Speech by MOS Low Yen Ling at the Partnership Signing Ceremony between INCIT and the Philippines Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) at the Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific (ITAP) 2022

Speech by MOS Low Yen Ling at the Partnership Signing Ceremony between INCIT and the Philippines Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) at the Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific (ITAP) 2022

Dr Rafaelita Aldaba, Undersecretary for the Competitiveness and Innovation Group, Philippines Department of Trade & Industry,

Ms Ashikin Ahmand, Chief Financial Officer, International Centre for Industrial Transformation,

Mr Francesco Betti, Head of Advanced Manufacturing, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum

Mr Arndt Husar, Senior Public Management Specialist, Asian Development Bank

Mr Vikram Kalkat, Vice President, International Centre for Industrial Transformation

Ladies and Gentlemen,


1. Good afternoon. I am honoured to witness the Smart Industry Readiness Index (SIRI) Partnership Agreement between the International Centre for Industrial Transformation (INCIT, pronounced “insight”) and the Philippines Department of Trade & Industry (DTI).

Growth and internationalisation of SIRI

2. This partnership signals a significant milestone in the proliferation of the Smart Industry Readiness Index (SIRI) as an internationally recognised Industry 4.0 benchmarking index.

a. When SIRI was first created in Singapore in 2017, the aim was simple – to provide a framework and assessment for firms to understand, take action and learn from one another as they transform their manufacturing operations.

b. The Global SIRI Initiative was launched in September 2020, as a collaboration between WEF and the Economic Development Board (EDB) to accelerate the adoption of SIRI as the internationally recognised standard for Industry 4.0 benchmarking and transformation.

c. Today, I am proud to share that SIRI has progressed as an international index, with over 1,100 official SIRI assessments conducted in manufacturing facilities across 35 countries.

d. This would not have been possible without the unwavering support of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). It is testament to the possibilities and impact we can unlock by working with like-minded partners.

3. I am happy to see INCIT’s spirit of partnership and ambition in its efforts to expand the SIRI programme and catalyse industrial transformation at the regional and global scale.

Fostering partnerships within ASEAN

4. The SIRI partnership between INCIT and the Philippines DTI marks the first of its kind within ASEAN.

a. INCIT will work with DTI and ADB to scale SIRI as the national index in the Philippines, and further amplify the value of the SIRI framework.

b. More Philippine-based manufacturers will be able to kickstart their Industry 4.0 journeys. SIRI will allow DTI and ADB to identify the state of transformation across sectors, and help them develop evidence-based recommendations for industry development programmes.

5. Such partnerships will enhance our efforts to build a stronger ASEAN.

a. I would like to give a special mention to our counterparts from Cambodia, who are exploring collaborations with INCIT and ADB to leverage the SIRI programme to transform their manufacturing sector.

b. The Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) from Indonesia is also here with us. In October 2020, ITB signed an MOU with Singapore Management University (SMU) to foster stronger academic cooperation through exchanges for faculty and students. ITB is now deepening its partnership with Singapore on Industry 4.0.

c. I also welcome representatives from the Philippines Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). The SIRI framework reminds us that Industry 4.0 is very much about the people and organisation. I am sure there will be many opportunities to have fruitful exchanges on skills development and training here at ITAP.

6. Singapore fully supports these efforts to network, explore and collaborate. I am hopeful that many more partnerships between our governments, institutes of higher learning and enterprises will be enabled through platforms like ITAP and organisations like INCIT, ADB and WEF.

Ambitions to expand SIRI and champion sustainability

7. In today’s dynamic environment, the manufacturing community needs to address crucial aspects of business sustainability, including environmental impact and supply chain resilience.

a. Companies are recognising the need to embed sustainability in their operations and across their value chain. According to an IBM study in 2022, almost half of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) see increasing sustainability as one of the highest priorities for their organisation in the next two to three years, up from a third in 2021 .

8. I am pleased to hear that INCIT is actively championing sustainability, by working with partners to include a global sustainability benchmarking element in the SIRI framework that will be launched next year. This will help manufacturing companies transform sustainability into a competitive advantage.


9. Once again, congratulations to INCIT and DTI on this exciting partnership. In a region closely connected by value chains, ASEAN is striving to strengthen our value proposition as a vital node in the global economy Together, we can elevate our manufacturing communities regionally. I look forward to the exciting possibilities the future holds.

10. Thank you.

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