Dear Fellow Members,
he financial year 2020/2021 saw the continued fight against the COVID-19 pandemic which has disrupted global economic activity. Supply and demand uncertainty – the decline in external demand and disruption of supply chains have hurt manufacturing sectors in Singapore, especially those with an outward focus.
The financial year 2020/2021 saw the continued fight against the COVID-19 pandemic which has disrupted global economic activity. Supply and demand uncertainty – the decline in external demand and disruption of supply chains have hurt manufacturing sectors in Singapore, especially those with an outward focus.
However, we should be proud that our manufacturing community has demonstrated a strong adaptability to change, perseverance and resilience. Against the backdrop of the pandemic, the manufacturing sector in Singapore continues to report growth, with overall manufacturing output increasing by 7.3 percent in 2020 compared to 2019 figures. Cognisant of the importance of the manufacturing community, the Singapore government announced a 10-year plan for the manufacturing sector earlier in 2021, which aims to transform Singapore into a global business, innovation and talent hub for advanced manufacturing.
This vindicates the Federation’s efforts in the preceding two years in encouraging and facilitating adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies. The firm commitment to help the manufacturing community transform and grow more resilient in the process is built on a bedrock of the Federation’s strong local and global network of partners and programmes.
In the year that has just passed, the SMF continued with its stable of signature activities and dialogue sessions, albeit, taken to the virtual environment online. As part of our efforts to ensure members have an understanding of current policies and government measures supporting businesses, notable mentions include separate closed-door ministerial dialogue sessions with then Minister for Trade and Industry Mr Chan Chun Sing and Minister for Manpower Mrs Josephine Teo. The NTUC Secretary-General Mr Ng Chee Meng as well as Members of Parliament (MPs) Mr Melvin Yong and Ms Tin Pei Ling were also warmly welcomed at the SMF.
In the challenging year that has passed, the SMF swiftly implemented a series of inaugural initiatives to support the needs of the industry.
These efforts include the launch of the Manufacturing Alliance Transformation Office (MATO), an industry 4.0 initiative tailored for SMEs to embark on the next level of industrial transformation. MATO assists local manufacturers in upgrading their production capabilities by connecting them with Industry 4.0 solution providers and advising them on government assistance. MATO has also worked with the Singapore Business Federation on the Industry 4.0 Human Capital Initiative (IHCI), a programme designed to prepare companies with the people management and job redesign skills necessary for Industry 4.0.
The SMF also set up the SMF HELPS! Telegram chat group in August 2020. Manned by the SMF Secretariat, this provides our SMF Community first-stop assistance on changes to government policies. Today, more than 1100 users have subscribed to the chat group, forging an ecosystem where help is readily available not just from the SMF Secretariat, but also from members of the SMF sharing their experiences to overcome similar challenges. The SMF also provides additional support to its members, including free membership until December 2021 and financial assistance through its SMF Acts! Steer Fund.
Other initiatives move in the direction of assisting our members go international. With an eye towards diversification, the SMF established a Shenzhen Liaison Office to help members expand into China. Additionally, Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) Singapore led two Business and Technology Partnership matching sessions. In September 2020, two business matching sessions were held to help local companies gain access to the European market. The first was hosted in collaboration with the Polish National Support Center for Agriculture (KOWR). Besides a matching session with Polish companies, the online event provided an overview of the Polish Food and Beverage (F&B) industry, market entry strategies, and business offerings from Polish companies, with support from the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Singapore. The second was a Netherlands-Singapore Technology Partnerships Business matching session between Dutch and local companies, hosted in partnership with EUREKA GlobalStars-Singapore Call, the Netherlands Innovation Network, and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.
Without your support, these initiatives would be nothing more than empty shells. I am certain that we can forge the future and emerge stronger together by focusing on resilience capability building, working together to advance our businesses technologically.
Several new initiatives last year included having an onsite Human Resource Project Manager to help displaced workers find employment. More importantly, the Federation’s membership team has increased its interaction with individual members and the frequency of activities. I thank all of our members for participating in the activities. It is wonderful to see how positive the community has reacted to these initiatives. Without your support, these initiatives would be nothing more than empty shells. I am certain that we can forge the future and emerge stronger together by focusing on resilience capability building, working together to advance our businesses technologically.
On behalf of the Council, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all our stakeholders, our industry partners, the secretariat, and our members who are instrumental in our success.
Thank you for your unwavering support. Let us stride forward with optimism and stand ready to ride the crest of the coming economic upturn together!
DOUGLAS FOO, BBM