Singapore's tight labour market means local companies will have to be more innovative in using technology to expand their business, said panellists at a lively Straits Times roundtable on the Lean Enterprise Development (LED) Scheme.
There are already many examples of enterprises that have become manpower-lean by employing tech solutions that have let them do more business with the same number of employees or less, thanks to help from the LED scheme.
The panellists at the roundtable, which was held at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Paya Lebar on Feb 20, said employers who have benefited from LED initiatives can be good role models for encouraging other firms to follow in their footsteps and become drivers of change.
The LED scheme, introduced in 2015, aims to help enterprises become more manpower-lean through business remodelling and job redesign, which in turn would develop a stronger Singaporean core and a higher quality workforce.
Ms Julia Ng, co-chair of the inter-agency LED Taskforce, told the roundtable: "We hope companies just starting on the lean journey can think big, start small and act fast."
Lean Enterprise Development scheme
The LED scheme helps enterprises to transform and become more manpower-lean, to build a stronger Singaporean core and higher-quality workforce.
It provides enterprises with integrated government assistance and transitional manpower support to help build new capabilities, transform and thrive in the new manpower-lean landscape.
Transitional manpower support is provided on case-by-case basis, tailored to the specific needs of the transformational projects.
More details are available at www.mom.gov.sg/leds
The task force will continue driving mass adoption of ready-to-go solutions like RFID systems, online menu ordering and manpower scheduling systems.
Smaller firms that are unsure about how to get started can begin by looking for these off-the-shelf solutions on Tech Depot, she added.
Ms Ng said the task force is taking the lean enterprises push to the next level by encouraging industries to support the implementation of the Industry Transformation Maps.
"We hope to see more companies coming together as an industry to develop industry-level projects that can transform the industry as a whole, where everyone in the sector can be uplifted together."
The task force will also focus on targeted sectoral interventions where there are acute manpower challenges.
Workforce Singapore will work closely with specific agencies on piloting job redesign efforts in sectors such as retail, food and beverage, hotels, cleaning and security to help companies implement pre-fitted solutions, improve working conditions and better attract and retain workers at the rank-and-file level, added Ms Ng.
"I hope the more progressive employers who have benefitted from the LED Scheme can come forward to help their peers... and work together to develop sectoral-level initiatives to transform the industry."
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Highlights of the roundtable. http://str.sg/led