Manufacturing remains a key pillar of the Singapore economy and the sector is an important driver for productivity growth, innovation and trade, Second Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran said on Wednesday (Oct 8).
Speaking at the launch of the Singapore Innovation and Productivity Conference, Mr Iswaran – who is also minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and second minister for Home Affairs – said the manufacturing sector has played a crucial role in Singapore’s modernisation plans since the 1960s.
“Our manufacturing productivity has grown strongly since the start in 2009 of our renewed productivity drive, registering 9 per cent strong growth annually,” he said, highlighting precision engineering and transport engineering as bright spots within the sector.
He also said the global manufacturing landscape is changing, and there are several key trends and developments that Singapore firms need to keep abreast of. For example, consumers are increasingly looking to manufacturers not just for products, but also for services, particular in business-to-business markets.
Disruptive innovations such as advanced robotics and 3-D printing have not only resulted in new production possibilities, but also challenged how manufacturing here is run, he added.
RE-DESIGNING BUSINESS PROCESSES
Mr Iswaran stressed that productivity gains involved more than just investing in technological improvement and equipment, and companies can also redesign their business processes to improve the performance of their employees.
He cited Workforce Development Agency (WDA) training courses such as the WSQ Certified Productivity & Innovation (CPI) Manager programme and the SME Quality Initiatives to Assist, Nurture and Grow (SME QIANG) training programme that have helped companies achieve significant productivity improvements.
Since 2010, 134 companies have come on board these initiatives and more than 500 individuals have been trained, he said.
He reiterated a point made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong a day earlier – that everyone has a role to play in the effort towards productivity-driven growth.
The Government will continue to create an enabling environment and give support, but businesses must chart and stick to their journey towards greater productivity and competitiveness, the minister said.
Workers, too, must have the mindset to pursue continual education and skills upgrading, Mr Iswaran added, saying that it is a collective effort that will sustain Singapore’s competitiveness and economic growth well into the future.
Source : Channel News Asia | October 8, 2014