Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/African News Agency(ANA)

JOHANNESBURG  - The KwaZulu-Natal chapter of the annual Manufacturing Indaba, set for next month in Durban, will discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with innovative technology and how it can boost output quality, organisers said on Tuesday.

The August 14–15 conference will draw together African manufacturers looking to raise standards and increase the efficiency of their operations through sophisticated technology such as Internet of Things (IoT) Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) respectively.

Internet of Things refers to the interconnection, via the Internet, of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.

"Dynamic, tech-savvy industrialists are resourcefully making use of innovative technology solutions to achieve improved quality control and an efficient supply chain, consequently shifting the status quo of the sector," the KZN Manufacturing Indaba organisers said in a statement.

They said digitization, known as Industry 4.0 within the manufacturing sector, was considered the most profound and disruptive phenomenon in the world of business, and increased reliance on computers and automation had rendered industries both self-reliant and efficient.

"Recent findings have revealed that international manufacturing sectors are making record-high financial investments in IIoT technology," the organisers said.

"There is increasing emphasis on upskilling industrialists so that they are better equipped to employ such technologies to achieve more profitable outcomes. However, the challenge here lies in the fact that the greater part of African manufacturers lacks the necessary funding to engage in such innovative undertakings."

Solid collaboration between African governments and the private sector would make the process of adopting technology more accessible to a wider spectrum of industrialists across the continent, the conference organisers said.

The annual manufacturing forum and its provincial roadshows aims to focus on and boost the growth potential of key industry sectors such as automotive, construction, metals, forestry, paper and packaging, chemicals, aerospace and defence and to provide a platform for informative and interactive sessions.

- African News Agency (ANA)