A visit to a high-tech precision engineering firm yesterday gave the Trade and Industry Minister an ideal platform to push the message that companies need to improve their capabilities and reinvent processes to boost efficiency.
Mr Chan Chun Sing noted during his tour of the upgraded Molex Singapore plant that the electronics component maker is not shying away from the need to rethink the ways it does business.
"We're gradually seeing a shift towards more high-tech, precision engineering efforts," he said.
"What we have seen here is not just the advance in the production system, (Molex) also has the capabilities to do research and development and... to design the production process; to be more productive, more efficient.
"It is something that we want to see in more companies across our entire economy."
Mr Chan pointed out that even as Molex transforms its processes, it is training workers so they are in sync with the needs of the new production process, adding: "This is the way we want to progressively upgrade all our factories on the manufacturing side."
He noted as well that the Government is optimistic about productivity increases that can be achieved in precision manufacturing plants.
Consultants can help smaller companies that may need assistance to redesign production processes to reap productivity gains, Mr Chan said.
Molex has upgraded its factory by deploying robotic arms and digitising its process control to automate the assembly, visual inspection and testing of components.
It is also collaborating with the Institute of Technical Education to provide training and certification of employees to enhance its on-the-job training programme.
The firm is working to upskill employees, starting with a programme for 16 staff that began in December 2016 and runs through to June this year. A second programme for up to 16 employees will likely commence in the third quarter.
Manufacturing accounts for about 20 per cent of gross domestic product and employs 14 per cent of Singapore's workforce.