By Jennifer Dhanaraj
Would you train people for your competitors?
Finance Minister, Mr Heng Swee Keat, speaking at the Future Economy Conference and Exhibition. (Photo credit: Singapore Business Federation)
The logical answer may be “no”, but it is already happening in Singapore.
“While, as individuals and companies, we grow our own skills and capabilities, we also need industry-wide capabilities that can benefit all the companies and workers within each sector,” said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat at the Future Economy Conference and Exhibition on 1 November, which saw the launch of the Logistics Industry Digital Plan (IDP) for SMEs that will push the logistics sector further toward innovation and digitalisation.
He highlighted YCH’s Supply Chain City, which houses the Supply Chain and Logistics Academy (SCALA) that trains new and mid-career talents for the industry.
SCALA also trains mentors who can coach new hires from the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP), a year-long programme where trainees are employed and undergo training comprising facilitated classroom sessions, on-the-job training and mentoring.
“We need more of such industry-level collaboration, and going digital is a valuable focus area,” Mr Heng added. “Such multi-stakeholder collaborations can benefit many companies and uplift the entire sector.”
Mr Tan Kiat How, CEO of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), shared the same view towards digitalisation.
(Front, from left) Ms Janet Ang, Council Member of SBF, signing the agreement with Mr Tan Kiat How, CEO of IMDA. Witnessing the signing are (standing, from left) Mr Teo Siong Seng, Chairman of SBF; Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister of Finance, and Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Chairman of IMDA. (Photo credit: Singapore Business Federation)
For the digital transformation to be successful, he said that business leaders should be aware that it is not just about technology but “about people, business models and processes.”
“The rise of the middle-class and urbanisation within the region will increase the demand for financial services, hub services, logistics and urban solutions,” said Mr Tan, commenting on the importance of the logistics industry.
A Memorandum of Intent (MOI) between the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and IMDA was signed at the event.
IMDA and SBF will collaborate to engage trade associations, business chambers and businesses on digital adoption and transformation.
The partnership will facilitate, identify and recommend programmes and initiatives to assist the SBF-led Digitalisation Issues Committee, which is chaired by Ms Janet Ang, SBF Council Member and Vice President, Industry Solutions at IBM Asia Pacific.
The Digitalisation Issues Committee seeks to drive digital adoption and transformation across the Singapore business community.
Uplifting the logistics industry
There was more good news for SMEs in the logistics sector.
With support from the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and SPRING Singapore, IMDA has developed the Logistics IDP for SMEs, which provides step-by-step advice to logistics SMEs on the digital solutions that will help them thrive in the digital economy.
SMEs can refer to the IDPs for a self-assessment checklist to understand how digitally ready they are.
SMEs in the logistics sector can now turn to a few new initiatives to pursue digital transformation.
Besides the checklist, there will also be an industry guide that they can refer to for the digital solutions that they can adopt at each stage of their digitalisation journey.
This guide will help them prepare for the digital economy — as they can tap on pre-approved digital solutions to refine and streamline their processes to achieve maximum efficiency. SMEs can also partner with other companies in the ecosystem to facilitate better collaborations, as well as help them make better decisions through the harnessing of data.
SMEs can also rely on external assistance from industry leaders to build up their capabilities, and such assistance can come from multi-stakeholder collaborations.
“The Logistics IDP for SMEs will bring industry leaders together to collaborate on projects to help more companies adopt impactful, interoperable tech solutions,” said Mr Heng.
The logistics sector will receive another boost through projects co-created by IMDA and industry leaders.
One of the first projects will be the partnership between IMDA and VCargo Cloud, together with major logistics players comprising Bollore Logistics (Singapore), Dimerco Express Singapore and L.C.H Lockton.
This partnership is expected to lead the SME clients of the major logistics players through the digitalisation process using VCargo Cloud’s eCargo Consolidation Platform, which will help SME freight forwarders or shippers to lower their rates and develop internal capabilities and efficiencies.
The Logistics IDP will also guide SMEs to participate in innovative national projects such as In-Mall Distribution, which aims to reduce vehicle delivery queues in malls; Federated Lockers that offers an alternative delivery options for consumers, among others.
Apart from digital solutions, the IDP for SMEs also highlights the importance of honing talent as a driver of digital transformation — in short, training people to equip them with the right skill sets for the right jobs is a vital element.
Therefore, in September, the new Skills Framework for Logistics identified new skill sets and job roles for the new digital workforce in the logistics industry.
To discover more about the Logistics IDP for SMEs, visit the official page here.
Or check out the video below!