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Speech by SMS Koh Poh Koon at IoT Asia 2018 Conference

Speech by SMS Koh Poh Koon at IoT Asia 2018 Conference

SPEECH BY GUEST-OF-HONOUR DR KOH POH KOON, SENIOR MINISTER OF STATE FOR MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY & MINISTRY OF NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AT IOT ASIA 2018 CONFERENCE, ON 22 MARCH 2018, 9.30AM, AT SINGAPORE EXPO

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning.

1.            It is my pleasure to join you here at the IoT Asia 2018 conference.

2.            Since 2014, IoT Asia has brought together government and industry leaders to keep abreast of new technological advancements and pursue collaborative opportunities that embrace innovation.  This is especially important given the impact of this new wave of industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, across industrial sectors today.

Emergence of Industry 4.0 will bring new growth opportunities

3.            Arising from the convergence of the digital and physical worlds, Industry 4.0 represents a paradigm shift for manufacturing, which will usher in a new age of innovation and transformation.  With our manufacturing base accounting for 20% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Industry 4.0 presents significant opportunities for Singapore.  According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, the adoption of Industry 4.0 could add S$36 billion in total manufacturing output, boost labour productivity by 30% and create 22,000 new jobs in Singapore by 2024.

4.            With rapid technological advancements in areas such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), robotics and artificial intelligence, many of our industries and businesses are sensing the urgency to take action and capture new opportunities, while some have already started.  A 2017 Accenture study found that seven out of ten manufacturers from the energy, chemicals and utilities sectors in Singapore plan to deploy Industry 4.0 solutions by 2020.

5.            Enabling our industries and supporting our companies and workers in their efforts to adopt Industry 4.0 solutions will be a key priority for Singapore.  This will help to keep Singapore as a globally competitive Advanced Manufacturing hub to attract strategic investments and anchor our position in the global value chains.

The Singapore Smart Industry Readiness Index will help companies begin their transformation journey in a systematic and comprehensive way

6.            While companies may learn of the potential benefits of Industry 4.0 and the need to change, many face the common challenge of not knowing where and how to begin.  Some of the common questions from the companies include, “What is Industry 4.0? How can it benefit my business? Where are the gaps and opportunities for me?”.

7.            We are committed to close this gap and facilitate the transformation.  To help companies get started, we launched the Singapore Smart Industry Readiness Index (“Index”) in November 2017.  This Index is a first-of-its-kind Industry 4.0 framework developed by a government, in partnership with the industry, to drive nation-wide industry transformation.  Validated by an advisory panel of academic and industry experts, this self-diagnostic tool will help companies better understand Industry 4.0 concepts, evaluate their existing facilities and develop a comprehensive transformation roadmap for their businesses.  The Index is designed to be used by companies of all sizes, across all industrial sectors, to determine how they may implement Industry 4.0 solutions in a systematic and comprehensive manner.

EDB will support companies with the index assessments, and an accreditation programme for assessors

8.            More than 500 people across 200 local and international companies have attended the series of public workshops organized by the Economic Development Board (EDB) to share more about the Index since its launch last Nov, a testament to the strong interest from the industry on the subject.  I am encouraged that we have received positive industry feedback from both multinational corporations (MNCs) and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on the usability of the Index and its benefits towards driving the adoption of Industry 4.0.

9.            One local company that has benefitted from the use of this Index is People Bee Hoon, which manufactures rice vermicelli in Singapore.  Prior to using the Index, the company adopted an automation-focused approach, and had difficulty prioritising its numerous Industry 4.0 initiatives.  With the Index, the company was able to rank its needs clearly, which enabled them to adopt a more systematic approach towards implementing projects and tracking progress.

10.         While we have seen some good take-up to date, more that can be done to help more companies make better use of this Index.  Through EDB’s public workshops, some companies have shared that having a qualified assessor could help them conduct a more robust assessment and identify priority areas for transformation.

11.         EDB has considered the feedback seriously, and I am pleased to announce that EDB will be funding 300 facilitated Index assessments for eligible MNCs and SMEs across industries, to help accelerate the adoption of Industry 4.0 initiatives.  Each company assessment will be conducted over two half-day workshops, during which companies will be guided through the Index evaluation process to identify high-impact initiatives and projects to implement.

12.         In addition, to help scale and sustain the usage of the Index, EDB will be developing an accreditation programme to train a pool of qualified Index assessors.  More details on the accreditation programme will be shared later this year.

The Government will partner industry and TACs to drive greater innovation in Advanced Manufacturing

13.         Over the past two years, we have developed and launched Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) in an integrated tripartite approach involving all key stakeholders to identify sector-specific opportunities and challenges at the industry level.

14.         At the enterprise level, companies which have taken the first step to assess their future-readiness, and have a clearer understanding of their own transformation roadmap, can continue to tap on various Government schemes and supports to catalyse their adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies.  For instance, firms which are keen to deploy large-scale automation can tap on the Automation Support Package (ASP).  The ASP supports companies in scaling up the implementation of automation solutions by leveraging on grant, tax and loan incentives.

15.         Companies can also visit A*STAR’s two model factories to experiment with and test-bed new manufacturing technologies prior to deployment at their own facilities.  The Model Factory@SIMTech is already seeing an encouraging response since its launch in 2017, while the Model Factory@ARTC, or the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre, will be launched later this year.

16.         I am glad to see that several companies have already taken a proactive approach to tap on the available support and platforms to help transform their businesses.   I encourage more companies to do the same.  This will in turn help to strengthen our overall manufacturing ecosystem.

17.         Nonetheless, Industry 4.0 adoption will be an important but multi-year journey for companies and for Singapore, and we should be patient yet persistent in our efforts.  The ITMs are also not static and our strategies will need to be periodically reviewed to ensure their continued relevance to the industry.  This will be done in collaboration with industry stakeholders including our Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs) and unions.  

18.         Indeed, tripartism is core to the Singapore spirit and a key differentiating factor for Singapore.  It was how we progressed so far, and it should continue to guide our efforts moving forward.  To this end, I would like to recognise our TACs, who are also here with us today, for their contributions and commitment as valuable multipliers to help drive the Advanced Manufacturing agenda for Singapore.  I am confident that we will succeed in our manufacturing transformation efforts if we continue to support and partner one another.

Conclusion

19.         Manufacturing is on the brink of a new age with Industry 4.0, and the path ahead for companies is an exciting one.  With the roadmaps, resources, and Index in place, I urge companies to make full use of them to chart their next phase of growth.

20.         Come October this year, Singapore will also host the inaugural run of Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific. As the first Asia-Pacific edition of Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial trade show, this will be another good international platform for manufacturers and suppliers to exchange ideas on Industry 4.0, form new networks, and identify new potential partners.  

21.         Until then, I wish everyone a fruitful time at IoT Asia 2018 and every success in your transformation journey.  Thank you. 

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