More help for firms to speed up industrial transformation

The Government will fund 300 assessments in the use of a tool to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and multinational corporations (MNCs) accelerate their industrial transformation efforts.

Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development, said yesterday that to further amplify the reach and use of the Singapore Smart Industry Readiness Index, an accreditation programme will be developed to train and qualify assessors.

The index is a world-first diagnostic tool that companies across all industries and sizes can use to learn about Industry 4.0, evaluate the state of their facilities and develop a transformation road map.

Industry 4.0 refers to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which envisages companies using "smart factories" where highly skilled staff work seamlessly alongside robots, using automation and new data exchange technologies.

The Economic Development Board (EDB), in partnership with Germany's TUV SUD, launched the index last November. TUV SUD specialises in training, inspection and product certification services.

Said Dr Koh: "The index has received positive reviews since its launch, and we are heartened that companies have found it useful in their transformation journeys. However, through feedback from public workshops, we recognise that having a qualified assessor can help companies overcome the initial barriers to transform.

"As such, we have committed 300 funded assessments and an accreditation programme, to ensure companies receive sufficient guidance in using the index to evaluate their facilities and identify priority areas to focus on."

TUV SUD, the technical adviser and project manager in the development of the index, will be conducting the 300 funded assessments, while details of the accreditation programme will be released at a later date.

Once trained, qualified assessors will aid companies over two half-day consultations across two weeks in using the index to develop an Industry 4.0 strategy.

The Government will also collaborate with Singapore trade associations and chambers, like the Association of Singapore Marine Industries and Singapore Food Manufacturers' Association, to drive the use of the index, EDB said.

Since its launch, the index has garnered both local and international interest, with over 500 people from more than 200 MNCs and SMEs attending the public workshops conducted by EDB and TUV SUD.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2018, with the headline 'More help for firms to speed up industrial transformation'. Print Edition | Subscribe