Transcript of a speech delivered by DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the launch of Jabil's Blue Sky Singapore Innovation Centre on 9 November 2017.
Mr. Forbes Alexander, Chief Financial Officer, Jabil
Mr. Erich Hoch, Executive Vice President & Chief Executive Officer, Jabil Digital Solutions
Mr. Lim Boon Heng, Chairman, Temasek Holdings
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to join you this morning at this launch of Jabil’s Blue Sky Singapore Innovation Centre. It is a significant investment, which has taken over a year to develop and launch, and demonstrates the confidence that Jabil has in Singapore.
Since incorporation in 2002, Jabil Singapore has grown tremendously. Today, Singapore is the base for Jabil’s Green Point global headquarters, the regional headquarters for its Electronics Manufacturing Services, its global supply chain control tower and it’s a configure-to-order manufacturing plant. It is also home to more than 400 employees.
This new Blue Sky Singapore Innovation Centre, the first in Asia, is a big step-up in Jabil’s presence in Singapore with more than a hundred additional employees. It adds a new dimension of capabilities in Jabil Singapore with its mandate to develop Advanced Manufacturing solutions, as well as manufacturing technologies. It will, in particular, help transform and serve digital manufacturing and solutions, with a focus on additive manufacturing and flexible hybrid electronics.
It will also complement Jabil’s three other centres globally, which focus on different but related areas like packaging and advanced supply chain management.
Manufacturing is undergoing a revolution globally. Emerging technologies are transforming the factory floor and reconfiguring global value chains, with major implications for how nations and cities compete. The technologies are shortening many value chains, and enabling agile production closer to final markets (e.g. customised, small volume production near the customers).
This manufacturing revolution is both challenge and opportunity for Singapore. We are positioning ourselves to be part of this revolution, and to be part of the new global value chains. It involves two main thrusts:
First, we are developing a thick and interconnected ecosystem around advanced manufacturing. It means not only being a place where the leading edge of manufactured goods are produced (such as semiconductor equipment, biosensors and new materials), but also the cluster of activities that are increasingly being co-located with advanced manufacturing - the R&D and innovation labs that closely integrated with factory production, the design capabilities, and the services that are part of the same value-chain - the data analytics to understand consumer’s changing preferences, IP protection, and the first rate global logistics and digital supply chain management capabilities.
Second, it also means an agile way to develop our human capital, so that we always close to the frontier. The frontiers keep shifting - as the technologies, standards and protocols keep evolving. So while we build on a solid foundation of skills in Singapore, we have to go much further, to develop deep skills as well as to continuously augment our skills. Companies play a very important role in this - in partnership with our tertiary institutions, and our public sector research agencies.
Both these thrusts involve close collaboration between our public and private sector players. For e.g.:
We have set aside S$3.2 billion for research and development in Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 plan.
We have set up platforms for the industry to test advanced manufacturing technologies and processes. A*STAR has launched two model factories tor this purpose – the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) and Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC). Some of our SMEs, like Feinmetall’s digital manufacturing facility, have been fitted out with technology solutions piloted at SIMTech’s model factory.
Singapore has also developed, and is continuing to attract, a sizeable pool of adopters and enablers of advanced manufacturing like Jabil’s Blue Sky Singapore Innovation Centre, ABB in robotics, Accenture’s Centre-of-Excellence for the Internet-of-Things, and Siemens first-of-its-kind fully integrated global Digitalisation Hub.
EDB and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) have just launched a SkillsFuture Series for Advanced Manufacturing, a curated list of modular industry-relevant courses across proficiency levels, and will work closely with companies to help their employees take advantage of these development opportunities. Our tertiary institutions such as Singapore Polytechnic and Nanyang Technological University will expand the range of courses available in this area, in consultation with companies.
We look forward to partnering Jabil Singapore to ensure its workforce is digital-ready and its operations stay plugged in to developments at the frontiers of advanced manufacturing. Jabil can also play an active role in shaping the curricula in this game of agile development of skills and capabilities.
To conclude briefly. We are excited that Jabil has chosen Singapore to be the Asian home of its Blue Sky Innovation Centre, but that’s much work ahead for both of us. We look forward to partnering Jabil as we grow and transform manufacturing in Singapore, for the world.
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