DPM Heng Swee Keat at the Opening Ceremony of Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific (ITAP) 2019

DPM Heng Swee Keat | 22 October 2019

Speech by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat at the Opening Ceremony of Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific (ITAP) on 22 October 2019.


Your Excellency, Dato Seri Paduka Awang Haji Matsatejo bin Sokiaw, 
Deputy Minister of Energy, Manpower and Industry
Brunei Darussalam

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

Dr Jochen Köckler,
CEO, Deutsche Messe AG

Mr Aloysius Arlando,
CEO, SingEx Holdings

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for inviting me to officiate the opening of the Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific (ITAP) 2019.

Building on the success of the inaugural ITAP last year, ITAP 2019 has grown in scale by 50%, attracting 350 exhibitors across 30 countries this year. This is truly Asia’s leading Industry 4.0 fair, and we warmly welcome 13 country delegations to Singapore and ITAP. I congratulate SingEx and Deutsche Messe for your success in capturing the same spirit of learning and collaboration from Hannover Messe, and bringing it to ITAP.

ITAP brings together leading manufacturers, technology providers and governments in the region to learn about the best and latest technologies on Industry 4.0, and to share our experiences and expand our networks of partnerships.

Industry 4.0 is now

Industry 4.0 is upon us. This forum is timely as we gather to discuss its implications.

We see the impact of Industry 4.0 on many factory floors, from Shenzhen to Stuttgart. The world of software and hardware is continuing to converge.

Cyber-physical systems have enabled companies to better collect, analyse and gain insights into each part of the manufacturing process.

Companies have optimized supply chains by using artificial intelligence and predictive analytics.

New manufacturing techniques, including 3D printing, have enabled companies to produce parts more cost effectively and in shorter time.

To fully benefit from Industry 4.0, companies, industries and governments need to transform their processes and operations.

At the same time, we need to take into account the challenges that the rapid advancement of technologies present.

Technological disruption will render some industries and jobs obsolete.

This disruption is more acute as it is taking place at a time when the global economy is facing significant headwinds, with weakening support for global trade and greater uncertainty.

Manufacturing industries have come under pressure, and companies are consolidating their operations.

Those with adaptable, productive and cost-effective factories will have the headroom to innovate and reinvent themselves, and the capacity to overcome the downturn.

Those with less efficient facilities will be under severe pressure.

ASEAN as a regional manufacturing powerhouse

Here in Southeast Asia, we want to capture the growing opportunities brought about by Industry 4.0.

Growth in this region continues to outperform global growth in real GDP terms.

By 2030, ASEAN is projected to be the fourth largest single market in the world, coming behind the US, China and the EU.

And the fastest growing middle class in the world, with a strong, dynamic and tech-savvy workforce.

Many ASEAN countries are implementing plans to drive innovation in manufacturing and the adoption of technology.

For instance, Indonesia has INDI 4.0, Malaysia has Industry4WRD, and Vietnam has Resolution 52.

Here in Singapore, we are transforming our economy, including the manufacturing sectors, through our Industry Transformation Maps.

Research and innovation in advanced manufacturing is also a key emphasis of our Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 (RIE2020) plan.

At the same time, global supply chains are evolving.

Manufacturers are increasingly seeking to diversify their production base. 

They also see benefits in producing near to market, as consumption in the region grows.

Hence, despite the near-term global economic uncertainty, the future for manufacturing in this region remains promising.

Southeast Asia is well-positioned to be a regional manufacturing powerhouse, and the home for factories of the future.

However, for ASEAN to realise this potential, we must work together to attract companies to this region and build regional capabilities.

While countries have borders, companies do not.

Many manufacturers have activities across countries in the region.

These activities are deeply inter-connected and their supply-chains are highly integrated.

One way to attract higher value activities in ASEAN is to better integrate our systems, particularly data and information. Open data use is one of the strategic objectives of the ASEAN Connectivity 2025 initiative.

If data and information can flow more freely between manufacturers in the region, it can help companies better connect the dots, and link up their production and operations.

This will have a multiplier effect on value chains and economies in the region.

Singapore hopes to catalyse this effort with the Smart Industry Readiness Index (SIRI). SIRI is a management planning tool to help companies determine how to start, scale and sustain their Industry 4.0 transformation efforts.

To kick-start the sharing of best practices and industry-level insights, Singapore will be sharing the current state of industrial transformation across our manufacturing sectors. This is based on the insights gathered from 200 Singapore-base manufacturers. The Singapore Economic Development Board will be releasing the SIRI Manufacturing Transformation Insights Report later today.

We hope to facilitate data and information sharing across companies and countries. To do so, we need a common language for the data shared to be mutually understood. SIRI provides this interoperability.

We want to enable wider access to SIRI, so that it is not just a platform for Singapore and our companies, but also for the region. To do so, we are launching the SIRI assessor programme, which will train participants to equip themselves with the skills to use SIRI and assess the state of their Industry 4.0 readiness.

We hope that SIRI can contribute to the sharing of data, insights, and best practices across companies in the region and even beyond, and create more opportunities for us to learn from one another.

Singapore as a Global-Asia node for manufacturing

Singapore is also redoubling our efforts to transform our manufacturing sectors. Technology has not only enabled us to produce goods of higher value, it has also alleviated two key constraints faced in the manufacturing sector – space and manpower.


I opened Micron’s new multi-billion dollar fabrication plant in Singapore recently, and visited GlobalFoundries’ fabrication plants yesterday. They have state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities.


These are lights-out factories. The manufacturing floors are fully automated, machines and processes are monitored and controlled remotely, and data analytics has enabled predictive maintenance and faster trouble-shooting.


There are also other highly advanced manufacturing facilities in Singapore – enabled by robotics, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and Big Data.


For instance, Siemens will set up its Advanced Manufacturing Transformation Centre in Singapore, which will showcase state of the art solutions – such as digital twin facility models to help enterprises simulate their operations in a real-world environment. It will also house Siemens’ first Additive Manufacturing Experience Centre outside Germany – with end-to-end additive manufacturing production line with Siemens’ technology partners.


These beacons represent the frontier of advanced manufacturing that other manufacturers can look up to.


I hope that businesses will continue to innovate and come up with creative applications.


Research findings in the laboratory do not necessarily lead to innovation.


To translate such findings into resolve real-world challenges – we need close partnerships between the academia and industry players, and conducive environments to cultivate and incubate innovations.


This has been a key focus of RIE 2020.

Close partnerships between academia and industry players

Partnerships between research institutions and industry players can help translate research discoveries into commercial applications.


We have seen the growth of corporate laboratories in Singapore, such as the Rolls Royce Corporate Laboratory at NTU, which I visited recently.  Corporate labs, and other collaborations between academia and industry, accelerate the discovery and commercialisation of new discoveries.


At the same time, these partnerships can also help to support companies in developing their technology, skills and talent needs.


Bosch Rexroth is a good example. They set up their regional training center here to deliver skills training and to develop a pipeline of Industry 4.0 specialists, not just for their own company, but also for other players in the industry.


I am pleased to note that the first group of eleven companies has come on board to sign the MOU on skills partnership with Bosch Rexroth, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), JTC and Singapore Polytechnic.


Ultimately, the successful application of Industry 4.0 technologies hinges on our ability to uplift and transform jobs, and create innovations that can improve lives. People must lie at the heart of technology.

Conducive environments to cultivate and incubate innovations

The Bosch Rexroth centre will be based in the Jurong Innovation District (JID), which brings me to my next point – the importance of creating a conducive environment to cultivate and incubate these technological innovations.


We launched the JID to fundamentally change the way organisations collaborate – by bringing the various nodes of the advanced manufacturing ecosystem together, into a single district to create a one-stop campus.


This campus is shaping up well, and companies who recognise this game changing approach are joining the ecosystem.


They include Industry 4.0 giants like Siemens and Flowserve, local solution provider ISDN, and research institutions such as A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology and the National Metrology Centre.


A*STAR will also build its new Next Generation Hyper Personalisation Line in JID.


Moving beyond standardized products and mass manufacturing, this will enable manufacturers to address specific customer needs.


Manufacturers can partner A*STAR to co-develop flexible and integrated process innovations that will enable on-demand, customizable production lines.


At the same time, the Singapore Government is also working with Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs) to better address the concerns and needs of their businesses.


Several TACs, working with Enterprise Singapore, have set up a Manufacturing Alliance to look at the needs of manufacturers across different sub-sectors, and support their Industry 4.0 implementation.


Singapore stands ready to partner you to develop new and innovative solutions for the advanced manufacturing industry – here in Singapore, for the region and the world.


In conclusion, I believe that there is great potential in Industry 4.0 and in advanced manufacturing. In the spirit of collaboration, I encourage all of us to take this opportunity to share our experiences, learn from one another, build new partnerships and strengthen existing ones. How well we collaborate will determine how well we succeed in the coming years.


Thank you.