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What The 4th Industrial Revolution Means For South Africa

The recent Manufacturing Indaba underscored the power of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) to revolutionalise SA’s 3.0 level industries. Benefits include increased productivity, enhanced quality of life, the opening of new markets and lower barriers to entrepreneurship. These will mitigate factors such as job losses and increased labour costs in order to keep SA’s manufacturing engine rooms running optimally.


Covered In This Article:

The Challenge
Rethinking The Chain
The Future Of Procurement

The Challenge

As SA’s affordable labour destination status has diminished, manufacturers need to embrace new technologies to keep their competitive edge. In order to transform business processes and supply chains, it is crucial to increase domestic manufacturing, reduce reliance on imports and participate in other African markets.

The challenges SA faces are offset by success stories. Examples include our automotive industry’s high contribution to our GDP and the significant employment rate in our textile industry. The growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is also encouraging.

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Rethinking The Chain

Industry 4.0 ushers in smart products, connected supply chains, knowledge transfer and reindustrialisation − integrating human abilities with intelligent machines, future-proofing SA’s workforce.

Fully automated smart factory solutions underpin the 4IR in manufacturing. eCommerce is the motor driving efficient business process for manufacturers, procurers, distributors and purchasers.

Artificial intelligence (AI) replaces repetitive manufacturing jobs and the increase in people overseeing this technology results in upskilling. Big data analysis eliminates downtime and prevents human error.

A 2022 Deloitte report highlights how prescient manufacturers have been able to leverage higher digital maturity achieved before the pandemic, resulting in higher agility compared with their competitors.

Manufacturing e-commerce is a blend of online, offline and non-linear touchpoints, bridging varied verticals and assets. An e-commerce website brings these together, giving buyers the info they need to navigate their purchasing process.

The benefits of digital purchasing extend to personalised portal content, ease of ordering customised products and a seamless checkout experience.

The result: higher profit margins, bolstered customer relationships, fortified brand representation, optimised pricing and discounting, and personalised value propositions.


The Future Of Procurement

The future of procurement lies in digital manufacturing. Here, the focus is on supply chain analytics and visualisation platforms, just-in-time manufacturing, industrial IoT (Internet of Things), product lifestyle management, intelligent asset management, advanced industrial robotics, digital twinning and virtual reality.

The role of the procurement manager has changed as a result of the pandemic and its cascade of supply chain disruptions, with manufacturers seeking leaner operation methods through digital processes and predictive analytics. The key is shorter fulfilment cycle times and increasingly localised suppliers.

Agile procurement managers are able to adjust to any situation. They use risk management to mitigate the dangers of supply disruption and ensure supply chain transparency.

The same dexterity in adapting to changing customer needs is fundamental in ensuring Astron Energy meets its client obligations. Deep-depth insights into market dynamics fuel Astron Energy’s customised solutions in securing customer operation continuity.

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