Slow uptake of new technologies and small-scale production are some of the defining characteristics of MSMEs, which often resulted in less efficient production costs and less than optimal product results. Further, products produced by MSMEs tend to lack differentiation, exacerbated by limited access to information about the latest technologies and fears of the costs associated with pursuing them. Given their scale and size, MSMEs do not have the means to constantly upgrade their quality standards in products and processes.
The recently issued Government Regulation No. 7 of 2021 on the Ease, Protection and Empowerment of Cooperatives and MSMEs (GR 7/2021) touches upon the issue of shared production technologies. The regulation outlines the clustering of micro and small enterprises by the National Government, Regional Government, and other relevant stakeholders. These clusters will be organized based on either a general product chain, dependence on similar workforce skills, or the use of similar technologies that are complementary in an integrated manner. They will receive assistance for their production process, which includes facilities and infrastructure (provision of land and buildings to be used as the location where the process of production takes place), as well as the machinery and equipment required for production. To ensure that MSMEs understand how to use new production machinery and equipment, GR 7/2021 further includes competence training as part of the provision for integrated MSME production1. However, although there have been reports of factory sharing initiatives by the Ministry of Cooperatives and MSMEs, these are currently limited to only several Indonesian provinces2. Issuing an operational regulation on the integrated management and shared production technologies can smoothen the policy implementation at the ground level and allow regional governments to actively participate in the process, especially since they are involved in the development of micro and small enterprises3.
Accelerating technological upgrades for MSMEs can enable them to expand their scale of production for eventual growth. The expansion of shared production initiatives to DKI Jakarta, where there is a surge of micro and small enterprises producing culinary and creative products, can help MSMEs in the region to access R&D, tools and facilities for free or at a reduced cost. To achieve this, similar efforts and existing activities to date should first be accounted for, as their successes can be further leveraged for this purpose. Second, facilitating MSMEs with access to facilities, infrastructure, machinery and equipment for free or at a reduced cost can be done in partnership with larger businesses, or through government assistance. Finally, since MSMEs often lack the skills required to successfully implement new technologies in their production processes, formalizing capacity building training agreements with larger businesses can help them to develop the necessary know-how.
For many entrepreneurs, the decision to turn into innovations depends on the ease to adopt technology, trained workforces, and multiple sources of finance. Yet, navigating the complex regulation is a major challenge for most lay business people. To expedite the economic recovery post-pandemic recession, the stakeholders in the ecosystem are urged to formulate the right policy to simplify such challenges.