by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – NEW technologies are projected to grow the manufacturing sector and boost its contribution to the South African economy.
South Africa has positioned itself as a prime manufacturing hub on the continent, with its industrial manufacturing industry serving as a crucial multiplier of economic growth, an engine of development and a significant contributor to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
In 2022, the sector contributed 11,4 percent towards the overall GDP of R3 trillion (US$166 billion).
Around 1,5 million people work in industrial manufacturing locally.
There is a progression at a rapid pace within the sector.
“New technologies are changing the face of manufacturing,” said Vinesh Maharaj, PwC South Africa’s Smart Manufacturing Lead.
The executive noted that factories were becoming increasingly connected, as machines talk to one another and to humans, and automation reaches new milestones with robots becoming more independent.
“This has understandably left groups of employees jittery over 4IR’s impact on job security and changing roles,” Maharaj said.
PwC has released its thought leadership article, “Building avenues for tomorrow’s industrial manufacturing workforce, today.”
It explains disruptions within the sector as causing business leaders to pivot due to the rapid innovation of new digital technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
“Sustainability considerations are increasingly important, as companies seek to reduce their environmental footprint and improve their social impact,” said Marthle du Plessis, PwC Africa’s Workforce of the Future Platform Leader.
PwC believes developing green skills among employees is crucial to achieving these goals and creating a sustainable future.
“From an industry lens the global industrial manufacturing sector understands the importance of upskilling their employees on the importance of green skills (42 percent),” du Plessis said.
“However, South Africa has some way to go with only 24 percent seeing it as an important skill and with less confidence than other skills mentioned that employers will provide these skills.”
South Africa’s competitors are seen adopting fourth industrial revolution (4IR) technologies and developing their workforce.
PwC believes if the country’s industrial manufacturing sector fails to follow suit, it will continue to fall behind and deindustrialised.
Thus, leaders must invest in strategies which are more technology and sustainability focused in order to create a culture that will help them stay relevant, attract and retain employees, improve productivity and make an impact.
– CAJ News