Building blocks to meet 4th Industrial Revolution challenges
Fourth Industrial Revolution

University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School and local training provider K-Pintar launch Leadership 4.0 in Malaysia


Some initial attempts to inject foreign expertise into the development of Malaysia’s capabilities when it comes to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (i4.0) are now in the pipeline, with keen eyes trained on manufacturers and the small-and medium-sized enterprises.

This area requires much work and attention. Among others, it includes investment in robotics and innovating learning.

Last week, University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School and a local training provider K-Pintar Sdn Bhd launched the Leadership 4.0, an executive education portfolio aimed at building the capabilities and skills needed to meet Malaysia’s ambitious plans for economic growth, as well as responding to the i4.0 challenges.

The initiative is supported by the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) of the Malaysian government, allowing local companies to tap into the human resources development levy that they are mandated to pay.

Saïd Business School director of custom executive education Dr Elaine Heslop said it will bring subject matter experts to Malaysia for a series of master classes on key themes.

“Malaysia is adopting an enlightened and proactive approach to dealing with emerging challenges of the i4.0, recognising the importance of life-long learning, and the value of innovative educational interventions that drive outstanding performance at the level of the individual, the business and the nation,” she said in a joint statement.

On their part, K-Pintar CEO RA Thiagaraja said they intend to harness Oxford Said’s “deep experience” in the areas of Industry 4.0, especially when it comes to strategy, futures, leadership, operational excellence and organisational design.

The Oxford Leadership 4.0 Programme is aimed at senior leaders in large corporations, multinational and international companies. It is intended to transform their understanding of the critical role that leadership plays at the individual, organisational and systemic levels in the context of i4.0 and the advent of “Industry 4.0”.

Work on i4.0 has been recognised as one of the six immediate priorities seen as game changers to significantly move the needle on productivity improvement. This was outlined in the Malaysia Productivity Blueprint, a document created to address productivity challenges holistically to boost economic growth.

The document noted that Malaysia needs to actively encourage companies to adopt i4.0 technologies across the main economic sectors, as it moves along the 11th Malaysia Plan spanning the period of 2016-2020.

The areas identified were the development of human capital, creating a dedicated pool of investment funds or align existing funds, driving i4.0 agenda nationally, setting up i4.0 centre of excellence to support industry adoption, and ensuring quality and coverage of digital infrastructure, especially broadband, to support i4.0.

Globally, reports note that manufacturers are already making investments, at varying degrees, to implement select i4.0 capabilities and technologies.

In its benchmarking discussions, global accounting firm KPMG found that the majority of organisations demonstrated only a low-to medium-level of maturity in key areas such as demand-driven supply chain, machine-to- machine (M2M) communication and digital twinning. However, they showed a somewhat better maturity in cloud, robotics, big data, cyber security and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

“This is good news. Experience and experimentation with i4.0 component capabilities is critical to driving adoption and identifying useful cases. The fact that most organisations are now investing into these technologies speaks of the growing maturity of the market and the disruptive impact that executives expect i4.0 to unleash, according to its report entitled ‘Beyond the hype: Separating ambition from reality in i4.0’.

“Dig a little deeper, however, and it quickly becomes clear that few have achieved a high level of maturity and an end-to-end holistic i4.0 environment. Investments in robotics, M2M, IoT and the like have been strong. But most are largely focused on solving a particular pain point for the organisation. Projects tend to be isolated, of limited scope and driven through functional silos. And, as a result, few have managed to translate their investments into enterprise-wide value.”