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iFactories to spearhead an industrial revolution

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Three hundred factories in the country are projected to be transformed into smart factories in the next three years.

This is part of iFactories, a national initiative to enhance the kingdom’s industrial sector as well as the labour market.

Bahrain’s Industry and Commerce Minister Abdullah bin Adel Fakhro launched iFactories last week, which aims to support the movement of the country’s industrial sector towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The initiative aimed at assessing the readiness of factories, measuring their level of digital maturity, and enabling them to invest in technology infrastructure and manufacturing automation, which is one of the pillars of the industrial sector’s strategy (2022–2026).

The minister valued the government’s support for further developing the industrial sector to strengthen national industries and increase their efficiency and global competitiveness. “The initiative (iFactories) is launched in a strategic partnership with Tamkeen, and it aims at transforming 300 factories into smart factories by the year 2026,” Mr Fakhro told the staterun Bahrain News Agency (BNA). “It seeks to adopt the best regional and global practices in managing production lines to ensure the sustainability of the industrial sector’s resources, raise its productivity, increase its efficiency, reduce dependence on unskilled manpower, and shift towards automation and modern technologies in order to create promising job opportunities for citizens.”

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Tamkeen chief executive Maha Mufeez affirmed that this partnership contributes to achieving Tamkeen’s objectives of making the private sector the main driver of economic growth in Bahrain, in addition to making Bahrainis the ideal choice for employment in the labour market. “The partnership through these initiatives supports national goals in modernising this sector and encouraging Bahraini businesses to adopt advanced technological solutions to automate and develop their operations, increase their productivity, and achieve their sustainable goals. This will positively reflect on increasing their economic contribution within the private sector and increase their ability to create jobs of added value for citizens.” During the event, Industry and Commerce Ministry Industrial Development Assistant UnderSecretary Dr Khaled Fahad Al Alawi gave a brief presentation on iFactories, indicating that it will be based on the SIRI index, the latest international standard for evaluating factories in terms of applying the practices and tools of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

He pointed out that the factory transformation process falls into four stages: the evaluation stage, the actual evaluation stage, the design stage, and the development stage. “In the evaluation stage, the ministry will provide advisory and technical support to conduct self-evaluation,” said Dr Al Alawi.

“This will be followed by the actual evaluation by accredited evaluators, which will move the factory to the design stage to develop a digital transformation plan, considered the basis for the empowerment stage. Through this, factories will be able to obtain support and incentives. The fourth step is the development phase, where the ministry will, through its tools, monitor the transformation process through performance monitoring tools and measure its indicators.”

Dr Al Alawi invited those wishing to join the initiative to start selfassessment by viewing the evaluation guide on the ministry’s website or by communicating directly with specialists in industrial affairs in the ministry to benefit from the initiative.

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