SME Spotlight

Helping local food firms net overseas buyers

A new platform will allow food service operators in Singapore to streamline the procurement and sourcing of food supplies, helping them to achieve cost savings.
A new platform will allow food service operators in Singapore to streamline the procurement and sourcing of food supplies, helping them to achieve cost savings.ST FILE PHOTO

Website and app to boost links, consolidate orders

Local food manufacturers are getting more help to innovate and expand overseas, thanks to new measures announced yesterday.

One is a website developed by the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) and Innovative Hub to bring the Singapore Pavilion at this week's Food & Hotel Asia 2018 trade show to the Alibaba portal. This will help connect local firms and overseas buyers long after the event has ended.

The second is the launch of the SMF SMART app, an online business-to-business platform developed by the SMF and technology company i-Sprint Innovations.

It consolidates orders for overseas buyers and has features like traceability and authentication of products through QR code and IT security technology.

Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development, announced the initiatives yesterday at the opening of Food & Hotel Asia 2018, a trade show held every two years dedicated to the food and hospitality industry in Asia.

He said the Infocomm Media Development Authority is working with major food suppliers such as Australian Fruit Juice, Globe Mart, Indoguna, Vismark and Win Sin to guide their clients through the digitalisation process using a platform developed by Zeemart.

STAYING AHEAD OF THE CURVE

With rapid technological developments, it is critical for companies to embrace new technologies to stay ahead of the curve. Such technologies can be leveraged to redesign work processes, reduce manpower needs and improve customer experience. This in turn can help improve profitability and productivity.

DR KOH POH KOON, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development.

Zeemart's platform lets food service operators streamline the procurement and sourcing of food supplies, helping them to achieve cost savings of around 5 per cent to 15 per cent, Dr Koh said.

"These examples clearly show how strong partnerships can multiply our strengths, and provide better support for our local SMEs to improve capabilities and capture opportunities overseas," he added, noting that strong partnerships must continue to be formed between the Government, industry stakeholders, and trade associations and chambers.

The trade show runs until Friday at Singapore Expo and Suntec Singapore. It features about 4,000 exhibitors from around 70 countries and regions.

Dr Koh said businesses must continue to take the lead in embracing new technologies, innovating and internationalising to capture the strong growth potential in the region.

"With rapid technological developments, it is critical for companies to embrace new technologies to stay ahead of the curve. Such technologies can be leveraged to redesign work processes, reduce manpower needs and improve customer experience," he noted.

"This in turn can help improve profitability and productivity."

Dr Koh said innovation is also critical for businesses to better differentiate their offerings and gain market share.

"Today, innovation begins at the farm level, in a crucial move to address traceability and strengthen food safety from farm to fork," he added, noting that eight Singapore farms are exhibiting at the show under the banner of Singapore Agro-Food Enterprises Federation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2018, with the headline 'Helping local food firms net overseas buyers'. Print Edition | Subscribe