Why embracing 4th industrial revolution is wrong hotcake for Pakistan’s SME’s?

Technological advancements related to 4th industrial revolution has become a talk of the town these days. Although, it is a need of the time for the big players globally to pave a path for embracing these concepts by practical embedding them into their mega corporations. But when it comes to the small to medium enterprises of Pakistan, ambiguity comes into play in terms of understanding the basic differences between nominal norms ranging from how to measure productivity to ensuring the vital growth a as result of identifying the operations bottlenecks.

History gives a gentle reminder, of similar syndrome, the time when even some folklore in American industry used to call then relation between productivity and quality incompatible. They were of the view, quality suffers when production is increased in numbers. It has been noted that on 23 March 1980, Dr. Yoshika’s Tsuda of Rikkyo wrote a letter to More Deming that Western industry seem to be prone towards quality to a level where visible figures may shed doubt about the economic benefit of further improvement. In contrast, Japanese tend to improve the processes without regard to figures, eventually increasing productivity and capturing the market. Therefore, one chain reaction was on the back of every meeting with top management in japan from July 1950 onwards;

Similarly, in 1977 Feigenbaum noted that 15-40% of manufacturers cost of almost any American product contains waste embedded in it-waste of human effort, waste of machine time etc. Likewise many editorials once attributed the lag in American industry productivity to the unavailability of NEW GADGETS & MACHINERY. Even though emphasis was built on engaging new automation techniques, Deming summarized the whole concept in one saying;

“If I were a banker, I would not lend any money for the new equipment unless the company that asked for the loan could not demonstrate by statistical evidence that they are using their present equipment to reasonably full capacity”

In the light discussing above, it is imperative to advocate the necessity for having right management attitude in place rather than new gadgets in factory. Taking into an account the lack of awareness regarding management principles and continuous improvement methodology, need of the time is to tune the basic bottom-line existing variables (processes) to perform at their optimal capacity.

 In one of my recent engagement with the automobile parts manufacturing company, I was astonished to witness the humongous waste being crated in overall value stream of factory but management was prone to inducting new technology. No new technology will capture a market share for the company unless good management practices are put in place, in the light of which existing system can be revamped to perform to their utmost capability before swinging to the 4th industrial revolution norms.

In a nutshell, it would not be wise for Pakistan’s SME’s to put the eggs in the basket of unforeseen revolution terminologies. In order to compete at the global busies s market, we need to understand and deploy the proven frameworks for streamlining our existing value stream by trying to minimize the special cause variation from the process.


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