New and emerging technologies and processes are changing economic norms; reshaping the ways in which firms manufacture products, the business models they adopt and how they continue to innovate going forward. Digital technologies are increasingly applied to, and integrated with, industrial manufacturing. This all changes the nature industry and challenges our traditional interpretation of what constitutes industrial development.
Collectively, we call these changes “Manufacturing 4.0” and, for countries across the Commonwealth, the adoption of Manufacturing 4.0 opens new opportunities to address developmental challenges in several areas. This includes skills development and employment, innovation, competitiveness, and inclusivity.
New technologies mean many new products, processes and solutions are becoming cheaper and more accessible for businesses across the Commonwealth, including in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
These advances create fresh opportunities to develop new and improved products, implement more efficient processes, and achieve more agile and resilient supply chains. They also highlight the need to address barriers and challenges which may hinder the effective adoption and use of these innovations, to ensure businesses across the Commonwealth remain competitive and private sectors are able to drive long-term, sustainable economic growth.
The Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda has developed this Guide to assist Commonwealth policymakers – especially those in LDCs and SIDS – in understanding the impact of Manufacturing 4.0; enabling them to develop policy environments to take advantage of new and emerging opportunities, and address potential barriers and challenges along the way.
It is my hope that policymakers across the Commonwealth find this Guide informative and useful in understanding and harnessing these new technologies and innovations to advance their digital industrial development.
Through our Connectivity Agenda, the Commonwealth Secretariat stands ready to help member countries further develop their knowledge of Manufacturing 4.0 and assist them in implementing digital industrial policies.
The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, Commonwealth Secretary-General