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Singapore to Adopt Industry 4.0 Tech to Facilitate Business Transformation

As Singapore companies transition to Industry 4.0, people management and job redesign initiatives will be required to help companies adopt and sustain the changes. Many businesses report that people management is still one of their most difficult challenges.

While government grants and initiatives have aided some of these efforts, there is no programme in Singapore that assists businesses in learning about Industry 4.0 transformation and people management in a synergistic way and applying these learnings directly to their operations. IHCI was created specifically to meet this industry need.

Embrace change and be a change agent, urged Singapore’s Manpower Minister, as he encouraged more manufacturing firms, particularly SMEs, to take advantage of government programmes such as the Industry 4.0 Human Capital Initiative (IHCI).

After completing a tour of a local firm, he provided an update on the IHCI programme, which was jointly launched in March 2020 by Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) to enable the successful adoption of industry 4.0 (i4.0) technologies, as well as the development of a more skilled and productive local workforce.

Close to 90 companies, including the local firm, have benefitted from IHCI since its inauguration, with more than 1,500 job roles identified to be redesigned. “WSG and SBF will be expanding the IHCI to help another 210 manufacturing companies, in particular our SMEs, adopt i4.0 solutions, transform jobs and reskill their workers by 2022,” he said.

The IHCI takes a multi-pronged approach to drive human capital transformation and i4.0 adoption. The IHCI Self-Help Portal, which assists companies in analysing and identifying gaps in their human capital practises and digital processes, kicks off the programme. The eight-week IHCI Enabler Programme follows, in which companies are guided by dedicated experts to address priority areas such as asset efficiency, labour productivity, inventory optimisation, planning efficiency, and quality performance.

Chief Executive of Workforce Singapore, added, “The shift towards i4.0 means manufacturers must adopt a new way of working, automating processes, and making data-driven conclusions to optimise and maximise output and production. Along with digital transformation, jobs need to be redesigned with the intent to build human capital capability to support the change.

“By embarking on IHCI, companies will have the practical know-how to implement i4.0 technologies in tandem with charting a strategic HR roadmap for holistic transformation. Companies will not only reap practical rewards such as improved production and cost savings, but also a skilled workforce to take on jobs of the future.”

WSG also launched the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for i4.0 professionals, executives, and associates earlier this year to help manufacturing companies grow and reskill their workforce. The programme aims to provide new hires and existing employees with i4.0 knowledge and skills, allowing them to either switch careers into the manufacturing industry or be reskilled to take on higher-value jobs in their current companies. By 2023, the PCP is expected to benefit over 200 trainees.

Given the need to meet the aspirations of an organisation’s most valuable employees while also mitigating risk from a compliance and legal standpoint (for example, right to work in the UK), every HR manager will have to embrace a level of digitisation that goes beyond mere record-keeping.

Ambitious and IT-savvy HR managers are already carrying this process to its logical conclusion – one that places them at the very heart of an organisation, offering advanced workflow management while nurturing and deploying top talent to create a way of working that is far more efficient and controlled than previously imagined. This allows the HR team to become a catalyst for driving productivity, backed by a resource that maximises the return on the organisation’s human capital.

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