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Speech by SMS Chee Hong Tat at the MOU signing ceremony between Mr Bean and Udders Ice Cream

Speech by SMS Chee Hong Tat at the MOU signing ceremony between Mr Bean and Udders Ice Cream

Mr Loh Jwee Poh, Founder and CEO of Mr Bean,
Ms Wong Peck Lin, Founder of Udders Ice Cream,
Ladies & gentlemen. 

Introduction 

1. Good morning. I am very happy to join you this morning to witness the signing of the MOU between two well-known food companies – Mr Bean and Udders Ice Cream. I have sampled the ice cream and understand that they are lower in fat content and they will be getting Health Promotion Board’s healthier choice symbol. This adds to the range of offerings, bringing the best of both companies together, leveraging their respective strengths and capabilities, to innovate and create something new. 

2. Starting from a single outlet each, Mr Bean and Udders have both grown into well-recognised and well-loved Singapore food brands with reputations for quality products, and they have both contributed to a vibrant F&B sector in Singapore. 

3. Building on their respective successes, they are now coming together to collaborate to further expand their capabilities and seize new opportunities both here and overseas. I would like to extend my congratulations to both companies for taking this step to cement your mutual partnership today.

Product Innovation

4. There are many benefits to be reaped from successful collaborations between enterprises. First, the partnership between Mr Bean and Udders has shown, partnerships between companies enables co-innovation and the development of new product lines that enhance the value propositions of both companies. This allows our businesses to better serve new market segments and respond to the changing tastes of consumers.

5. In the case of this new product, soy based ice-cream, it fits very well with the trends that we are seeing in the consumer market. People are now looking for new products that are healthier, but taste just as nice. People are looking for good quality products and trusted brands. Especially for our food manufacturers and our F&B sector, this is one of our strengths. We have strong brands. People have high degree of trust and confidence in Singapore brands. So with innovation and new products that are tasty and healthy, I am confident that our F&B sector, food manufacturing sector, can leverage on such opportunities to further expand their operations both here and overseas. 
Developing Capabilities and Improving Productivity

6. Lowering production costs and improving productivity is another area that collaborations can bring about benefits. Companies can speed up the learning process and develop new capabilities more efficiently. You can also achieve greater economies of scale throughout their operations by sharing of suppliers, equipment, marketing and distribution channels. I understand that Mr Bean and Udders expect to achieve a 30% improvement in cost efficiencies by tapping on each other’s ingredients for the production and distribution processes of the new soy bean ice cream.

7. With the support of Enterprise Singapore, Udders is in the process of automating its current manual production line for ingredient mixing, labelling, packing, freezing and sealing processes. Once operational in Feb 2019, it is expected to increase Udders’ ice cream production capacity by about 10 times without an increase in manpower. This is where automation can lead to productivity improvements, especially if you are now looking at further expansion. Without increasing your manpower base, you can increase your capacity and better target overseas markets. The equally important point is that with the automated process, the production staff are not made redundant. Instead, they are upskilled to perform more and higher value added tasks such as machine calibration or develop new flavours, inventory management, quality control of products and procurement sourcing. Instead of using machines to replace human tasks, we have skills upgrading. This is win-win, which is good both good for the company and also good for the workers. 

Growing Networks and Internationalisation Opportunities

8. Collaboration presents opportunities for businesses to reach new markets by tapping on your partners’ existing networks. By pooling together resources, our local enterprises can successfully break into new markets and discover new business opportunities together. 

9. And I need to emphasise this point, because to be frank, we are not seeing enough collaboration amongst our local companies, compared to what we see happening in other markets. We tend to view each other as pure competitors. But the real world is not so black and white. There are different opportunities where you can still work together, and compete at the same time, and in certain markets, by working together that is win-win. 

10. Also, do not forget the competition is actually out there, with companies from other countries that are much larger and more established. If we want to break into new markets, we do have to work together. This is where our industry associations – the Restaurant Association of Singapore, the Singapore Food Manufacturers Association – can also play an important role to bring our companies together and create a platform where we can work together to collaborate, while we still of course compete in certain areas. The point I want to emphasise is that not to see competition and collaboration as mutually exclusive as they can co-exist. There are some areas where we collaborate, some areas we compete, and especially when we go overseas, we need to collaborate more. 

11. Let me conclude my speech by once again congratulating Mr Bean and Udders on this happy occasion. 

12. 通过这样的合作, 我相信我们的中小型企业可以取得更好的成就。 我们通过合作加强我们中小型企业在国内外的商机,减低我们的成本,增加我们创新的成功机会,并通过合作取得成功。在此,我要祝贺Mr Bean 跟 Udders, 祝你们接下来的合作能够把两间公司的产品带到另一个高峰。谢谢!
 
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