New Centre and Upgrading Programme Launched by A*STAR SIMTech and Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) to Spur Manufacturing Productivity

The Manufacturing Productivity Technology Centre (MPTC), a first of its kind in Singapore, is a rich resource of A*STAR SIMTech technologies showcased under one roof.

Together with the launch of the new Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Operations MaNagement and Innovation (OMNI) Programme targeted at PMETs, the manufacturing sector will be the recipient of two new initiatives targeted at heightening the sector’s productivity efforts.

SINGAPORE, 7 October 2011: Two new initiatives to spur productivity, the Manufacturing Productivity Technology Centre (MPTC), a first of its kind in Singapore, and the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Operations Management and Innovation (OMNI) Programme were launched today by Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Minister of State for Trade & Industry and National Development at the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).
One-stop Resource for Manufacturing Innovations

The MPTC consolidates SIMTech’s technologies and capabilities developed over the years; under one roof. It will serve as a rich and valuable resource for companies adopting or planning to adopt SIMTech-developed technologies, tools and capabilities in automation, processes and systems to gain “step-change” improvement in manufacturing productivity. Among those that the Centre aims to enthuse to innovate, are companies that have yet to get on the innovation bandwagon. MPTC will also equip Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) with the know-how to deploy these technologies to develop high-value products. By facilitating access to interdisciplinary research capabilities, technologies and providing avenues for technological training, the centre targets to be a knowledge hub for manufacturing innovations that will enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the industry. (Refer to Annex A for more details on MPTC)

The Centre houses exhibits that include technologies, samples, prototypes and implemented systems under three themes that align with the productivity objectives of companies, such as enhanced efficiency, effectiveness and value creation. Success stories of companies which have employed SIMTech technologies and reaped productivity gains of up to 100 percent will also be showcased. One such company is Tru-Marine.

Tru-Marine is a SME which specialises in the repair of turbochargers. The company adopted the SIMTech-developed Laser Aided Additive Manufacturing (LAAM) technology, replacing its slower and less efficient method of manual arc welding. The innovative move has cut short a process that used to take up to four days, down to as fast as two hours. This has also earned Tru-Marine the advantage of being the first mover locally in innovative repair technology for turbochargers.

Recognising that innovation is key to productivity and ultimately competitiveness, seven manufacturing companies, have signed a Memoranda of Understanding to initiate productivity improvement collaborations with SIMTech. Taking a step further, GLOBALFOUNDARIES, a global full-service semiconductor foundry, has signed a five-year Manufacturing Productivity Enhancement master plan agreement with SIMTech.

Dr Lim Ser Yong, SIMTech’s Executive Director, said: “MPTC is set up to spur manufacturing productivity and innovation. Companies can work with SIMTech to develop new innovations by identifying productivity gaps and adopting suitable technologies. The centre also facilitates interdisciplinary research in manufacturing productivity technology, methodologies, systems and other training opportunities that address the challenges in implementing productivity improvements and value creation through innovation. The centre will work with researchers and industries to promote productivity through partnerships, knowledge transfer and technology transfer.”
New Skills Programme to Spur Innovative Mindset

Complementing its suite of innovation offerings, MPTC will also equip engineering professionals with the technical knowhow on operational assessment and productivity improvement. In this regard, SIMTech has collaborated with WDA to implement the new Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Operations MaNagement and Innovation (OMNI) Programme. This enhanced programme rides on the success of the WSQ SME Manufacturing Excellence (S.M.E.) Programme launched in 2010.

WSQ S.M.E. Programme trains a pool of Operations Improvement Champions or “TechnoVation” Managers to champion and implement operations improvement in their organisations. Within a short span of less than 1 year since the scheme was piloted, a total of 47 managers from 26 companies have been trained under the programme. All 26 companies have applied and implemented the operations improvement strategies and raised productivity from 30% to 230%. (Refer to Annex B companies with productivity improvement)

As such, the WSQ S.M.E. Programme will be extended to all manufacturing companies, under the brand new name Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Operations MaNagement and Innovation (OMNI) Programme which has been enhanced and customised to address the operational challenges of different manufacturing industries. The new programme has also been strengthened to provide funding support to companies which implement operations improvement strategies. Companies will be eligible for a grant of up to 50 percent of the implementation costs.

WDA will be injecting an additional $2 million in the next three years to train a bigger pool of operations management champions under the OMNI WSQ Programme. This programme will help further enhance workplace productivity, benefitting not only the individual workforce but also companies’ excellence in manufacturing.

Mr Wong Hong Kuan, Chief Executive of WDA said, “I am glad to see the initial success and effectiveness of the SME Manufacturing Excellence WSQ Programme bringing about a quantum leap in manufacturing productivity. With the new WSQ OMNI programme, we look forward to the operational management champions creating and sustaining a momentum of transformation. This will enhance the competitiveness and value-add of manufacturing companies, which are critical elements in helping them stay relevant in challenging times ahead”.

Published: 07 Oct 2011

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