Food manufacturers must accelerate digitisation

Singapore aims to make going digital simpler for food manufacturers

About 1,000 food manufacturers and 50,500 workers can take advantage of the Food Manufacturing Industry Digital Plan (IDP) launched by Low Yen Ling, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, during her visit to Tiong Lian Food Pte Ltd today.

The IDP comprises a three-stage digital roadmap that charts out the different digital solutions food manufacturing SMEs can adopt at each stage of their business growth and digital maturity, as well as a corresponding roadmap of training programmes to equip workers with the right skillsets.

The IDP was jointly developed by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), following consultation with early adopters of digital solutions, as well as industry partners including the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) and the Food Innovation and Resource Centre (FIRC).

A step-by-step guide on digital adoption for food manufacturing SMEs

The IDP is part of the SMEs Go Digital Programme which aims to make going digital simple for SMEs. It provides a step-by-step guide on the digital solutions that SMEs can adopt at these three stages of growth:

  • Stage 1 gets SMEs ready for the digital economy and lists the basic digital solutions that help them streamline operations and optimise the use of their resources. Solutions such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for sales and inventory management will automate labour-intensive tasks, improving productivity and providing higher-value work for employees.
  • Stage 2 provides digital solutions for SMEs that are more ready to scale up. The solutions enable SMEs to integrate and connect key processes along the production value chain, as well as access new markets. For example, manufacturing analytics can be used to provide demand forecast for products based on trend analysis, while manufacturing operations management solutions enable real-time visibility of production status and performance to optimise operations. Solutions such as e-commerce allow businesses to reach out to new customers.
  • Stage 3 identifies advanced digital technologies that SMEs can adopt to strengthen their competitive edge. These include technologies such as Augmented Reality to conduct training for employees as well as the use of Artificial Intelligence to identify utilisation patterns and recommend maintenance activities along the production line.

Dilys Boey assistant chief executive officer of ESG said the food manufacturing industry must accelerate its pace of digitalisation to deal with challenges, such as changing consumer preferences and disruptions to supply chain.

“By making use of digital tools to reap higher efficiencies, optimise resources and access new customers, our companies will be able to raise their competitive edge and scale up,” she said. “The Food Manufacturing IDP can be the first step in helping our food manufacturers acquire new digital capabilities that will benefit both company and employees.”
Online self-assessment checklist and training roadmap

To make it easier for SMEs to embark on their digitalisation journeys, SMEs can make use of an online self-assessment checklist to help them better understand their digital maturity and readiness, as well as identify gaps in their digital capabilities. It takes into consideration factors such as the SME’s current business operations, level of digitalisation and business expansion plans. The checklist is accessible here.

To ensure that workers are also equipped with the right skills to stay relevant and support the SME’s digitalisation journey, the IDP also includes a Digital Training Roadmap to guide the industry in preparing their workforce with the necessary skills to adopt digital solutions.




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