With the right blend of tech and human-oriented sustainability mindsets, organizations may not only survive global recession but even boost survivability

With multiple economic and political headwinds on the horizon, industries of the world can tackle the storms by addressing three major trends: supply chain disruption, sustainability, and workforce turnover.

Each of these challenges is connected, and each offers an opportunity for innovation and transformation, especially considering advancements in digital technologies.

Let us examine each challenge in turn.

Supply chain disruptions

Despite the growing complexity and breadth of supply chains worldwide, many firms continue to rely on relatively simple means of tracking and managing these processes. While working in the short term to reinforce these supply chains, businesses in South-east Asia that want to be well-positioned to reap the benefits must also keep an eye on the future, ensuring they can obtain the materials and components needed to produce the next generation of products.

Emerging technologies such as digital twins can model supply chains and business processes to help firms grasp the complexities of their value chains and to identify problems and solutions. Hosting the digital twin of supply chains and business processes within the industrial metaverse enables firms to harness the power of large-scale computing and in-depth visualizations to analyze and interrogate these digital twins. Integrating AI and ML into the industrial metaverse platform will further enhance the value extracted from the digital twin models. When applied to supply chain management, AI/ML can quickly sort and organize the massive amounts of data that a modern global supply chain will produce, to focus on the most critical trends and patterns.

To thrive and survive in 2023 involves more than shortening time-to-market but also time-to-value. Adopting cloud-based software as a service can equip businesses with the right capabilities at a lower cost-of-ownership and shorter time-to-productivity. Understanding the benefits of cloud technology has helped businesses realize the importance of flexibility and agility, especially in developing countries like Indonesia and Vietnam. 


All firms and partners across supply chains have the responsibility to become more efficient, more competitive, and better prepared for the future of their industry. They can adopt advanced digitalization technologies that will facilitate the analysis and characterization of current practices and improve the organizational ability to develop sustainable solutions. For example, Nemo’s Garden, a startup focused on sustainable underwater cultivation of crops, has deployed digital transformation acceleration solutions to shorten its innovation cycles and accelerate industrialization and scalability. 

Nowadays, in many ways, the challenge of becoming a more sustainable business is tied closely to those constructing and managing a global supply chain. As a result, sustainability programs can also benefit significantly from the power of AI and ML. For example, AI/ML can help automate the aggregation of all the information a firm needs to generate collective intelligence without over-taxing employees with tedious information retrieval. This collective intelligence will enable teams to make objective assessments about their sustainability performance and respond quickly and appropriately.

Firms can also turn to additive manufacturing to reduce waste materials that traditional manufacturing processes create. Switching to additive processes can significantly reduce the material cost of parts that were previously cast or machined, by eliminating the need for molds and the subsequent creation of waste materials.

Alex Teo, Vice President & Managing Director (Southeast Asia), Siemens Digital Industries Software

Workforce development and turnover

In general, 2023 will see a continuance of recent trends in the employment market. 

  • First, the most experienced employees at many firms are retiring or moving into new roles within or outside the organization. As these employees leave, they take with them valuable knowledge and experience that, unless captured, will be lost.
  • Second, there will be a shift in the skills or core competencies organizations need, particularly in the area of advanced software and electronics, driven by the changing nature of products in many industries. This shift is creating a skills gap between the expertise of the current workforce, and the skills required to create the next generation of products. 
  • The third major workforce trend is the changing expectations and needs of prospective employees. Addressing this dynamic workforce market will require a nuanced approach. Simply investing in the digitalization of processes without intention or strategy risks leaving employees behind as they attempt to learn new skills or adapt to new methods of completing tasks.

It will be necessary for firms to strike a balance between modernizing for the sake of attracting new talent and retaining current employees. Technology that is intuitive and easy to learn will help both new and existing employees come up to speed more quickly.

An immersive training environment is also valuable. Technicians and manufacturing employees can benefit from AR/VR-based virtual training sessions that offer a learning environment where mistakes are far less costly. The industrial metaverse will change the way organizations work, by creating a virtual space that fosters more collaboration, interaction and immersion.