RIYADH: Small and medium enterprises in Saudi Arabia are poised to lead the industrial sector into a new era driven by advanced digital technologies, as outlined by the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the Kingdom.
A report from the think tank underscored the pivotal role SMEs play in the sector and highlights key initiatives currently fostering digital transformation.
It noted how cutting-edge digital technologies are revolutionizing advanced manufacturing, facilitating connectivity, automation, and artificial intelligence, which, in turn, are boosting production efficiency, productivity, and business resilience.
Moreover, the report shed light on the Kingdom’s Future Factories program, dedicated to adopting the best global practices of the fourth industrial revolution, as a major driver behind the sector’s digital transformation.
It also recognized the Knowledge-based Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Network program and the National Productivity program as game-changing strategies currently in place.
Co-authored by the Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, the World Economic Forum, and Arthur D. Little, it emphasized that SMEs, which operate with constrained resources, require targeted support to develop.
“The digital transformation of SMEs is crucial for the economic growth and competitiveness of Saudi Arabia,” Al-Badr Foudeh, Saudi deputy minister for industrial development at the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, said.
He also commended the report for providing insights and recommendations on how to leverage fourth industrial revolution technologies.
“SMEs play a vital role in the national economy, and it is crucial that they are empowered to adopt and benefit from digital technologies,” Basma Al-Buhairan, managing director of C4IR KSA, said.
The report further highlighted that SMEs should receive significant support as their impact is as critical as larger enterprises.
“Digital technology is fundamentally altering the way industries operate, and SMEs should not be left behind. By embracing key enablers such as creating a skilled workforce, increasing access to finance, and upgrading infrastructure, SMEs can overcome challenges and reap the benefits of the digital revolution,” Amer Chahine, senior principal at Arthur D. Little, Middle East, explained.