manufacturing sector from 52.1 billion in 2013 to 71.9 billion in 2014, an increase of 38%.

The key to remain competitive across ASEAN region is to move up the value chain such as R&D and Product Design. From MIDA’s perspective, this means forming an ecosystem which transforms Malaysia into a high tech hub. To fuel such growth, MIDA is introducing new incentives such as:

  • Principal hub (effective 1st May)
  • Projects that invest in innovation, technology and involving the creation of high-income jobs.
  • 200% capital allowance on automation expenditure to encourage automation, especially for labor-intensive industries.

Key Takeaway: Moving up the value chain in manufacturing requires us to embrace change. The change in technology and the change in core business activity. Download Datuk Phang’s slide here 


#2 The Future of Mass Customization / Build On Demand

Low volume production no longer equals to high cost with Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing. – Ryan Sybrant, Senior Manager of Stratasys USA

Ryan Sybrant shared how Additive Manufacturing is revolutionizing the way we manufacture things. Additive Manufacturing is not just a prototyping machine, it is capable of making useful tools throughout the whole manufacturing cycle. Concepts like digital inventory to build on demand was introduced. Imagine a solution which is capable of producing customized jigs & fixtures to hold parts for your assembly line, making molds for injection molding, or even fabricating end-use-parts on demand.

It disrupts the manufacturing landscape by:

  • Eliminate the restrictions of subtractive manufacturing i.e. complex geometries.
  • Significantly disrupts the economic formulas associated with mass production.
  • Requires significantly fewer processing steps, less assembly, and minimizes waste.
  • Offers mass customization which allows design to be more adaptable.

Key Takeaway: Additive Manufacturing is a full suite solution that provides significant cost savings & lead time reduction for manufacturers. Download Ryan’s slide here 


#3 Improving Quality of Output

When price is not an issue anymore, quality is. – Kajin Teoh, Technical Consultant, MAWEA Industries

Kajin Teoh shared the days of buying on the cheapest item is changing. People are more willing to pay a higher price if quality is up to expectation. Kajin shared few challenges of manufacturing landscape today:

  • Complexity in configuration management – one can control almost every parameter in a system / machine.
  • Small batch runs or unique end items in production.

The issue lies in despite such schedule, how can manufacturers ensure the quality is maintained throughout the whole cycle? The key answer lies in a scalable Operation Intelligence system which is capable of:

  • Strategic data collection
  • Data analysis tools for “Big data”
  • Discovery logic-based pattern of process rules from history data

Key Takeaway: Instead of relying on gut feel to make decision, manufacturers can rely on a scalable OI to find out potential improvements with real time data. Download Kajin’s slide here 


#4 Maximize Production Efficiency

Tracking what is being produced and what is coming up next is extremely crucial in Malaysia’s high mix manufacturing industry. – Jeff Lim, Senior Manager, IMES

Planning and scheduling is extremely crucial in managing production, especially for SMEs. Whilst manufacturing is reliant on sales to determine production however the management for production floor is entirely different from typical processes. One single mismanagement can make or break a deal.

This highlights the need to:

  • Solution for dynamic issues.
  • Understanding production progress and visibility.
  • Job update and tracking process.
  • Automating the report mechanism.
  • Centralizing information into database.

Adopting such solution will provide visibility throughout the whole production system, more importantly, it equips one with the flexibility and competitive advantage – simply by understanding internal manufacturing progress.

Key Takeaway: Manufacturers will need to find effective ways in managing production schedule to tackle dynamic changes in market. Download Jeff’s slide here 

In summary, these 4 key takeaways are built upon the foundation of moving up the value chain and how technology can help in doing so. If you’re interested in getting the presentation slides, visit this link for download.