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Infocomm Media Development Authority Singapore releases Logistics Industry Digital Plan for SMEs

Infocomm Media Development Authority Singapore releases Logistics Industry Digital Plan for SMEs

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has released
the Logistics Industry Digital Plan (IDP) for SMEs, to help SMEs level up as
well as push ecosystem-wide innovations for the sector, driving competitive
advantage in a Digital Economy. The creation of IDPs under the SMEs
Go Digital Programme
was announced
in this year’s budget
by Finance Minister, Mr. Heng Swee Kiat. This is the
first one of the IDPs.

In 2015, the Transportation and Storage sector, which
includes logistics, contributed 7.4% to Singapore’s GDP and employed over 8% of
the total workforce. The Logistics Industry Transformation Map (ITM), revealed
in November 2016, identified strategies to catalyse enterprise level efforts to
transform and grow the industry through productivity and innovation. It also
focuses on developing strong local talent and enterprises.

The Logistics IDP for SMEs was developed by IMDA with
support from the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and SPRING
Singapore.

It is targeted at local SME logistics companies operating in
the areas of freight forwarding, warehousing and storage and/or land
transportation in Singapore. It aims to provide them a guide to digital
solutions that are specific to enhancing logistics operations and businesses.

It will provide step-by-step advice to help SMEs assess
their digital readiness and identify digitalisation opportunities relevant for
their businesses, as well as identify skill gaps in their workforce to support
their digitalisation.

The Logistics IDP shall also guide SME logistics companies
towards participating in impactful national innovation initiatives such as In-Mall
Distribution
, Federated Lockers, the HIVE (Highly Interconnected and
Vibrant E-trade) portal and the National Trade Platform (NTP).

The Logistics IDP is a living document to be updated over
time as digitalisation of the industry progresses and new technologies are
introduced and made relevant for the sector.

The Logistics IDP for SMEs comprises four components:  An industry digital guide, including a
self-assessment checklist; a list of pre-approved digital solutions and various
assistance channels; projects co-created by IMDA and industry leaders to uplift
whole sector; and a skills framework.

An industry
digital guide, including a self-assessment checklist

The industry digital guide provides a reference on solutions
relevant for SME logistics companies across 3 stages:

The first stage is ‘Getting
Digital Economy Ready
’. Ready-to-go digital solutions are identified to
enable SME logistics companies to streamline business processes, enable seamless
data flow and improve efficiency.

Growing in the
Digital Economy
’ is the second stage. Here, more advanced digital solutions
will enable SME logistics companies to digitally connect with their business
partners within the ecosystem or in the same value chain, facilitating tighter
business collaborations and more comprehensive service offerings with service
partners through resource and demand aggregation.

The final stage is ‘Leaping
Ahead
’. Digital solutions will help SMEs to maximise resource-value through
advanced automation technologies. This includes the harnessing of aggregated
data drawn from various systems to make informed business decisions involving
themselves and their business partners in the ecosystem.

A Self-Assessment Checklist will be made available online
where SME logistics companies can assess and identify their digital readiness
and the digitalisation opportunities based on a broad understanding of their
business operations, current level of digitalisation, and business expansion
plans.

For a more comprehensive review of their business, the
companies can approach SME Centre business advisors for free business diagnosis
and advice on relevant digital solutions. SME Centre business advisors will
also refer SMEs that require specialist advice on more advanced digital
solutions, such as data analytics and cybersecurity, to the SME
Digital Tech Hub
.

Pre-approved
digital solutions

SMEs requiring productivity tools such as RFID-enabled
solutions will continue to receive support through access to pre-approved
digital technology solutions. The SMEs go Digital programme, which was rolled out in April 2017, helps SMEs in the adoption and use of digital technology. 

SMEs can visit the Tech Depot for more information on
these solutions. The Tech Depot is a one-stop, centralised platform under the SME Portal
aimed at improving SMEs’ access to technology and digital solutions.

Sector-wide projects
co-created by IMDA and industry leaders

IMDA will also identify projects that aim to uplift the
whole sector and help SMEs to grow in that sector. IMDA will work with large companies
or industry leaders to co-create the solutions in such projects in the best
interest of SMEs and at the same time align with national initiatives such as
the National Trade Platform.

One of the first projects is the tripartite partnership
between IMDA and cloud solutions provider, VCargo Cloud, together with 3 major
players in the logistics sector, namely Bollore Logistics (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.,
Dimerco Express Singapore Pte. Ltd., and L.C.H. Lockton Pte. Ltd. Through MOIs,
these major logistics players will lead their SME clients through the
digitalisation process using VCargo Cloud’s eCargo Consolidation Platform. This
is supposed to help SME freight forwarders or shippers to lower freight rates
and develop internal capabilities and efficiencies.

At the same time, large freight forwarders or insurance
providers can enjoy an additional source of revenue by serving SME freight
forwarders or shippers. As a result, data is available for contribution to the
National Trade Platform.  

To further efforts to create sector-wide innovations, an MOI
has been signed between IMDA, SMU (Singapore Management University), Fujitsu
Limited and A*Star (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) to develop a
solution to optimise deliveries into malls, Offsite consolidation centres and
any participating industrial facilities or drop-off points. This research
project will address the large-scale computational requirements and
optimisation for the growing number of trucks and delivery trips across
Singapore.

This will also form a basis to extend the adoption of
artificial Intelligence (AI), to be incorporated into this solution for sector
wide optimisation in a steady state.

A skills framework

The Skills Framework for Logistics, which was launched on 22
September 2017, identifies a spectrum of skillsets, career pathways and job
roles to cater to the new digital workforce. With the identification of the new
skills sets, companies can also tap on Workforce Singapore’s (WSG) Adapt and
Grow initiatives such as the Professional Conversion Programmes. Concurrently,
the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) programme will support the Logistics IDP by
offering various programmes to develop ICT manpower needs to help businesses in
their digitalisation journey.

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image
: Zairon/ CC BY-SA 4.0