Preparing the SME workforce for the fourth industrial revolution

The globalisation of the world’s economy, jointly with the digitisation and automation of traditional production, has become both an opportunity and a challenge for smaller companies and nations –  a particularly “human” one.

For small and medium enterprises (SMEs), current employees and work forces would have to learn to operate in an innovative digital environment that would become more and more dependent on automation. The very ability to maintain a competitive advantage would depend on understanding this change in the rules of the game and adapting skills accordingly, many of which stem from computer science and require training, such as BI, ERP,CRM.

For small countries like Israel, national regulation must continue to support the transition from traditional skills to more advanced, technology-based skills. They accomplish that task by adopting and integrating five complementary strategic directions which are the key points for the success of the proposed transition: first,  establishing infrastructures and providing knowledge (Consulting and training).  Second, assisting and supporting factories (“smart money”). Third, supporting  the assimilation of technologies and its funding.   Fourth, developing skilled human capital (Conversion of the labor force-from the army’s technological units) and finally , restoring the image of the productive industry as a growth engine to allow SMEs to break into new markets.( for example, online trading that allows to expand the export)

As a start-up nation, Israel enjoys a high rate of entrepreneurship with 10.7% of the working-age population involved in relatively new businesses and 7.4% of the population in long-term entrepreneurial business ventures.  To keep SMEs globally competitive, it is particularly important to find and integrate a skilled and professional labour force with the required technological knowledge as well as providing  employees with on-the-job training.

SMEs would be able to succeed in managing  the relative advantage of the  fourth industrial revolution only by integrating Top Down and Bottom Up processes. To achieve that goal, the government should provide the platform, the knowledge and the budget, while the companies should develop appropriate procedures and management tools to adapt to the national program. All that in the intention of leveraging  human resources to a competitive advantage.