Firms urged to be tech-savvy to stay competitive

Dr Koh at the opening ceremony of the Manufacturing Solutions Expo. He says that if companies adopt an open and forward-looking mindset to adapt and embrace change, they will be better positioned to seize new growth opportunities.
Dr Koh at the opening ceremony of the Manufacturing Solutions Expo. He says that if companies adopt an open and forward-looking mindset to adapt and embrace change, they will be better positioned to seize new growth opportunities. PHOTO: SPHERE EXHIBITS

Manufacturers advised to transform themselves, with onset of digital economy

Singapore manufacturers should look at developing new technological capabilities amid the slowing economy to stay relevant, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon.

He told the media yesterday: "It's important for companies to realise that this global slowdown... does not just affect Singapore, but it also affects every manufacturer across the entire value chain in the world.

"What's important is that Singapore still has a good foundation, our companies have good capabilities.

"They need to take this opportunity... to look at new areas to grow and to also grow new capabilities so that when the economy goes on the upturn again, they are then ready and poised to be able to participate in the new industrial manufacturing (revolution)."

Doing so will ensure they become "more lean, more capable with new technologies that can serve the needs of the new market", he added, referring to the onset of the digital economy.

Dr Koh had earlier told the Manufacturing Solutions Expo at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre that disruptive technologies such as robotics, additive or 3-D manufacturing and industrial Internet of Things are causing a paradigm shift in the manufacturing sector.

"Transformation is necessary for companies to differentiate themselves and remain competitive in the global market," he said.

"If companies adopt an open and forward-looking mindset to adapt and embrace change, they will be better positioned to seize new growth opportunities."

The trade exhibition, which runs until tomorrow, is jointly organised by Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) and Sphere Exhibits, a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings. It features more than 80 firms from around 20 countries, and aims to link manufacturing companies with technology providers.

At the event yesterday, SMF signed an agreement with A*Star's manufacturing arm, Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology, to accelerate the adoption of technologies and strengthen outreach efforts within the industry.

"Our collaborative partnership aims to reach out to more industry members to raise awareness of the available technical resources and capabilities. This would help generate new business opportunities, improve productivity and equip us for the future," said SMF president Douglas Foo.

A*Star also launched several initiatives to support the industry and improve productivity, including a manpower scheduling system and a mobile workflow technology system.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2016, with the headline 'Firms urged to be tech-savvy to stay competitive'. Print Edition | Subscribe