Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry what has been the progress on the precision engineering industry transformation map and the electronics industry transformation map since their launch in 2017.
Oral Answer (to be attributed to Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Mr Chee Hong Tat)
- The Precision Engineering Industry Transformation Map (ITM) and the Electronics ITM were launched in October 2016 and September 2017 respectively. Both ITMs were developed and are being implemented in close collaboration with industry, unions, institutes of higher learning (IHLs), and trade associations and chambers, such as the Singapore Precision Engineering & Technology Association (SPETA) and the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association (SSIA). The Economic Development Board (EDB) is the lead government agency coordinating both ITMs. Both ITMs aim to transform their industries by strengthening existing growth sub-sectors, diversifying into new growth opportunities, and deepening the capabilities of our Precision Engineering and Electronics companies.
- The Precision Engineering industry is characterised by a large number of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). To help these SMEs grow, we will need to lower their barriers to innovation and technology adoption. One specific initiative aimed at doing so is the development of model factories, which allow SMEs to experience and experiment with advanced manufacturing technologies in a real-life production environment, before deciding whether to implement them in their own premises. As part of the Precision Engineering ITM, the Model Factory @ SIMTech was launched in October 2017. Another Model Factory will be launched by the end of this year.
- For the Electronics ITM, one area of focus is strengthening our innovation eco-system to enable our companies to harness new growth opportunities. The ITM has outlined a few strategies that are being implemented, such as fostering “one-to-one” collaborations between multi-national companies (MNCs) and SMEs, and building up structures to groom Electronics SMEs and startups. Since the launch of the ITM, EDB has worked with Enterprise Singapore (ESG) to support and grow more than fifteen Electronics startups through accelerators and incubators. ESG also supported seven startups in featuring their solutions at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 in Las Vegas.
- As we shift the Precision Engineering and Electronics industries towards higher value-added and innovation-intensive activities, both industries will also see the creation of jobs that require greater depth of knowledge. EDB has worked with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), unions and industry stakeholders to roll out Skills Frameworks to help our people identify the key skills, competencies and training programmes that they will need to capitalise on new job opportunities and advance in their careers. We have also put in place programmes to attract young talent, and support the leadership development of our people. For example, with the support of EDB, the SSIA launched the Semiconductor Leadership Accelerator in October 2017 and has since trained about 40 Singaporean professionals over the course of two runs.
- In addition to the ITM initiatives, EDB has worked with TÜV SÜD to develop the Singapore Smart Industry Readiness Index, a comprehensive tool to help companies identify challenges in adopting Industry 4.0 technology. EDB, in partnership with six trade associations and ESG, has targeted 300 funded assessments of the Index. To date, more than 170 funded assessments have been awarded, and of which 40% were to SMEs. More than a third of the assessments were awarded to Precision Engineering and Electronics companies. Industry feedback has been positive, with several companies sharing their experience at industry seminars.
- Thus far, the Precision Engineering and Electronics ITMs, as ‘live’ roadmaps of transformation, are supporting our companies in harnessing advanced manufacturing technologies, and our people through skills deepening and upgrading efforts. The ITMs will be reviewed continually to take into account industry feedback and prevailing economic conditions. We will continue to work with our tripartite partners in this joint transformation journey.