‘Awareness does not assure Smart technology adoption’
“Knowledge does not ensure the likelihood of businesses acquiring smart manufacturing technologies given the weak correlation between awareness and adoption.”
This is according to Dr. Anthony C. Sales, DOST-11 regional director who is also a member of the research team that conducted the study on the “Level of Awareness of Smart Manufacturing Technologies and its Nexus to Adoption among Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises in the Philippines.”
Awareness on the smart manufacturing (SM) technologies does not necessarily translate to technology adoption, based on the survey of 496 out of the 7,497 cooperators of the Department of Science and Technology’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (Setup), a government initiative that assists micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in upgrading technologies to improve operation and increase competitiveness.
The study further revealed medium-sized companies have a higher level of SM awareness and adoption than micro and small businesses. SM technologies are the advanced digital, intelligent, and connected systems that emerged from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which replaced the manufacturing sectors’ traditional technologies that has revolutionized the sector’s operations.
The research, which aims to identify how aware the Philippine MSMEs are in terms of SM technologies and their level of adopting these technologies, focused on the nine SM technologies, namely the Internet of things (IoT), cyber-physical systems (CPS), artificial intelligence (AI), radio frequency identification (RFID), robotics, big data analytics (BDA), cloud computing, 3D printing, and augmented reality (AR).
Among the nine SM technologies, cloud computing and 3D printing were the most important technologies that can explain the variability of awareness and adoption among MSMEs, based on the study.
“One of our recommendations is for DOST Setup 4.0 program to prioritize medium-sized companies, as they are more willing to provide more investments in adopting SM technologies – especially cloud computing and 3D printing,” Dr. Kenneth D. Barroga, also member of the research team, said.
The research team also believes government institutions should strengthen technological awareness through scaling up knowledge on 4th IR and SM knowledge-building activities in terms of facilitating national awareness programs, and developing informational materials to improve MSMEs’ awareness, value perception, and financial access to adopt new technologies.
Despite the numerous advantages of SM, MSMEs are still at the beginning of this transformation, as shown in a related global study conducted in over 25 countries, in which few MSMEs have fully implemented approaches towards the 4th IR, and the majority is in their development stage.
Earlier studies cited among the constraints that hinder MSMEs shift to SM technologies are knowledge, financial constraints, undeveloped capabilities among staff, and owner and employees’ awareness about the importance of the technology.
In the context of the Philippines, said barriers were also observed as characterized by a lack of knowledge and skills competencies, weak technology base, and poor infrastructure.
The good news, though, is that the research team already collaborated with the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) and proposed a specific framework for SM in the country, which policymakers can use to drive SM transformation and entice more MSMEs to embrace these emerging technologies to be at par with their competitors here and abroad.
The full discussion of this research appeared in the Philippine Journal of Science (Philippine Journal of Science Vol. 150 No. 6A, December 2021 Part A), the oldest peer-reviewed science journal in the country, published by the DOST and managed by the Science and Technology Information Institute.
For detailed information on the study, visit the link https://philjournalsci.dost.gov.ph/publication/regular-issues/past-issues/109-vol-150-no-6a-december-2021-part-a/1469-philippine-journal-of-science-vol-150-no-6a-december-2021-part-a. – Press release