PETALING JAYA: Malaysia should set a course to achieve full industrialised nation status because it already has the right people.
All it needs now is the strategy to stem the brain drain and to motivate its people, according to a veteran in the manufacturing sector.
Kumpulan Jebco Sdn Bhd founder and CEO Teh Kian An sees the assumption that there is a lack of skilled manpower in the manufacturing sector as a fallacy.
“We already have a lot of trained people here. Unfortunately, we are not fully utilising them. We are not able to motivate them, and this has made them look elsewhere,” he told FMT Business in Sungai Buloh, alluding to the brain drain problem.
Teh said IR 4.0 (Fourth Industrial Revolution) is the way to go, and he gave an assurance that it would not result in job losses as feared by trade unions.
“Manufacturing companies will need their staff to become more highly-skilled. The quality of the workforce can be improved by getting employees to do more.
“(With better skills) they will also be better paid. This will also improve productivity, so the company can then make more money to pay them better,” he said.
He said Jebco is already implementing its IR 4.0 strategy, and this would be done in four phases.
The first phase, which has been launched, involves upgrading machinery with the latest highly automated equipment. Workers are being trained to operate the new machines.
“Rather than just pressing buttons, a worker will now be handling different controls. With automation, each worker will be able to handle up to 10 machines compared with only one in the same number of hours,” he said.
He noted that the government has given a fair amount of support to businesses to aim for IR 4.0.
However, he said, more can be done. “Entrepreneurs should not just depend on government support. We should have the initiative to improve ourselves.
“My dream for Jebco is to ultimately see the business run by modern machinery, like they do in advanced countries. This will help us improve productivity and revenue,” he said.
Teh drew on the examples from Japan, China and South Korea as nations that have achieved maximum productivity, efficiency and accuracy with a minimum workforce.