Malaysia's iron and steel industry has been urged to innovate and plan for the future, especially in times where it faces less than serious challenges than before, says Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Chua Tee Yong.
Chua said global businesses and value chains were beginning to embrace changes in business models in order to survive.
"We have always urged the industry to move up the value chain and produce higher grade materials or specialty steel to cater to the catalytic sectors – chemicals; electrical and electronics; machinery and equipment; medical devices; and, aerospace," he said at the Malaysian Iron and Steel Industry Trade Forum 2017 here today.
The half-day forum, themed 'The Status, Challenges and Opportunities for the Malaysian Iron and Steel Industry', and organised by Malaysian Iron and Steel Industry Federation (MISIF), aimed to update the stakeholders on the development and challenges in the local industry.
Chua said it was vital for local players to either consolidate to remain competitive and resilient to these industrial changes or to engage with strategic partners to have technology transfers and process improvements.
"Several policy adjustments and liberalisations are in place to provide certainty for all players in the manufacturing value chain – upstream, midstream and downstream as well as other users in the manufacturing sector that uses steel as their raw materials," he said.
He said MISIF, therefore, must assume a greater role in promoting better integration along the value chains to ensure that all players remained competitive and relevant in the industry.
Meanwhile, Chua also urged industry players to keep pace with the latest megatrends and technology advancements as well as the new business models emergence that could potentially disrupt traditional markets.
"The connectivity and smart integration can enable manufacturing systems to work by themselves and make improvements with less human involvement.
"Malaysia and all of its industry must be ready to adopt these megatrends, which will definitely improve cost efficiency and enhance productivity," he said.