Is Vietnam’s workforce ready for Industry 4.0 era?

15:00 | 08/04/2017 Society

(VEN) - Isara Burintramart, Managing Director of Thailand’s Reed Tradex Company Limited, believes the industrial workforce is one of the factors making Vietnam a destination of great potential to foreign investors.  

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He spoke at a recent press conference in Hanoi on Vietnamese industrial manufacturers’ approach to Industry 4.0, the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies.

Isara Burintramart provided data from PricewaterhouseCoopers showing that companies worldwide want to invest five percent of their annual revenues in so-called “smart industry” and they expect Industry 4.0 projects will help them reduce operating costs by 3.6 percent and increase efficiency by 4.1 percent annually.

So how can businesses become leading manufacturers in the Industry 4.0 era? Isara Burintramart believes human resources will be a key driver in this process, along with government support, data analytics and management. Through the large numbers of Vietnamese participants in exhibitions and workshops on support industries held by Reed Tradex, he found that Vietnamese manufacturers have a thirst for learning new skills to develop further.

To underscore the potential of the Vietnamese industrial workforce, Isara Burintramart said that according to We Are Social, a global agency providing statistics on digitalization worldwide, Vietnam had a total of 50.05 million internet users in 2016, equivalent to 53 percent of its population, a rise of six percent compared with 2015. The number of people using social media and mobile social networks has also grown 31 percent and 41 percent, respectively. These statistics, he believes, indicate that Vietnam’s workforce is ready to learn and step into the Industry 4.0 era.

However, Vietnam Association of Mechanical Industry President Nguyen Van Thu was not as optimistic about the readiness of the domestic engineering workforce for the Fourth Industrial Revolution with its new physical, digital and biological technologies. In his view, the human resources of the Vietnamese engineering sector remain weak in design and creativity, a considerable hurdle given that engineering plays an important role in the development of support industries.

Contributions of the engineering sector are crucial to the success of an industrial revolution, helping create high technologies which can be applied in both production and people’s lives. Therefore, Nguyen Van Thu believes that to have a feasible engineering industry development policy in the era of Industry 4.0, Vietnam needs to take various measures simultaneously.

Specifically, it should decentralize the approval of state-funded projects designed to build new mechanical manufacturing facilities and upgrade existing ones. The equitization (partial privatization) of state-owned engineering businesses should be accelerated. Engineering businesses should be encouraged to invest in new technologies to create quality products at reasonable costs to substitute for imported products. And, last but not least, businesses should be encouraged to pay greater attention to human resources training.