Date Published: 05-08-2019
Industry 4.0 will cause a disruptive change in South Africa’s manufacturing industry. Industry 4.0 embraces mobile connectivity, artificial intelligence, Big Data, the Internet of Things, next generation robotics, additive manufacturing, blockchain software, wearable technologies and generic engineering. This current industrial change is driven by digital bi-directional integration at all levels.
When looking at South Africa’s global stand point for Industry 4.0 readiness, we are currently deemed as followers. Followers are viewed as having a limited manufacturing base and are underprepared for Industry 4.0 and are at risk for the future. South Africa’s manufacturing industry’s weaknesses are:
In order to tackle the many obstacles and challenges South Africa faces, corporate, government and educational institutions need to collaborate to adequately upskill the nation for the digital economy. The Fourth Industrial Revolution essentially creates opportunities to build ecosystems that promise technological advancements that can dramatically transform the country’s workforce. The skill set the South African workforce requires for the Fourth Industrial Revolution comprises of cognitive abilities, systems skills, complex problem-solving skills, content skills, process skills, resource management, technical skills and physical skills. The right skill set for Industry 4.0 becomes critical as it will alter the way some industries such as agriculture, healthcare and manufacturing do business.
In order to tackle the many obstacles and challenges South Africa faces, corporate, government and educational institutions need to collaborate to adequately upskill the nation for the digital economy.
Workers across all industries fear that the introduction of automation and artificial intelligence will take their jobs. However, the introduction of Industry 4.0 looks at enhancing job creation and skills development. It is important to note that the manner in which South Africa implements the Fourth Industrial Revolution cannot be done the same way Germany or China does. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is not about replacing jobs, but it is about unlocking Africa’s potential by augmenting jobs, making them safe and easier.