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Speech by SMS Koh Poh Koon at SC Auto SC Neustar Launch and Official Opening of New Facility

Speech by SMS Koh Poh Koon at SC Auto SC Neustar Launch and Official Opening of New Facility

Mr Tan Siow Chua, Chairman, SC Auto,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

1.  A very good morning to all of you. I am happy to join you this morning for SC Auto’s official launch of its Singapore-designed and -manufactured SC Neustar bus. I would like to congratulate SC Auto for reaching this milestone in its transformation journey from a small private transport operator of chartered buses back in the 1970s and 80s to become a home-grown bus manufacturer and one-stop shop for bus owners today.

SC Auto exemplifies the spirit of transformation and serves as an inspiration for our local SMEs 

2.  The spirit of transformation embodied by SC Auto is exemplary, and serves as an inspiration to other local SMEs to do the same. SC Auto’s journey to become a market leader with a strong foothold in Singapore and the region is remarkable. When Mr Tan Siow Chua started his business as a private transport provider in 1977, he only had a single bus to his name and no employees. Over the next 10 years, he grew his fleet size to 40 buses and started to develop an interest to move upstream into bus design and bus-body building.  In 1996, he incorporated SC Auto to pursue these higher value-add areas of business and has been building up the company’s capabilities since.

3. Today, SC Auto employs 220 people. It not only designs and produces buses – It is also an integrated solutions provider with a suite of services spanning repair and servicing, to fleet financing and motor insurance. This five-storey building, with close to 200,000 square feet of space and serves as SC Auto’s headquarters, is double the size of its original premise. SC Auto’s success can be attributed to its focus on building a trusted brand while seizing new opportunities through innovation and internationalisation, and investing in its people. 

Focus on quality and seizing new opportunities

4. Since it was founded, SC Auto’s goal has been to focus on quality instead of competing on the basis of price. As a result, SC Auto focused on building up its brand of trust over the years. It quickly established a reputation for high-end products boasting reliability and durability, which it was able to achieve through constant innovation. Over time, SC Auto has developed more than 200 bus designs and trademarks registered worldwide. In 2014, SC Auto made the decision to deepen its engineering and Research and Development (R&D) capabilities. With support from Enterprise Singapore, this had in turn enabled the development of SC Auto’s own proprietary Euro 6 chassis technology. The SC Neustar that we are launching today is the culmination of these efforts. It is the first bus fully designed and built in Singapore. It is also certified in accordance with the strictest global standards and has fared well on one of the world’s most challenging test tracks in Spain, allowing it to be sold in Europe, in addition to Asian markets. This is no easy feat and speaks of the quality of SC Auto’s brand. I commend the team for this achievement.  

5. SC Auto is not resting on its laurels. Having built a strong foothold in Singapore, the company is looking to expand overseas for continued business growth. With Enterprise Singapore’s facilitation, SC Auto is in the midst of setting up another production facility in Myanmar to increase its production capacity and seize emerging growth opportunities in Southeast Asia. When it commences operations in early 2019, the new facility is expected to increase SC Auto’s overall production by five times. SC Auto will also become the first approved foreign bus manufacturer in Myanmar, thus giving it a tremendous first-mover advantage to address the growing demand for buses in the country. I am heartened that a home-grown company is flying our Singapore flag high in Myanmar.

Investing in people 

6. Of equal importance to SC Auto’s success is its focus on its people. People – from senior management to workers on the ground – are at the heart of what drives sustained transformation and growth for enterprises. SC Auto recognises that, and has been committed to providing opportunities for its employees to upgrade their skills and advance in their careers. I understand that Mr Tan has emphasised a culture of internal promotion since the founding of SC Auto, and the company has gone to great lengths to develop its employees even as it embraces technological advancements to remain globally competitive. Over the past five years alone, SC Auto has created some 40 skilled jobs which are being filled by existing and new employees. These include engineering positions in its R&D department as well as management positions. 

7. The broader base of SC Auto’s workers has also benefitted from the automation of its processes and technology upgrading. For example, the introduction of robotic welding systems in SC Auto’s production lines has replaced most of its manual welding work, allowing its workers to have a better work environment and enabling them to work on higher value-added tasks such as operating automated production machines and improving processes. 

Conclusion

8. SC Auto’s journey of transformation and growth is precisely what the Government envisions for our local enterprises as we move into the future economy. I am glad to hear that SC Auto has heeded the Government’s call to transform and is receiving the full support of agencies such as Enterprise Singapore to take its business to the next level. The Government is committed to support our local enterprises such as SC Auto as they undertake their transformation journeys.

9. Once again, let me extend my heartiest congratulations to Mr Tan and his team on the successful launch of the SC Neustar, and I wish SC Auto continued success in your future endeavours. 

Thank you.

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