On a recent study mission to Japan., Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck learnt about new technologies to enhance productivity and reduce manpower reliance in the manufacturing and services sectors. He led a 19-strong Singapore delegation, which included Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) president Douglas Foo as well as representatives of local companies and government agencies.
The Singapore delegation visited 17 enterprises in Tokyo, Takasaki and Osaka, including the Takasaki City Government, OWNDAYS, MORINAGA and OMRON.
Some of the key learnings are below.
- A 100-room hotel fully integrated with robotics solutions, reduced its manpower need by operating with only seven backroom staff.
- An e-commerce company leveraged big data captured from its online purchasing platform, to anticipate surges in demand and increase the stock for specific products in a timely manner. Fully automated robots were used to transport products within its distribution centre.
Minister Teo noted that Japanese enterprises are known for their innovation and constant striving for improvement. He said: "We have seen first-hand how technology plays an important role in a company’s lean transformation journey."
President of SMF, Foo, talked about the role of HR: "Besides leveraging technology to enhance productivity, lower manpower reliance, they also adopt progressive HR practices to motivate employees in embracing business model innovation and new innovation-driven productivity practices."
Describing the Japan trip as fruitful, Harry Toh, director of family-run Orchid Laundry, commented: "I saw how Japanese firms are making use of automation and Internet of things (IoT) technologies, which are strategies that can be implemented for my company as we are expecting to ramp up our business."
Summing up Singapore's progress on thriving in a manpower-lean environment, Minister Teo noted:
- The government is supporting companies that adopt the 71 solutions pre-qualified by IMDA and other sector agencies such as SPRING Singapore.
- These ready-to-go solutions can be adopted quickly by enterprises.
- Those that are keen to transform can apply for assistance in their lean enterprise development efforts under the LED Scheme.
- Firms which are interested to find out how to leverage digitisation or technology adoption in their business are encouraged to approach any SME Centres.
Photos / Ministry of Manpower