Glocalisation: Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Global Value Chains

  • 10:00-10:10 Welcome Address

  • 10:10-11:00 The Keynote Panel: A trillion-dollar question: in an age of digital restoration, how can leaders repurpose our economies to deal with a post-covid world?

    Despite the fear of the unknown, the pandemic and its subsequent economic challenges present a defining moment. Businesses have the opportunity to emerge stronger and forge deeper relationships with customers, partners, and build companies that are better adapted to tomorrow’s world. The COVID-19 outbreak is unlike any previous crisis and traditional crisis-response approaches are not fit for purpose. As business leaders are thrust into situations requiring swift and effective action to ensure the survival of their organisations,
    many are left questioning whether their industries will be able to adapt to the new reality.
    What can CEOs anticipate in the post-coronavirus world? With the accelerated adoption of digital commerce as a result of the pandemic, will consumers return to traditional retail behavioural patterns, or will the migration to digital fundamentally reshape the global economy?

    • In what is being termed ‘the great retooling’ (changing the infrastructure of a business),
      how can leading executives revamp their customer propositions and organisations for the long-term?
    • What does the contingency plan for production look like in a pandemic situation, and how are companies planning for the future?
    • How will supply chains operate and with what new safeguards? Will travel patterns change in a way that affects businesses? What will be the future role of physical factories and other traditional forms of industrial manufacturing?
    • What will business strategies look like in the future? Are we expecting new definitions for resilience, sustainability, agility and risks?
    • With a new principle of power potentially in the making, what are the indicators of economic strength that will allow countries and businesses to lead in the new landscape?
  • 11:00- 11:45 4IR for a more resilient manufacturing sector?

    The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of global supply chains to unprecedented shocks. Attention is being placed on the need for global businesses to accelerate their digital transformation and adopt smarter and risk-adjusted business models.
    As we progressively reduce physical interaction – be it customer-facing or across operations, automation and digitalisation have become vital for businesses to ensure survival.
    Fortunately, new technologies are emerging that improve visibility across the supply chain and thus support a company’s resilience to such shocks.

    • What are some of the challenges currently facing the manufacturing sector? Which specific industries face a complicated transition to digitalisation, and how can this be tackled?
    • Which companies are leading across respective industries with digital transformation, and why? And what lessons can be learned?
    • What does business resilience mean in the context of developing countries? And what strategies are
      they deploying to support their manufacturing sector to cope with the global disruption created by the pandemic?
  • 11:45-12:30 Glocalisation: from global to local?

    More than two thirds of world trade occur through Global Value Chains (GVCs) where production crosses borders before making it to final assembly lines. Digital developments are transforming these GVCs by creating a new digital thread, allowing for advanced systems of traceability and improved logistics and planning. Moreover, 4IR and its technological advancements have the potential to overcome the physical barriers imposed by the pandemic to give societies the digital freedom to achieve economic and social prosperity.

    • Given the unprecedented ongoing pandemic, will trading consolidate into digital marketplaces?
    • How is digitalisation altering specific steps in the value chain, and even optimising the makeup of the chain itself?
    • The online marketplace is seeing vibrant innovation in many specific areas; how can these unique solutions be integrated to help create an end-to-end digital value chain that fosters unparalleled business opportunities on a global scale?
    • Will future GVC’s be built around supply chain flexibility as opposed to supply chain efficiency?
    • Will GVC’s revolve around countries with younger populations?
    • What effects will the recession have on supply-chain resilience? As countries today begin to hoard supplies, what impact does this have on global trade?
  • 12:30-13:15 The Policymakers’ Challenge: mitigating the risk of a potential recession

    The biggest fear today, with the ongoing developments of COVID-19, is the impact on the global economy and the uncertainty as to when the world will reopen for business. Largescale quarantines, travel restrictions, and social-distancing measures have driven a sharp fall in consumer and business spending, with all indications that the global economy is barrelling towards a severe recession. Furthermore, COVID-19 has brought economic inequalities to the fore, including those around gender. Women are not only paid less than men, but they make up 75% of global healthcare workers. Without a return to normality on the horizon, and as business conditions worsen leading to higher unemployment and a stall in
    production, a recession will prolong the global slump.

    • What will this mean for the manufacturing sector? And when can we expect the projection of the world recovery to begin?
    • The US announced a $2 trillion economic stimulus package. Will manufacturers, tech companies and start-ups benefit?
    • Will the crisis have a long-term impact on our travel habits? What will be the implications for related industries, such as aviation?
    • How can women’s voices be better reflected at the decision-making table?
    • What policies do governments need to adopt in their countries to harness 4IR technology in manufacturing? How will robotics, big data and the internet of things impact workers around the world?
  • 13:15-14:15 Break & Networking

    Sponsors can host virtual chat rooms with specific themes. This would be open to attendees for Q&A, and an opportunity to engage with speakers, partners etc.

  • 14:15-15:00 Panel Discussion: Rise of the machines: robots in a post-pandemic world

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, there is growing concern about technology’s impact on the future of work, as this could accelerate the perceived “rise of the
    robots” and the threat to employment. Given that most factory floors are currently shutdown, we will likely see a spike in automation and introduction of new business models, meaning some of the jobs lost during the pandemic may never return as companies
    restructure their operations to rely more on machines. The industries where the workforce is most likely to be affected is food and beverage, transportation and manufacturing. However, even big tech companies realise that heavily automated industries still rely on humans for essential tasks, and we may still be far away from revamping factories
    to adopt full automation. Even during the current crisis, where the need for automation has become more apparent, economiesstill falter without human workers, as machines still lack
    human intelligence and adaptability. What is important for the workforce is to leverage the educational strategies and policies which are required to keep up with the fast-changing
    employment needs of the industrial sector. Educational systems need to change towards new curricula and new means of delivery with the goal of improved quality of education
    (SDG4). Related issues include the following:

    • How are industries responding to the growing need to upskilling and reskilling the workforce with the intention of adopting 4IR technologies?
    • What educational reforms are required to align education systems with the needs of the advanced manufacturing sector in light of the disruption associated with the adoption of 4IR technologies?
    • What are strategies for 4IR technology adoption in the context of an ageing workforce and migration?
    • Automation will spur the growth of new jobs and job categories; how can this job transformation positively affect the workforce of the future? How will the model of employment change?
  • 15:00-15:45 Pushing the limits in the healthcare, telecoms and education sectors: bent, but not broken?

    As the virus spreads across continents and affects vital industries including healthcare, education and telecommunications, companies within these sectors are facing new realities
    that go beyond addressing the virus itself. The healthcare industry is recognising the importance of technology in accelerating scientific research on sustainable solutions for
    future emergence of pathogens, drug development and more, by leveraging big and realtime data to guide operational decisions.
    Likewise, the sudden shift of the global workforce entering remote work is driving unprecedented demand on telecommunications infrastructure and connectivity. Cancelled domestic and global business travel further strains the networks with increased reliance on virtual meetings and mobile communications.
    However there lies an opportunity to accelerate the adoption of technologies and leverage
    them to drive production during these challenging times, when labour is for the most part,unavailable. We are witnessing a radical shift in traditional business models, where most companies have reimagined the ‘office’ workspace through virtual conferencing tools.

    • How are specific technologies like blockchain and AR being used to support the healthcare sector?
    • Are public networks operated by telecommunications service providers geared to
      the infrastructural needs of industrial users? What steps are needed to ensure the continued provision of critical infrastructure?
    • Rethinking behavioural protocols: what new rules and behaviours need to be adopted to cope with remote lifestyles to successfully run a business?
    • How can mobile solutions and local data networks support developing countries through the economic recovery?
    • Creating new norms and educating employees: how are companies ensuring a company culture is built virtually? How do they tackle issues of transparency and engagement from leadership to team members?
  • 15:45-16:30 Standardisation: what rules need to be adapted during COVID-19 on digital standardisation?

    The vast variety of 4IR technologies make it difficult for companies to choose technologies relevant for them. It is argued that standardisation of these technologies could help
    companies decide which ones are useful. This session will review the current trends in absorbing digital technology worldwide and evaluate the opportunities for a systematisation of such technologies through international institutions to create
    transparency and standards. Furthermore, with the outbreak of COVID-19, policymakers need to act quickly to strategically formulate a relevant set of standards as there is a greater shift towards digital usage.

    • Why is it important to have internationally recognised standards for 4IR technologies and how can they be applied in manufacturing?
    • Can the great variety of digital technological solutions be adequately categorised and standardised? How does the international standardisation landscape look like?
    • How far have the national and international standards bodies, research institutions and the relevant political ministries reached?
    • How can the multitude of international bodies relevant to 4IR standardisation work together to achieve international standardisation of 4IR technologies?
    • What are the regulatory challenges affecting the dissemination and application of international standards during COVID-19?
  • 16:30-17:15 Restoring prosperity in a post-pandemic world

    Innovation, creativity and necessity remain the driving forces behind the advancement of humanity and the acceleration of global good. The spike in current demand for E-learning,
    due to COVID-19, is encouraging new waves of education systems that are increasingly innovative, inclusive and sustainable. While digitisation offers opportunities to bridge the
    educational gap by providing cheaper and more accessible ways to learn, the current pandemic has exposed the existing digital divide between developed and developing countries. Whereby, the least developed countries (LDCs) remain the most vulnerable to the human and economic impact endured from a crisis.

    • How can 4IR technology achieve prosperity for populations in less developed countries that are affected by the pandemic?
    • How can the international community provide support and what tools are needed for this to happen?
    • What are the challenges and how can these be overcome?
    • How can we bridge the digital gap to enable access to e-learning in developing countries?
    • What does this mean for women? And, what are the challenges in educating women in developing countries?
  • 17:15-18:00 Energies of the future: the time for clean energy is now

    The coronavirus crisis gripping the global economy has forced clean energy efforts to
    significantly slow down, as the pandemic is undermining the importance to combat climate
    change. Furthermore, oil prices have considerably dropped affecting the global movement
    towards adopting renewable energy. The manufacturing industry faces challenges in reducing carbon emissions from energy-intensive sectors such as aviation, shipping, trucking and heavy industry. Decarbonizing these sectors with today’s innovative technology is both
    doable and affordable and as governments devise economic stimulus packages, it is important to encourage efforts to drive climate action and invest in low-carbon to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, so as not to compromise clean energy transitions.
    Despite the current global crisis, many countries have commitments to move towards a carbon-neutral future and have significant reduction plans in place.

    • Will these carbon reduction plans continue or change in the post-pandemic period? Can COVID-19 be deemed a warning of what is to come if we continue to delay concrete action on climate change?
    • How can the 4IR technologies help ensure sustainable practices are maintained going forward?
    • How can countries work towards cleaner energy given the disruption of the global supply chain?
    • What are the lessons learnt from COVID-19 that can be used to mitigate greater risks
      from natural disasters that can take the world by surprise? How can we learn from the virus outbreak to accelerate global action against climate change? And, how could the energy sector facilitate?

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