Firms that focus on regional ties to be honoured by SMF

A new prize unveiled this week will honour local manufacturers that are investing in closer regional ties.

The new gong is part of the annual awards conferred by the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) but differs in that it will be handed out in conjunction with Malaysia's RHB Bank.

It will recognise companies for their work with supply-chain partners and come with overseas business missions in the year ahead.

SMF president Douglas Foo, who also leads food and beverage group Sakae Holdings, told The Straits Times that the award category's new focus on South-east Asia does not mean that manufacturers here are narrowing their horizons.

"We need to really look at the whole of Asean as our manufacturing and consumption base... and then from there move into the global marketplace," he said.

Mr Philip Lee, chairman of the awards organising committee, added in a statement: "Amid rising business costs and competition from both developing and developed countries, our local companies must collaborate to seek new growth opportunities."

RHB - the official partner bank for the SMF Awards - will lend its support to the upcoming business missions, which will involve visits to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Laos.

The third edition of the SMF Awards also features a sustainable growth prize - for companies that have adapted to tough conditions and grown their profitability - as well as a business model innovation award.

Mr Foo told The Straits Times that he hopes the awards will help to generate buzz and attract a pipeline of talent for the manufacturing sector.

"We really would like to have a conversation about the future of manufacturing," he said.

"Going forward, we are very optimistic that manufacturing will become a cool industry that young people will want to join, because of the potential of digital transformation."

Applications are open until April 16, with the awards to be handed out next September at a gala dinner featuring Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat as guest of honour.

The Straits Times is the media partner for the SMF Awards 2018.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2017, with the headline Firms that focus on regional ties to be honoured by SMF. Subscribe