Assessing the Awareness and Readiness of the Malaysian Furniture Industry for Industry 4.0

Jegatheswaran Ratnasingam, Lee Y. Yi, Amir Affan Abdul Azim, Rasmina Halis, Lim Choon Liat, Albert Khoo, Muhamad Muhaizi Mat Daud, Abdul Latib Senin, Hazirah Ab Latib, Maria Victoria Bueno, Marcin Zbiec, Josefina Garrido, Juanjo Ortega, María Victoria Gómez, Rokiah Hashim, Sarani Zakaria, Shahriman Zainal Abidin, Mohd Nor Zamri Mat Amin

Abstract


The lack of knowledgeable and skilled workers is a major challenge faced by the Malaysian furniture sector. It hinders industrial productivity and its ability to move up the value-chain by adopting high technology. Therefore, in order to assess the awareness and readiness of the Malaysian furniture industry for Industry 4.0, a questionnaire-based survey was conducted with a sample of 778 large-, medium-, and small-sized furniture manufacturers throughout Malaysia. This study is part of an on-going Erasmus+ program funded by the European Commission, initiated in 2018 to develop a university-level education program to train workers capable of handling Industry 4.0 technologies for the furniture and wood industry in Malaysia. The results revealed that manufacturers of wood-based panel and metal furniture were more prepared to adopt automation and Industry 4.0 technologies compared to solid-wood and leather furniture manufacturers. The benefits from Industry 4.0 technologies include increased production capacity, product diversity, cost competitiveness, and workforce reduction. Further, the results of this study suggest that the lack of knowledgeable and skilled workers to handle Industry 4.0 technology is a concern among furniture manufacturers, and possibly the proposed university-level Industry 4.0 program may be beneficial to train workers for the future of the industry.

Keywords


Automation; Furniture; Industry 4.0; Cost benefit; Productivity

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