SGTech’s three-year transformation pipeline aims to boost companies’ technological adoption journey

Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong details SGTech’s important role in building a more technologically-adept manufacturing landscape while industry leaders at webinar discuss how technology will help companies address sustainability and talent issues 

SINGAPORE, 29 October 2021: SGTech, the premier trade association for the tech industry in Singapore, announces a three-year transformation pipeline during The CXO In Conversation: The Role of Technology in the Future of Manufacturing Sector webinar organised by SGTech and Autodesk on Friday (29 October 2021). 

In an era of rapid technological change, SGTech’s renewed approach is crucial to support tech companies in their expansion strategies to integrate vertically and horizontally. The three-year transformation strategy is significant in that it expands SGTech’s commitment to become a broad-based trade association serving all companies on their technology adoption journey and not just those based in the infocomm and technology (ICT) sector.  

In addition, “This transformation will also see SGTech pivot to cover new growth areas to better position Singapore as a global node for digital and data built upon digital trust. We will also rally the industry on sustainability in support of the Singapore Green Plan,” Serene Sia, Managing Director of ASEAN at Autodesk and a Councillor for SGTech said in her opening address. 

“Today, what we call a ‘tech company’ is not just those that bring about disruption. The term also refers to companies that leverage technology for greater competitive advantage,” Ms Sia further adds. “To better serve such companies, SGTech will pivot to becoming a broad-based trade association serving all companies on a technology adoption journey.”   

The importance of the tri-partite relationship between the Government, Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs) and companies, in their common goal to strengthen Singapore’s manufacturing sector has already been evident during the pandemic, as Guest of Honour, Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong explained.   

“Last October, SGTech, with support from Facebook and Enterprise Singapore (ESG), launched the ‘Stronger Together, Aiding Recovery’ (STAR) fund to help businesses leverage technology to transform and prepare for the post-Covid economy. Recognising the importance and timeliness of such initiatives, ESG is committed to matching 50% of the funds raised by SGTech.” Mr Gan added that the fund has supported 48 projects thus far, helping the wider business community digitalise, while enabling ICT players acquire new SME customers. 

Besides helping companies be more competitive and access new opportunities, SGTech also aims for technological adoption to spur greater sustainability in the sector. Highlighting that manufacturing globally contributes to a third of global greenhouse gas emissions — which is more than the energy or transportation sectors – Ms Sia noted in her speech that it is sometimes difficult to link technology to sustainability “because so much of it happens under the hood”. For instance, she elaborated, IoT sensors can monitor carbon emissions throughout the manufacturing process while advanced treatment processes allow products and materials to be reused or upcycled in a circular manufacturing process.  

“Sustainability cannot be a footnote in the manufacturing sector. Integrating it as part of overall business strategy helps companies save cost, reduce wastage and improve efficiency.” 

This sentiment was reiterated by industry leaders in the panel discussion, which featured President of Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) Douglas Foo, President of Singapore Industrial Automation Association (SIAA) Terence Teo, Executive Director of Singapore Precision Engineering & Technology Association (SPETA) Steven Koh, and Director of Delphic Manufacturing Solution Tan Ru Ding. Mr Koh added that since companies are already interested in business sustainability for cost-efficiency, these usually lead to environmentally-efficient outcomes too. When companies opt for online meetings to save transport costs, he illustrated, it leads to less pollution too. “So, companies need to align the two outcomes (cost savings and environmental savings) together.” 

While the industry leaders at the webinar acknowledged that technological adoption will also help companies achieve greater manpower-efficiency, the panel discussion revealed that one of the key challenges for manufacturers is to stay competitive in the climate of high labour cost and the shortage of skilled labour or talent.  

Mr Tan Ru Ding said: “Many manufacturing companies in Singapore are in the transition period. A lot of our people in senior positions are great and these are the people who have these deep skills. We need to develop these new and deep skills in the new generation of engineers and craftsmen. If these skills are gone, no matter how much automation and digitalization that we try to put in place, it is not enough.” 

It was thus welcomed SGTech has been engaging companies in dialogue to make recommendations to the government for Budget 2022. “For instance, a key challenge we’ve discovered is the shortage of tech talent. We note the recent recommendations of NTUC & SNEF to review the ‘Employment Pass (EP)’ evaluation, and we will be submitting our own recommendation to Government on this soon,” Ms Sia revealed. 

The CXO in Conversation webinar series is part of SGTech’s industry outreach to discover ways businesses can collaborate, automate, and innovate. Through Manufacturing Alliance Transformation Office (MATO), SGTech supports the collective effort of the digital transformation of Singapore manufacturers.  

About SGTech

SGTech is the premier trade association for Singapore's tech industry. Representing technology companies of all sizes, SGTech enables an ecosystem centred on technology to drive the competitiveness and expand market opportunities for Singapore tech companies worldwide. To support our members and strengthen the community, we deliver sustainable initiatives, top-tier business intelligence and networking opportunities globally. We achieve these goals through: 

  • Advocate for Industry: A voice that actively and responsibly advocates for change that benefits members and the industry.  
  • Supports Singapore's Agenda for Technology: Contributes to the industry's growth and transformation by supporting programmes and initiatives that enhance the Singapore economy.