Malaysia’s machinery & equipment sector urged to adopt digitisation

The country’s machinery and equipment (M&E) sector, which accounts for 85% of local SMEs, needs to adopt digital solutions to stay competitive.
By: | December 17, 2020

To help the M&E sector digitise, the M&E Productivity Nexus (MEPN), supported by Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC), was set up and led by industry associations under the Machinery and Engineering Industries Federation (MEIF). 

However, trying to persuade SMEs in the M&E sector to adopt digitisation has proved challenging as most of them view it as costly and complicated. 

“The M&E industry contributes over RM40 billion (US$9.9 billion) in exports yearly and we need to sustain that by first understanding the challenges faced by the industry players and change their mindset on what digitisation can do for them,” said MEIF advisor Mimi Aminah Mohd Taib. 

Another common barrier to SMEs’ adoption of digitisation was fear. “Most of them fear digitisation, with the impression that it is totally about robotics or artificial intelligence and that the costs are surely higher than the benefits. But the fact is that it does not always have to be large and expensive solutions. It can be as simple as gathering data for proactive action,” said MEIF advisor Yoong Kee Sin. 

The government has launched initiatives and programmes to help SMEs to digitise their businesses. However, these initiatives have not gained much traction due to SMEs’ perception of digitisation.  

To change such a perception, MEPN has rolled out 14 initiatives under four key pillars – talent and manpower; productivity and efficiency; SME empowerment; development – led by industry leaders and subject matter experts. 

READ: Malaysia aims for 25,000 SMEs to go digital in two years

Among the programmes and initiatives launched by MEPN and supported by MPC is Productivity1010 via Business Virtual Mentoring Services to help companies in developing individual digitisation roadmap. 

In addition, MEPN’s Virtual Advisory Clinic (MEVAC) is a one-to-one online consultation to support SMEs in rebuilding the business due to the impact of the pandemic.