SINGAPORE - Companies must remain nimble, diversify and be a critical node in the value chain to manage challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, Second Minister for Trade and Industry, and Manpower Tan See Leng said on Tuesday (March 23).
Speaking at the Enterprise 50 (E50) Awards, which recognise the 50 most enterprising, privately held local companies in Singapore, Dr Tan said the economic shock of the crisis had intensified volatility in the global economy and rapidly accelerated technological advancement.
"The sudden disruption to our supply and value chains have caused customers' needs and behaviours to change in tandem and our companies had to quickly innovate, restructure and renew their business models to better position themselves in new value creation pools," he added.
Dr Tan said firms have to be nimble and pre-emptively seek new areas of opportunities instead of waiting for opportunities to land in front of them.
"We don't have that luxury, particularly as a small country."
Companies must also seize these opportunities and tap different operating models even after the pandemic recedes, due to the reorganisation of global production and supply chains and increasingly decentralised operations, he added.
"Enterprises must look beyond price competitiveness and develop a superior value proposition based on innovation and strong brand attributes so that they will not be easily displaced."
Dr Tan said that firms must not just think about creating value but of how to "close the lo op to capture that value".
The E50 Awards, which are in their 26th edition, are co-organised by The Business Times and KPMG in Singapore, and sponsored by OCBC Bank.
Enterprise Singapore, the Singapore Business Federation and the Singapore Exchange support the awards.
The presentation of the 2020 awards was live-streamed for the first time this year, from the Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay.
Mobility equipment supplier Raduga broke into the list this year to clinch the top spot.
The company distributes mobile phones and provides worldwide services such as marketing management and logistical solutions.
Raduga chief executive officer Cheong Beng Wah said: "This E50 award is a recognition that Raduga is heading in the right strategic direction with our business vision and philosophies.
"It gives us the confidence to continue expanding our business overseas, transforming, upskilling and staying ahead in this ever-changing economic landscape."
Second place went to Top International Holding, which counts mining as its core business. It is in the list for the third year running and had climbed from its eighth position in 2019.
The firm taps digital tools to automate back-end paperwork and remove redundancies, allowing it to focus on business expansion, said Dr Tan.
Precious metals recycler BR Metals, a new entrant to the list, bagged the third spot.
The company is an example of a firm that has been capitalising on sustainability, said Dr Tan, who encouraged companies to integrate sustainability into their businesses regardless of their sectors.
"(BR Metals) recovers precious metals such as platinum and palladium from spent materials that can be used in new products.
"This reduces the need to mine for new metals, minimising the environmental impact and strengthening the industry's resilience," he said.
Three special recognition prizes were also handed out at the ceremony.
Legend Logistics took home the Internationalisation Award. Founded in 2012, the one-stop logistics provider has a presence in Asia, Oceania and Europe, with 10 regional offices in seven countries.
The Enterprise Transformation Award went to Omni-Plus System, while landscaping company Mao Sheng Quanji Construction won the Five-Year Award for staying on the list for the same number of years.
Mr Jonathan Ho, partner and head of private enterprise at KPMG in Singapore, said: "While the pandemic tested our endurance and resolve to the fullest, it also provided myriad transformational opportunities for businesses."
The Business Times editor Wong Wei Kong said: "The success of local enterprises will be critical to Singapore's emergence in the post-crisis world and we are confident that the winners will go from strength to strength and be a source of inspiration to other businesses and entrepreneurs."
Nominations for the 2021 E50 Awards open on Tuesday.