Penang government lauds Western Digital Lighthouse award
By Digital News Asia October 11, 2021
- Penang to hold a catalytic role in the 4IR transformation process
- WD gained costs, inventory and labour productivity improvement
The chief minister of Penang Chow Kon Yeow has congratulated Western Digital for its achievement in being admitted into the prestigious Global Lighthouse Network (GLN) by The World Economic Forum (WEF).
With nearly half a century of industrial experience, Penang has successfully cultivated a strong industrial ecosystem and has been recognised as an advanced manufacturing hub in the region, Invest Penang and Western Digital (WD) said in a joint statement.
“The significant advancements in technology have enabled businesses to be placed at new heights with solutions that not only boost productivity but also ensure sustainability.
“The recognition of Western Digital as one of the Lighthouses is a great testament that serves as a yardstick for future-proof strategies,” said Chow.
Chow said Penang is on its journey to a new age of manufacturing where Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics are becoming the key components in the production chain.
Western Digital’s principle and practice are also in tandem with my Penang2030 vision of Family-Friendly Green and Smart State to Inspire the Nation, Chow added.
The World Economic Forum Global Lighthouse Network recognises production sites and value chains that are world leaders in the adoption and integration of the cutting-edge technologies of the 4IR, the statement said.
Western Digital Batu Kawan is one of the 90 sites globally to be recognized by the World Economic Forum as a global leading Industry 4.0 smart manufacturing facility, it added.
“The ‘lights out’ automation process in our Batu Kawan factory was a leading factor which conferred us admission into the prestigious Global Lighthouse Network.
“Our team sought to automate operation with the use of advanced analytics and application of proprietary artificial intelligent solutions to enable a lights-out manufacturing operation.
“We were successful with the automation of production and logistics to deliver 32% factory cost improvement, reducing product inventory and order lead time by 50% as well as 360% increase in labour productivity,” said Viswanath Ramaswamy (pic), vice president of global flash back-end operations and Sandisk Storage Malaysia site general manager at Western Digital.
Lee Kah Choon, special investment advisor to the Penang chief minister of Penang said people are always its greatest asset.
He noted that in 2019 – 2020, Penang garnered RM31bil (US$7.3bil) of approved manufacturing investments, of which 88% were contributed by electrical and electronics (E&E), machinery and equipment (M&E) and medtech industries.
“Penang’s growing significance in these areas is poised to further enhance local workforce that can be empowered to support 4IR transformation.
“Toward this end, we look forward to working closely with the industry players like Western Digital who have their own high calibre Industrial IoT Academy program, to further shape and hone talent development in the state,” he said.
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