Speech by Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade & Industry at the Future of Manufacturing Summit on 17 October 2018

Your Excellency Dr Ulrich Sante, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Singapore,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,


  1. A very good morning. I am pleased to join you today at the Future of Manufacturing Summit, the flagship conference of the Industrial Transformation – ASIA PACIFIC (ITAP).

    Singapore is well-positioned to become a technology and innovation hub for manufacturing.


  2. Yesterday, we have heard from many speakers, including DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Minister Chan Chun Sing, on Industry 4.0 and the opportunities for Asia-Pacific and ASEAN. ASEAN, in particular, is expected to grow at a yearly average of 5.2% from 2018 to 2022 according to recent OECD reports. Some experts have also projected ASEAN to become the fourth largest single market in the world by 2050, after the EU, US, and China, with an additional 14 million jobs generated in the region by 2025.

  3. At the same time, digital connectivity and the convergence of advanced technologies such as robotics and automation, artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing are redefining the nature of manufacturing. These digital industrial technologies, also commonly known as Industry 4.0, offer immense opportunities for global innovation that could enhance manufacturing productivity and competitiveness.

  4. Singapore has become a choice location for many global companies to carry out high-value manufacturing activities. With strong advanced manufacturing capabilities in sectors such as aerospace, electronics, chemicals and precision engineering , Singapore is well-placed to ride on the opportunities of this digitalisation wave.

  5. Singapore’s approach towards Industry 4.0 is not simply about technology. At the heart of our Future of Manufacturing (FoM) Strategy, is a strategy about how we can better organize ourselves, and how our workforce and companies can respond more nimbly to rapidly changing economic and technological trends.

    Public-private partnerships are key to improving the competitiveness in our manufacturing sector.


  6. Firstly, public-private partnerships are key to our FoM efforts. According to the World Economic Forum’s “Readiness for the Future of Production Report 2018”, many of the challenges cannot be solved by the private sector or public sector alone. For countries to harness the full potential of the technological advances impacting manufacturing, new and innovative approaches to public-private collaboration are required.

    i) Industrial, Internet of Things (IoT), Innovation (I3) Platform


  7. In Singapore, the Government has put in place a number of platforms to catalyse collaboration between the public and private sectors. One such platform is the Industrial, Internet of Things, Innovation (I3) [Pronounced “eye-cube”] Platform established by A*STAR as a consortium to develop and accelerate the adoption of IoT technologies and solutions by the industry. This platform focuses on developing and integrating smart manufacturing technologies such as sensors, industrial data analytics, and cybersecurity, for applications that extend beyond the factory floor.

  8. I am happy to note that 17 companies, including Rolls-Royce and local SME, Genesis Networks, have signed an MoU to establish long term partnerships with I3. I3 is currently working with end users from the aerospace, offshore and marine sectors, to develop and test-bed technology solutions.

  9. These 17 companies, along with several other companies have expressed interest to be part of the consortium on Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The consortium will help link end users to solution providers across the IIoT value chain, to co-develop new technologies with A*STAR Research Institutes and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) in Singapore. SMEs and startups can benefit from this open collaboration with various consortium members, as they upgrade their capabilities and position themselves as solution providers to the end users in the consortium.

    ii) Singapore-Germany 2+2 Cooperation Framework


  10. Our public-private partnerships extend beyond Singapore. Earlier this year, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and Singapore’s economic agencies – led by A*STAR, launched the “Singapore-Germany 2+2 Cooperation Framework” bilateral grant call for public sector research performers and industrial partners, to support R&D cooperation between Singapore and Germany. Singapore and Germany share similar goals in building knowledge-based, innovation and technology-driven economies to achieve economic prosperity. The A*STAR-BMBF partnership reflects these goals.

  11. I am pleased to announce that 3 promising research projects have been selected in the advanced manufacturing R&D grant call – in the areas of Additive Manufacturing and Enhanced Ultraprecision Manufacturing. I look forward to presenting the awards to the companies today.

    As the manufacturing industry transforms, the Government will build a skilled and future-ready workforce, and help all levels of the workforce to adapt and grow.


  12. Secondly, as the manufacturing industry transforms, the government is committed to building a skilled and future-ready workforce, by helping all levels of the workforce to adapt and grow. A successful “Industry 4.0” in Singapore is only possible with “Worker 4.0”.

    i) SSG’s Advanced Manufacturing CET Strategy


  13. Building on the sectoral Skills Frameworks, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) has also developed an Advanced Manufacturing Continuing Education and Training (CET) Strategy to drive talent attraction, retention and development in advanced manufacturing, and foster a culture of lifelong learning to develop a skilled, future-ready workforce.

  14. To support this, I am pleased to announce that Temasek Polytechnic (TP) and Harbin Institute of Technology Robot Group (HRG) have forged a partnership. Under this partnership, a joint laboratory in TP will be set up, to allow SMEs to test-bed and implement robotics solutions. TP will also tap on HRG’s expertise to enhance its CET capabilities in Industry 4.0, and develop Train-the-Trainer and industrial attachment programmes to train both TP’s faculty members and employees in SMEs to build their in-house capabilities.

  15. I am also happy to note that Singapore Polytechnic and local enterprise Univac Precision Engineering, will be signing a Memorandum of Collaboration (MoC) later today to develop flexible workplace learning models that can be adopted by the Precision Engineering industry, an important enabler of the manufacturing sector.

  16. Let me congratulate our IHLs and their partners for your timely efforts to support workforce upgrading in our manufacturing sector.

    ii) NTUC’s Training Council


  17. Over the past years, the labour movement has significantly stepped up its efforts to raise the competitiveness of our workers. In April this year, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) set up a Training Council to promote training as a way of life and to support the Government’s industry transformation efforts. In cooperation with unions, IHLs, professional associations, and companies, the NTUC Training Council will take charge of curating and delivering training and job placement initiatives for workers across the 6 clusters and 23 industries supported by the Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs).

  18. I am happy to announce that a Training Executive Committee (EXCO), which I will chair, has been set up to coordinate the implementation of training efforts. To support the manufacturing industry and our workers, the Training EXCO will look into including the implementation progress of the Economic Development Board’s (EDB) Singapore Smart Industry Readiness Index (SSIRI). This platform will enable the Labour Movement and the Government to work together more closely to operationalise the Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs), and in particular, to further skills development and jobs placement strategies under the ITMs.



  19. The FoM Summit is an excellent platform to share valuable insights on various aspects of the future of manufacturing, forge new collaborations, and strengthen existing partnerships. I encourage our companies here today to network and share their ideas and experiences, with a view to forming strong partnerships with one another, as well as with our agencies, IHLs and NTUC. By working together, the Singapore manufacturing sector can continue to remain competitive and prosper.

  20. On this note, I wish everyone a fruitful and engaging session.