When Mr Sam Chee Wah first decided to apply for the Singapore Manufacturing Federation's (SMF) Sustainable Growth Award in 2014, he was surprised when a staff member told him she did not know what the company's business model was.
"She said, 'What business model?' She knew only about her day-to-day work. And after thinking about it, I realised I'd never really told them," the general manager of Feinmetall Singapore related.
Mr Sam recounted his company's journey from applicant to recipient of the 2014 SMF Sustainable Growth Award at the launch of the second edition of the biennial SMF awards at the SMF House yesterday.
Mr George Huang, SMF emeritus president, said: "Sustainable growth doesn't have to mean growing every year, but rather, having a plan for transformation and growth. The awards were set up to honour companies which recognise that."
Apart from the Sustainable Growth and Business Model Innovation awards, this year's awards see a new category being introduced: the Collaborative Partnership Award.
"We hope the award will encourage companies to work together. If companies only compete against each other to keep costs and prices low, everything will be offshored to a cheaper country sooner or later," said Mr Lam Joon Khoi, SMF secretary-general.
Mr Philip Lee, chairman of the awards organising committee, highlighted the importance of the manufacturing industry.
"If we rely only on other countries, we'll be at the mercy of the global economic climate," he said.
Mr Huang said that the three awards are "interlinked", as sustainable growth requires both business model innovation and collaboration with other companies.
Mr Sam said applying for the award made him think about what the company had done and its plans for the next five years.
"I realised I had to focus on building human capital... now, my staff are more involved and we have everything from monthly dialogues to birthday celebrations together," he said.
Applications for the awards are open until July 15, and winners will receive their awards on Oct 13 at SMF's gala dinner.