SINGAPORE - German controls and automation manufacturer Pepperl+Fuchs has launched a new global distribution centre in Singapore, in a powerful showcase of the advanced technologies that the government is pursuing for the local manufacturing sector.
The Jurong warehouse, which costs over S$65 million and spans an area of 17,700 sqm, features an intelligent warehouse management software system, and an automated storage and retrieval system enabled by internet-of-things capabilities.
Speaking at the centre's opening ceremony on Friday (Oct 14), Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran said the Pepperl+Fuchs' investment can provide an example for Singapore's manufacturing industry.
"The manufacturing sector, which contributes about 20 per cent of our GDP, will continue to be a key pillar of the Singapore economy. The government will continue investing significantly in advanced manufacturing technologies to better position our companies for the future.
"We have identified the industrial internet of things as a key capability among the new technology areas. And we certainly hope to see more successful deployments following in the footsteps of your highly automated global distribution centre. Advanced manufacturing is also one of the key growth sectors that have been identified by the Committee on the Future Economy."
The urgency to transform Singapore's manufacturing sector was highlighted by the lower-than-expected economic growth in the third quarter, according to advance official estimates revealed on Friday.
Part of the weakness came from manufacturing, which contracted 1.1 per cent from a year ago after expanding by 1.4 per cent in the previous quarter.
But even as the government pushes for industry transformation, the "digital future" would not be possible without skilled talent, Mr Iswaran stressed.
"Singapore will continue to invest in our workforce through the national SkillsFuture initiative, supporting Singaporeans in developing the skillsets required to take on good jobs.
"With a concerted push by industry and the government, we will continue to find niches of opportunity to sustain our collective growth story."