SINGAPORE: A new web portal promising easier capability and needs-matching between stakeholders in the precision engineering sector was launched on Thursday (May 12).
Named the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) Collaborative Commerce Marketplace (ACCM), the portal hopes to provide a network for business collaboration and interaction between local small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), multi-national corporations (MNCs), A*STAR research institutes and institutes of higher learning.
Likening itself to a "LinkedIn for local manufacturing businesses", the ACCM links companies with similar interests to each other - whether it is an MNC sourcing for prospective suppliers in Singapore, or SMEs hoping to gain insight into the needs of an MNC. On their part, research institutions can also help plug any technology gaps. The portal is also open to all Government agencies, suppliers and industry partners.
The launch is part of a series of new initiatives, aimed at raising the competitiveness of local precision engineering companies, and announced at this year's Precision Engineering Centre of Innovation (PE COI) Annual Conference.
Other initiatives announced include the signing of several memoranda of understanding - one between A*STAR's Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) and the Singapore Precision Engineering and Technology Association (SPETA) to allow association members to accelerate and scale-up their adoption of technology. Another similar MOU between SIMTech and five SMEs allows the five to tap SIMTech's additive manufacturing expertise.
At the unveiling of these initiatives, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran said the precision engineering sector was integral to Singapore’s future economy, and that it will support upgrading the sector for it to grow and remain competitive. But he added that some aspects of the transformation required "solutions that cannot be undertaken by an individual company or even a group of companies".
And as industry trends become more challenging and complex, Mr Iswaran said the solutions might not neatly fit in one particular sector or domain either.
He gave the example of developing an industry-level skills upgrading plan, which requires skills, resources and collective effort from many players, economic and government agencies, and the labour movement.
"This is something that may be beyond the ken or the ability of a particular company or group of companies. And this is where the role of government - working with partners from industry and the labour movement - is critical. Because we can convene that collective capability in order to address those challenges," said Mr Iswaran.
The PE COI Annual conference showcases the capabilities of the local precision engineering industry that keep it competitive, as well as upcoming trends such as the role of 3D printing in the precision engineering sector.