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Businesses can adopt useful technology to be competitive: Singapore Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say

SINGAPORE – July 2015 – Businesses can be early adopters of useful technology to be competitive in a “new economic landscape”, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Monday (Jul 27).

During a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing event between logistics company YCH Group and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), Mr Lim said Singapore’s economy is going through a transition to become leaner on manpower, with a stronger Singaporean core and a better quality foreign workforce.

He praised YCH for its work in the three areas during the event.

For instance, the logistics company invested in a new warehousing facility, called Supply Chain City, that features technologies to make work processes along the entire supply chain more efficient. This means less manpower is needed for lower-skilled work processes, and staff can be trained and deployed to higher-skilled jobs,

Mr Lim reiterated the need to move to a more sustainable economic growth formula, where the “1+2=3” formula is the way to go. He was referring to 1 per cent growth in Singapore’s workforce plus 2 per cent improvement in productivity to give the country 3 per cent growth.

“Even though 3 per cent is lower than 4 per cent in the current ‘3+1=4’ formula, we believe that this is more sustainable and will be of better quality,” he said.

Mr Lim added the challenge for Singapore is to find new ways for companies to compete better and for people to grow in their careers.

TECH AS AN ENABLER

One such technology to help companies is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. They can be inserted into items, such as shoes, or stuck on externally during manufacturing.

With the tag, customers can place the item on a scanner, which will then inform them of available designs and colours in the shop. At the back end, shop assistants can easily locate shoes and their different sizes by using a hand-held device to scan the boxes.

If samples are out of stock, an online delivery order can be placed. At the warehouse, YCH will then ensure deliveries are accurate using a system that issues alerts of missing stock.

RFID technology is not new, but the way YCH has developed and is implementing it is a first for the industry – from tagging the items in retail stores, to the ordering, right up to the delivery, the company said.

It added the technology is ready to be rolled out, and is working with SMEs in implementing RFID. The company, which has a staff strength of about 500 in Singapore.

​STRENGTHENING THE TALENT POOL

YCH is also working with WDA and tertiary institutions like Republic Polytechnic to develop its staff here.

For the next three years, it will be participating in the WDA-led SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme for logistics, it said. Under this programme, fresh graduates from the Institutes of Technical Education (ITEs) and polytechnics are recruited to take up jobs in the company, and offered a structured career progression pathway.

“Growing the numbers is not what we’re talking about,” said Executive Chairman of YCH Robert Yap. “What we want is to be able to make them more skilled, so we can pay them more. Making sure they are highly productive. But highly productive does not only come from training but the environment and processes we build and the automation we invest in.”

Going forward, the MoU will allow the company to work with WDA in four other areas, including the SkillsFuture Credit for employees and WDA’s Adult Educator training programme.




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