Chee-Peng Tan, Founder & CEO, Team SYNthesis (Mauritius & Africa) Ltd talks to Investor’s Mag on the new industrial revolution with the emergence of Industry 5.0, in the wake of the disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic. A new Industrial Revolution which could provide a paradigm shift towards a more inclusive digital society, according to him.
Featured in Investor’s Mag, 19th Edition, Dec 21 – March 22
Preceding each Industrial Revolution, you say there was a big event, and you considered Covid-19 to be one of them. Are we witnessing the end of industry 4.0?
We are indeed witnessing the heralding of Industry 5.0 fuelled by the global pandemic mega-event making life perilously imperfect, fraught with risks and challenging to the core. When our mettle is tested, we need to have a measured and calculated human-centric response.
Industry 4.0, with its digital-physical-biological focus (CPS: cyber physical system) has brought combinatorial changes, benefits and challenges, putting machines in the middle of everything. On the other hand, Industry 5.0 – also known as CCPS i.e. Cognitive CPS – is putting human at the start, middle and end of everything. Hence, Industry 5.0, being the cognitive Industry 4.0, will continue to thrive as we reimagine, rethink and embrace an innovative sustainable development approach on Industry 4.0 initiatives as we hurtle towards 2025 Tipping Point Readiness.
What are the main differences between Industry 4.0 (i40/4IR) and Industry 5.0 (i50/5IR)? Why has industry 4.0 not lasted longer?
The main difference lies with the machine-human conundrum. Make no mistake, the exponential changes over exponential times with combinatorial impacts introduced by i40 digitalization across all industries have pushed productivity improvement to an unimaginable level (minimum 60%) which indubitably represents a solid business case. Such forbidden fruit and holy grail desires will never subside. Unfortunately, unless we get the balance between RPA/IPA (Robotic Process Automation/Intelligent Process Automation) and upskilled human competency right, the change adoption will greatly skew away from successful outcomes. For example, a much oft-quoted argument is the resultant new Digital Business Model supporting a new Target Operating Model (TOM) as a result of i40 initiatives. Human change adaptation lag times will determine the speed of business benefits realisation. Imagine we now repeat the business changes exponentially (time/change quantum). The way out is obvious for the i50 early adopters; push for Collaboration 5.0 (the optimal symbiosis between non-value-add robotics activities and cognitive-based human activities). This COBOT approach will certainly yield greater mass personalisation with whalely Total Experience (Tx: customer, user, employee and multi experiences).
What qualities should a business leader have to operate in this pandemic world?
Leadership 5.0 with GROWTH Mindset 5.0. To survive, we need to keep moving, develop a sense of pride, cherish the ruthless enthusiasm and live in the moment! We noticed companies that are beginning to regain momentum (albeit some experienced start/stop journey due to multiple lockdowns), their leaders have been dealers of hope and inspire all to be at their very best in these darkest moments. Leaders need to measure themselves by the size of their heart as the will to succeed is indeed the line in the sand. Collective Future, Adaptive and Authentic leaderships help in this transformation journey.
Will Industry 5.0 be the most competitive of all the industrial revolutions (IRs) we’ve seen so far?
Every IR brings its own set of pros and cons and is definitely incomparable. However, the timing and occurrence of the global pandemic have unprecedented impact, certainly has changed the humanity landscape and redefined the survival narrative. More than ever, we are asked to step up, imagine better and make the moments matter. The i50’s two-prong Resilience/Sustainability focus will undoubtedly make it the most defining IR as it demands survival of the fastest among the fittest. Its human-centricity orientation, and human technologies propagation augur well for a more inclusive digital society that believes in value, compassion and might with mercy. For all these to happen, we must store our dreams in our hearts so that each heartbeat will inspire us to make them come true.
You say that Africa and also Mauritius are still locked in Industry 2.5 (i2.5). What is this i2.5? And, how can we catch up?
i2.5 is just a metaphor primarily to highlight that the level of automation hasn’t even reached i3.0 level where its digital revolution heralds IT system automation. The lack of automation in the majority of SMEs/SMIs is very telling. The recent involuntarily imposed Work From Home exemplifies even for LLCs the non-readiness, coupled with insufficiency of IT infrastructure investment, of basic laptops/PCs/communications connectivity to support ongoing operations. A wholesale upskilling program must be made persuasively compulsory. Other more advanced economies have in place SMART Industry Readiness Index (SIRI) accompanied by policy-driven upskilling programs and massive funding. Singapore has never focused on the industries it cannot excel in. Mauritius and Africa should start focusing on areas where they can become world leaders and programme-manage such initiatives to fruition. Selectively, it is easier to revolutionise to the next level of excellence.
Team SYNthesis (TS) is working with African business leaders to unlock the opportunities of the 5thIndustrial Revolution (5IR). How is this being done concretely?
Our MNC/LLC clients have a rolling 3-year Business Plans, which are supported by the essential digitalization plans (aligned to 4IR until recently and now re-adapted to 5IR). Such plans are updated and re-prioritised quarterly which greatly allows the opportunity to incorporate newly emerging human technologies to promote resilience and sustainability. Specifically, TS value-adds in the Strategy 5.0 formulation but more importantly in the benefits realization of such strategies by training their leaders to be Leaders 5.0, ensuring the implementation processes are supported by Process 5.0 approach and monitored/controlled via a world-class PMIS 5.0 tool that promotes green project management.