PRAI, 12 DEC 2019: The SIRIM-Industry Engagement programme, a joint effort by SIRIM, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM), Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Berhad (MIDF), Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC), Invest Penang, Northern Corridor Economic Region and Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce held here today offers various technology applications and services in efforts to enhance the productivity of Penang manufacturers and entrepreneurs.


More than 150 representatives from government agencies, industry associations and entrepreneurs in Penang attended the half-day programme. Themed “Sustaining Your Business in a Challenging Market", the SIRIM-Industry Engagement programme emphasised the importance of research and development, energy management, quality, trainings, testing and certification.


“With the upcoming revolution in Industry 4.0, we witnessed a transformation of business landscapes all around the world where interconnectivity has become an important advancement to cater the growing market demand globally, “ said Penang State Executive Councillor (Exco) for Domestic & International Trade, Consumer Affairs & Entrepreneurship Development, YB Dato' Haji Abdul Halim Hussain during the event's opening ceremony.


He urged companies to stay abreast with technological changes by adopting new technologies. To stay relevant, companies should be investing in three areas; namely automation, skilled talent and upskilling, as well as innovation, and move towards I4.0.


“Federal Government allocated RM210 million from 2019 to 2021 to support the transition and migration to Industry 4.0. Readiness Assessment programme will be carried out to assist up to 500 Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to migrate to Industry 4.0 technologies," he said.


Industry4WRD Readiness Assessment (Industry4WRD-RA) is a comprehensive programme to help firms assess their capabilities and readiness to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies and processes. The assessment uses a predetermined set of indicators to understand their present capabilities and gaps, which will enable the firms to prepare feasible strategies and plans to move towards Industry 4.0.


He encouraged companies to participate in the Readiness Assessment program and work with SIRIM in moving towards Industry 4.0.


He also said being the top five import and export state of the nation, Penang contributes to 28.2% of total export value in 2019 from January to September and also the second largest importer at 21.1% of the total import of Malaysia.


All four states of the northern region which is Perlis, Kedah, Pulau Pinang and Perak contributes to 34.2% of total nation export with an increase of manufactured goods in the region from the previous years.


Meanwhile, President and Group Chief Executive of SIRIM, Prof Ir Dr Ahmad Fadzil Mohamad Hani said, SIRIM has established a successful Small Business and Medium Enterprise innovation ecosystem which covers industry research, technology development and commercialisation and market access services to enhance business growth of SMEs.


SIRIM started its operation since 1975 and with more than 40 years of experience, SIRIM offers technology application and enhancement in various sectors such as manufacturing, oil and gas, and services, he said.


“To further enhance our efforts in the development of local SMEs, SIRIM has also established a strategic cooperation with renowned German research organisation, Fraunhofer Institute, Europe's largest application-oriented research organisation.


“The strategic alliance with Fraunhofer encompasses Technology Audit programme in specific technology application areas and the technology audit helps SMEs to understand their individual strengths and weaknesses as well as potential points for improvement," he added.


Companies that have signed up for the audit will work with SIRIM and eligible for technology intervention programme to upgrade their technology capabilities, exploring potential improvements through mechanisation, automation and upscaling whilst identifying relevant areas of Research and Development (R&D) that will benefit them in the long term.


As of November, 831 SMEs participated in this technology audit, 251 are from Selangor SMEs, making Selangor the most active recipient of the program. In year 2019 alone, 45 SMEs have completed the audit and out of 251 SMEs audited, a total of 66 SMEs have embarked on the technology uptake program.


SIRIM has assisted them with various technology interventions including the enhancement of automation and mechanisation in their manufacturing or production process.