Singapore well positioned to gain from Industry 4.0

WEF lists it as among 25 leaders in advanced manufacturing

Workers at Panasonic's refrigerator compressor factory located in Bedok. PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore is among the 25 countries best positioned to benefit from the rise of advanced manufacturing and smart factories, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The report analysed 100 countries and economies to see how they might benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution - or Industry 4.0 - and the rapid rise of new manufacturing technologies.

Singapore was identified among 25 "leaders in manufacturing today that are also well positioned for the future of production".

The Republic came in second globally - after the United States - in the report's "drivers of production" ranking, which measures key enablers that help a country take advantage of Industry 4.0. It ranked 11th in the "structure of production" category, which measures the scale and complexity of a country's manufacturing sector.

Other countries in the top 25 include Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Britain and the United States .

Leading countries have a first-mover's advantage, the report said, noting: "Those that most effectively push the frontier and convert readiness into actual transformation can reap tremendous benefits.

"True transformation is still nascent, but leading countries are at the forefront of designing, testing and pioneering emerging technologies. Many have developed government-led strategies to capitalise on the Fourth Industrial Revolution."

The 25 leading countries already account for over three-quarters of global manufacturing value-added, the report noted.

It added that Singapore's manufacturing capabilities "have evolved considerably, with strong competencies today in high-value areas of manufacturing such as research and development and product design".

But it also pointed out no country was fully ready, let alone harnessed the full potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in production.

Mr Lim Kok Kiang, assistant managing director of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), said the Republic's strong showing reflects efforts to build an ecosystem to drive the adoption of advanced manufacturing among large and small firms here.

EDB launched a set of guidelines last November to help manufacturers build smart factories of the future. Called the Singapore Smart Industry Readiness Index, it was developed in partnership with German manufacturer TUV SUD.

"Transformation is a multi-year journey, and more needs to be done. It is important that we continue working closely with companies, trade associations and unions to improve our competitiveness and ensure our workforce is well equipped to support and enable the future of production," added Mr Lim.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2018, with the headline Singapore well positioned to gain from Industry 4.0. Subscribe