Not too late for Vietnamese firms to join Industry 4.0

16:12 | 21/02/2018 Science - Technology

(VEN) - Enterprises need to change their business administration methods, apply software programs, and create added value based on quality if they are to catch up with the fourth industrial revolution, leading Vietnamese experts say.

not too late for vietnamese firms to join industry 40

A robotic automation workshop at the Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) in Ho Chi Minh City

Unemployment threat

Industry 4.0 provides new opportunities while posing many challenges. Associate Professor Dr. Tran Dinh Thien, Director of the Vietnam Institute of Economics (VIE), said industry 4.0 will affect and change most aspects of life in the world. Particularly, it will make a large number of workers in the automation industry redundant and unemployed.

The impact of digital technology is spreading to each enterprise. Thien said Vietnam is highly aware of the role of information technology (IT), the number of internet and smart phone users in the country has increased dramatically, and many enterprises are infused with high start-up spirit. However, Vietnam’s index of readiness for industry 4.0 is five points lower than the average in the ten ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states, the country’s human resources and infrastructure remain weak, and up to 66 percent of enterprises in Vietnam do not think they are capable of catching up with the fast-moving revolution, he said.

“Vietnam needs to reform institutions more strongly and improve business competitiveness through logistics improvement, education reform and digital human resources development. Businesses need cooperation to become stronger and defeat their rivals more easily,” Thien said.

Changing business methods

While many businesses, especially small to medium sized enterprises, haven’t known what to do with industry 4.0, many other businesses are taking their first steps to take advantage of the opportunities presented by this revolution.

About seven years ago, the FPT Group chose cloud computing technology and artificial intelligence as its future strategic breakthroughs, and the changes it has made have been highly rated by such world-leading groups as AT&T, Boeing, and Airbus.

FPT is currently comparable with major rivals from giant IT countries in terms of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. The group’s annual core technology revenues have grown 70-100 percent and are expected to reach US$1 billion.

Topica Edtech Group Founder and Chairman Pham Minh Tuan said many jobs in the education sector will be automated, however good teachers will stay and even have more development opportunities. Topica solutions allow learners to study wherever and whenever they can with mobile phone-based applications at low cost. Given that a smart phone can be bought for VND1 million, the number of young users is exploding and opening up opportunities for such businesses as Topica, Tuan said.

Dr. Nguyen Thien Tue, Rector of the Industrial University of Ho Chi Minh City (IUH), said the university has shifted to training human resources that the market needs. In 2016 and 2017, the university worked with 577 businesses and signed cooperation contracts with 278 companies including Nike, Pepsi, KFC, Samsung, and Mitsubishi, among others, to look for scholarships, apprenticeship facilities and jobs for graduates. Apart from updating training programs, the university has procured advanced equipment and technology for students’ use, while sending lecturers to short and long-term training courses abroad, the rector said.

A number of businesses in the textile and garment, leather and footwear, engineering, and power sectors have made breakthroughs in recent years in keeping with Industry 4.0. Power companies, for example, are allowing customers to pay electricity use charges online through banks and other partners.

Trading, service and real estate companies are taking cautious and appropriate steps in compliance with the market’s changing specifications. Dao Ngoc Thanh, General Director of the Viet Hung Urban Development and Investment Joint Stock Company (owner of Ecopark), said business growth is the core of Industry 4.0 and businesses need to be attentive to customers and especially marketing.

Enterprises should keep moving forwards in the context of the changing world around them. They should adopt global thinking, exploit strengths of localities, strengthen the domestic market, and pay attention to energy efficient and environmentally friendly technologies. Enterprises which have been unable to buy and apply modern technology and expand their production scale should apply management technology to minimize costs and improve product competitiveness, the experts advise.

Industry 4.0 has just started, and it is not late for Vietnamese enterprises to get on board.

Ngoc Thao & Thuy Duong