Sunday, 23 January, 2022

Rethinking SME Digitization in Bangladesh (part-I)

Md. Kafi Khan

Rethinking SME Digitization in Bangladesh (part-I)
Md. Kafi Khan

Popular News

There is massive necessity of digitization for improving efficiency and productivity in Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). It is also observed that the rate of SMEs has increased significantly. This was entirely due to the advent of Digital Technology. In this way, both product and the process become more automated in digitalization, resulting in increased quality and demand. Considering the high scope for higher development, Bangladeshi SME sector still has much space for new digital technologies to be integrated. In fact, the main scenario of SMEs in Bangladesh has manifold benefit in GDP.

In many ways, the Covid-19 epidemic has been economically damaging. Global supply chains have been made significantly vulnerable because government agencies restrict both importation and exportation to combat the infection. Delays in resuming work have drastically decreased firms’ production capability; whereas fixed expenses like wage and rental had also remained consistent, resulting in severe financial problems. The falling prices due to the pandemic have put extreme stress on service providers such as food service, hospitality, and tourist industry related to the activities such as cultural identity. The Covid-19 epidemic is predicted to affect long-term destruction and a profound impact on global growth.

Covid-19 epidemic indicates that emerging technology plays a critical role in crisis management. It has been observed and demonstrated the importance of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud Computing, and other emerging technologies in pandemic detection, virus tracking, treatment methods, and job reestablishment. For instance, big data technology may significantly aid in the monitoring and search of pandemics in real-time. Workers can operate remotely and flexibly with the implementation of digital software.

It is no more sufficient to produce quicker, cheaper, and better quality than challengers defending the competitiveness obtained. To maintain the current profitable opportunities of SMEs in the coming decades, the business sector must implement new systems of creative and "digital" economic development. Bangladesh Government deserves thanks for holistic approach and initiatives taken for the digitization across the country to get the competitive advantage at the market place in Asia and globally.

The digitization of SMEs should cover the entire manufacturing and supplier chain and not just the operational manufacturing process of goods and the related process management, as in past industrial revolutions. SME digitalization must help overcome global challenges such as sustainability, resource, and energy conservation and improve productivity. Sharing of data throughout the manufacturing phase promotes efficiency for all people involved. More personalized features for the customer and more versatility, openness, and globalization for the supply chain are obtained. In particular, the return to individuality by the fourth industrial revolution should then be accomplished.

Consequently, it must be possible to react quickly and efficiently to customer needs and generate the latest version at smaller batch sizes. Industry 4.0 (Fourth Industrial Revolution-4IR)  intends to incorporate increasingly effective and efficient production processes, which are generally recognized from large-scale production, and in an industrial setting, where goods are manufactured by person and customer-specific methods. Mass customization means the manufacture of customized goods at a cost equivalent to mass products. A production based on the Industry 4.0 concept provides a framework for replacing conventional systems, focused on centralized decision-making processes and strict limitations in specific value-added measures. SME frameworks are replaced with versatile, reconfigurable production and distribution systems that provide responsive and collaboration strategies for making decisions.

Even though Digital transformation provides a wonderful opportunity for employers to overcome the limitations, various conditions are also available in availability, connectivity and affordability. Enabling various factors to facilitate the adoption of digital transformation through the internet, mobile phones, digital skills are much intractable for entrepreneurial. The orientation of the doing industry has moved as an outcome of the digital revolution. The entire process from manufactured goods to production to distribution has been transformed; this statement has caused a great deal of excitement and created a severe transformation.

SMEs significantly contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). While SMEs are the pillar of the Bangladesh economy, different studies prevail these companies face challenges arising from outdated practices and the absence of digital influence. Furthermore, a competitive environment, demanding consumers, and tight financial support also create more problems. SME digitization will also go a big step towards overcoming these problems and helping small companies to attract more consumers and make higher profits than before. If SMEs want to succeed, they should implement the latest technologies and methods to encourage workforce productivity, reduce human faults, and calculate growth parameters in a very concise form. Study also suggests that SMEs can go digital immediately as internet facility explores very faster pace. A digital start making can also enable SMEs to expand quickly internationally, despite huge investment.

SMEs have an attractive chance to invest in innovative technology to accommodate their requirements and try new cross-border markets. Although SMEs are considered less wealthy than big companies and multinational companies, they contribute to many economic aspects. SMEs are the avant-garde of the current economy. Some SMEs do have a positive attitude to creativity, product, market growth, and a pool of talent for new technologies. With better funding sources comparable to start-ups and improved emerging capacity than multinational corporations with established inventory.

The Government and Central Bank of Bangladesh have taken significant initiatives and efforts to improve jobs, skills growth, and entrepreneurs to promote the increasing necessity of emerging technologies.

Advantages of going digital

Customer Acquisition: Going digital banking ensures and can meet consumers in any country for increased exposure and interact with your potential customers. Customer relations can be more easily handled, and the various resources provide with customer knowledge. This allows selling your goods better and developing advertising strategies. Technical Performance: As a digitalized SME, technology can automate the core functions, thus increase performance. This will enable to utilize resources and provide with more influence over logistics, Workforce Enablement: Using digital resources, it will enable to recognize areas that need professional development and workforce gaps. It would be simple to monitor employee performance, train them, and educate them; Managing Risk: By digital transformation, it will safeguard the company’s confidential data and financial records with the help of security tools. Additionally, it will keep a keen eye on property resources and strengthen logistics by using automated monitoring; Increase Efficiency: The use of digital concept will enable workers to work more quickly and effectively. They can also operate remotely and at any time to respond promptly to a business emergency; Innovation: By implementing digital tools, clients can enhance the business’s metric analysis. Metrics such as internet traffic, operation metrics such as sales and acquisitions, information metrics such as customer insights, and people metrics such as employee job satisfaction can all be used to enhance various facets of the organization quickly; Cost Savings: Digitization enables cost savings by computerizing core processes and streamlining operations. Additionally, it can conduct business in any country in the region without incurring any advertisement costs. Reduced Human Resources Requirements: As digital platforms automate most business operations, the use of workers will decrease. There will be fewer opportunities for user mistakes, and surveillance will be reduced.


The writer is the Company Secretary, City Bank Limited