Singapore Embarks On Next Phase Of Industry 4.0 Transformation For Manufacturers

Standing (from L to R): Mr Tan Boon Khai, Chief Executive Officer, JTC; Mr Alvin Tan, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Industry Cluster Group, JTC; Ms Joanne Guo, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Strategy and Development, Singapore Business Federation; Mr Ho Meng Kit, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Business Federation
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Singapore’s JTC Corporation and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support manufacturers in the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies.

This initiative is targeted primarily at SMEs to help facilitate their Industry 4.0 journey or to scale their current efforts through the adoption of technologies and solutions for business operations through the new JTC-SBF Industry transformation Initiative.

This initiative looks to provide companies that are keen in furthering their Industry 4.0 ambitions access to relevant Industry 4.0 related resources.

These include curated workshops, capability building initiatives tailored to companies’ digital readiness, and link-ups to a larger pool of technology partners such as Siemens, Bosch Rexroth, Konica Minolta, Singapore Precision Engineering & Technology Association (SPETA) and its consortiums (SiTA, iSMART and iSAMS), for solution matching to help companies develop the expertise to implement and scale Industry 4.0 solutions in their operations. 

Over 300 companies are expected to be supported under this initiative and undergo Industry 4.0 transformation in the next two years.

Additionally, this will help them to develop new capabilities for their workforce, enhance its productivity and ensure long-term competitiveness.

“SBF is an instrumental partner to drive the next phase of Industry 4.0 transformation by companies,” said Tan Boon Khai, CEO of JTC.

“With our large base of customers, a strong network of partners, and robust advanced manufacturing ecosystem in Jurong Innovation District, more companies can become the forerunner in Industry 4.0,” added Tan. “With this new partnership, we hope to see more businesses in Singapore transform and capture new growth opportunities in the region.”

“The Covid-19 situation has brought disruptions to economies, making businesses rethink strategies, relook operating models and recalibrate resources,” said Ho Meng Kit, CEO of SBF.

“This has led to an accelerated need for a better understanding and adoption of Industry 4.0 to help local enterprises emerge stronger from the pandemic,” he added. 

“With the present downturn expected to be protracted, we hope that through this JTC-SBF partnership, we can further encourage more companies to take a holistic view at how Industry 4.0 solutions can help their businesses transform and thrive in the future economy.”

Initiatives For Industry 4.0 Transformation

This new collaboration will allow JTC and SBF’s combined network of companies to more easily access relevant Industry 4.0 resources across JTC and SBF’s networks and platforms.

Together with partners, joint engagement sessions will be conducted for companies, where experiences can be shared to further strengthen the various initiatives and encourage higher adoption of solutions for businesses to scale up their Industry 4.0 capabilities.

Companies can participate in curated training workshops and capability building programmes tailored to their level of Industry 4.0 readiness, and develop roadmaps to guide their implementation. 

They will gain access to successful case studies and embark on learning journeys at Factories of the Future, giving them greater exposure to Industry 4.0 solutions in real production facilities. 

This will further encourage companies to transform and remain competitive amidst the pandemic.

For example, through the recommendation of JTC, Seng Hua Hng Foodstuff participated in SBF’s Industry 4.0 Human Capital Initiative (IHCI) Enabler Programme, which is supported by the Workforce Singapore, to optimise the performance of its equipment. 

As a result, the company, popularly known for its Camel Nuts products, put in place a digital performance engine to enable real-time data collection and monitoring of its automated production line. Through targeted interventions and performance management, they were able to achieve a 16 per cent increase in output.

“Our key problem was the lack of visibility and the collection of useful and relevant data on our automated packaging line,” said Poh Ah Seng, MD of Seng Hua Hng Foodstuff.

“During the eight-week IHCI Enabler Programme, we were able to identify and install a digital performance engine that allowed us to monitor the performance of the line in real-time and helped us optimise the flow of our operations, which in turn led to an increase of our productivity levels.”

“IHCI has provided our team with a framework to sustain our Industry 4.0 and digitalisation journeys and we would like to recommend other like-minded companies to further your Industry 4.0 ambitions through IHCI,” added Poh.

Collaborative Community

This partnership with SBF is part of JTC’s ongoing efforts to build a collaborative community that can help companies to stay ahead of the curve. 

In January this year, JTC launched the Industry Connect Initiative to help businesses across its estates grow through technology adoption while enhancing talent development and environmental sustainability.

With over 14,000 customers, JTC can effectively promote business transformation to these companies by connecting them to solutions providers, trade associations, and government agencies.

To date, over 1,000 businesses in JTC’s estates have been engaged through various Industry 4.0 outreach initiatives, with around 200 companies embarking on their Industry 4.0 journey.

Leading players in the business community are sharing relevant technologies and experience to address problems faced by various industries. This has created new opportunities for businesses and their workers.

For example, Osteopore International, a Singapore-based medtech SME that manufactures 3D-printed bone regenerating implants was able to redesign their process flow to improve productivity after participating in the Industry 4.0 programme. 

During the circuit breaker, their output doubled despite operating at half strength. Encouraged by the results, Osteopore aims to further automate the production process to allow 24/7 operations by early next year, bringing about higher overall equipment efficiency and productivity.

They also continue to hire and train new workers of all ages to perform higher value-add roles such as research and development, 3D-printing production, and quality control.

“Through JTC’s introduction, we embarked on the Industry 4.0 programme by McKinsey. This has helped to shed light on the Industry 4.0 roadmap and assisted us in formulating the blueprint for digitalisation,” said Dr Lim Jing, Chief Technology Officer of Osteopore International.

“We managed to identify key stakeholders for this transformation journey, all of whom are critical to effect successful transformation,” added Dr Lim. “This will allow us to be competitive in the global landscape, as well as demonstrate the technology competency and resilience of local companies.”

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