The garment sector should digitise and automate to improve productivity and boost production, while reskilling and upskilling its workforce, said Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) executive committee member John Cha on Sunday.
Speaking at the 3rd National Conference on Productivity, which was held at the Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Centre, Cha said that as the global and local economies move into Industry 4.0, the Kingdom’s garment and textile sector must catch up and improve its productivity and competitiveness.
“In the age of Industry 4.0, we are seeing an accelerated pace of automation and digitisation within and across our industries. In the apparel industry, for example, automated machines are increasingly being used in our processes.
“Cambodia must embrace the process of digitisation and automation to transform our workplace and workforce. We must quicken the pace of automation, the reskilling and upskilling of our workforce, supervision and factory management,” said Cha.
From designing, pattern making, cutting, printing and embroidery, to sewing and assembly, he said, the process of digitisation and automation involves various types of stand-alone machines, as well as integrated line systems that enable faster and more precise output, thus saving time and cost and improving quality.
“[Digitisation and automation] help shrink the communication distance between production and the market place. In many instances, it is real-time.
“The wide range of automated machines and production systems available in the market will bring about higher productivity and better quality of output.
“Many among us have invested in automation and technology, and have benefitted. Moving forward, we hope that this pace of investment will be faster and more intense.
“We hope that the Royal Government of Cambodia can help through incentives such as reinvestment tax allowance for the acquisition of such machines as well as the technical training that goes with them,” he said.
Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training secretary of state Pich Sophoan noted that while technology and artificial intelligence are rapidly developing, they leave a negative impact in the workforce – costing many people their jobs.
“The fast development of the technology – especially in the adoption of Industry 4.0 in the industry sector – is creating new jobs for the people, increasing productivity.
“Also, it also creates a good opportunity for a developing country like Cambodia to leapfrog in its development,” Sophoan said.
He said the government rolled out its Industrial Development Policy 2015-2025 to scale up the industry sector’s technology and improve skilled labour in response to Industry 4.0 and achieve its ambitious plan to become an upper-middle-income country by 2030 and high-income country by 2050.
GMAC members currently operate more than 500 factories and employ more than 700,000 workers.