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Singapore’s Supply Chain Initiative to Help SMEs Survive and Grow

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Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat recently announced the launch of an S$18 million (US$13.1 million) Supply Chain 4.0 Initiative. This initiative aims to integrate technology to aid businesses with future disruptions to supply chains. This leads to developing automated and digital solutions like artificial intelligence (AI) to meet the demands of businesses.

AI could assist SMEs with trends that can disrupt supply chains and develop required changes ahead of time. Moreover, the data collected can help businesses forecast demand for new products and build more robust supply and resilient chains.

The investments are spread over two years and spearheaded by the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*Star), which is the government’s research and development arm, teaming up with Design’s Centre for Next Generation Logistics, Singapore University of Technology, and the National University of Singapore and the.

The pandemic revealed supply chain vulnerabilities caused by manufacturing lockdowns and border limitations. Further, the pandemic showed goods’ flow inefficiencies, such as the magnitude of documentation required as the cargo flows go via the supply chain.

Supply chain control tower

A*Star’s Supply Chain Control Tower is where the solutions will be developed. The tower is at the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC), a contemporary platform that merges academia, industry partners, and public sector research institutes to bring research into industrial applications.

Around 50 companies from aerospace, pharmaceuticals, fast-moving consumer goods, semiconductors, and precision engineering shared an interest in participating in the initiative. The data collected from these industries will be used to aid businesses in better managing their supply chains and the broad supply chains.

Strengthening resilience via digitalization of supply chains

Digitalizing supply chains can strengthen their future resilience. Singapore launched the Singapore Trade Data Exchange or simply SGTraDex in mid-2021, facilitating secure data sharing between supply chain ecosystem partners via a common data highway.

SGTraDex is borne out of the Singapore Together Alliance for Action (AfA) efforts on Supply Chain Digitalisation. It enables real-time and transparent physical, financial, and information flows across supply chains, adding trust among participants.

The system connects local, regional, and global data systems, enabling all parties, regardless of their size. The platform is projected to unlock around S$200 million (US$150 million) annual value for the supply chain ecosystem. It will also speed up the customs clearance process, trade financing, and insurance while allowing the sharing of operational data to give more visibility to logistics partners such as shippers and haulers.

The improved visibility will also aid partners in enhancing their asset utilization, boosting operational efficiencies, and improving productivity.

Geopolitical tensions, trade disruptions, and the prolonged impact of Covid-19 have negatively impacted international trade patterns, fast-tracking shifts in trade flows, and supply chains worldwide. This resulted in companies looking for solutions to reinforce their supply chains by improving efficiency and connectivity.

Thanks to projects like SGTraDex, the digitalization of trade and trade finance is already gaining momentum and is expected to be more useful in the future. Learn more about SGTraDex and how financial technology shapes the business world by visiting your banking partner and technology news forums.

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