Embracing Industry 4.0 technologies to enable business transformation

Tan See Leng, Singapore’s Manpower Minister, urged manufacturing firms in Singapore, especially SMEs, to continue to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies.
By: | July 15, 2021

First row (from left): Tan Choon Shian, Chief Executive of Workforce Singapore; Tan See Leng, Singapore’s Manpower Minister; and Lim Ming Yan, Chairman of  Workforce Singapore & Chairman of Singapore Business Federation.

Embrace change, and be the agent of change, urged Singapore’s Manpower Minister Tan See Leng, as he encouraged more manufacturing companies, especially SMEs, to tap on government programmes such as the Industry 4.0 Human Capital Initiative (IHCI).

Speaking after completing a tour of local firm SME Souperfoods, Tan gave an update on the IHCI programme, which was launched collectively by Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) in March 2020 to enable the successful adoption of industry 4.0 (i4.0) technologies, as well as developing a higher-skilled and more productive local workforce.

Close to 90 companies, including Souperfoods, have benefitted from IHCI since its inauguration, with more then 1,500 job roles identified to be redesigned. “WSG and SBF will be expanding the IHCI to help another 210 manufacturing companies, in particular our SMEs, adopt i4.0 solutions, transform jobs and reskill their workers by 2022,” said Tan.

The IHCI adopts a multi-pronged approach to drive human capital transformation along with i4.0 adoption. The programme starts with the IHCI Self-Help Portal, which helps companies analyse and identify gaps in their human capital practices and digital processes.

It is followed by the eight-week IHCI Enabler Programme where companies are guided by dedicated experts from McKinsey & Company and EY to tackle priority areas such as asset efficiency, labour productivity, inventory optimisation, planning efficiency and quality performance.

Tan Choon Shian, Chief Executive of Workforce Singapore, added, “The shift towards i4.0 means manufacturers must adopt a new way of working, automating processes, and making data-driven conclusions to optimise and maximise output and production. Along with digital transformation, jobs need to be redesigned with the intent to build up human capital capability to support the change.

“By embarking on IHCI, companies will have the practical know-how to implement i4.0 technologies in tandem with charting a strategic HR roadmap for holistic transformation. Companies will not only reap practical rewards such as improved production and cost savings, but also a skilled workforce to take on jobs of the future.”

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To further help manufacturing companies grow and reskill their workforce, WSG also launched the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for i4.0 professionals, executives and associates earlier this year.

The programme aims to provide new hires and existing staff with the knowledge and skills in i4.0, which will allow them to either make a career switch into the manufacturing industry, or be reskilled to take on higher-value jobs in their existing companies. Over 200 trainees are expected to benefit from the PCP by 2023.