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A*STAR's SIMTech and Singapore WDA Launch SME Manufacturing Excellence (S.M.E) Programme



Singapore, 3 August 2010 -- (ACN Newswire) -- Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing sector seeking to raise their productivity and capability, received a shot in the arm today with the launch of the new SME Manufacturing Excellence (S.M.E) Programme. Designed to groom a pool of Process Improvement Champions or "TechnoVation Managers", the programme aims to train managers in Operations Management Innovation (OMNI). With the knowledge and skills acquired from the programme, managers in the SMEs can help raise productivity, and improve business and operational excellence within their companies.

Developed by A*STAR's Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), the S.M.E. Programme will be offered under the Singapore Workforce Development Agency's (WDA) Precision Engineering Workforce Skills Qualifications (PE WSQ) framework. The programme aims to help managers in SMEs embark on productivity and innovation driven growth. In addition to undergoing classroom training, trainees will have the opportunity to apply the OMNI methodology to address specific operational challenges in their companies, under the mentorship of SIMTech's trainers. Trainees who complete the S.M.E programme can take another two relevant PE WSQ modules to obtain the PE WSQ Graduate Diploma in Manufacturing Operations Management qualification.

Companies sending their managers to the programme will enjoy 70% course fee funding support plus absentee payroll from WDA. Over the next two to three years, WDA and SIMTech aim to train a pool of 150 "TechnoVation Managers" to champion and lead operational improvements in their organisations. SMEs interested in the programme can contact SIMTech for more details.

"The launch of the S.M.E. Programme is timely to help SMEs initiate and implement ongoing innovations to shift towards productivity-led growth. We are happy that our research investment in Operations Management Innovation methodology has been proven in pilot industry applications and is now applied to help SMEs in their operation efficiency improvement. The pilot trial participation of the programme by organisations before the launch is a testimony of the need for such a programme for local enterprises to harness technology for growth," commented Dr Lim Ser Yong, Executive Director of SIMTech.

SMEs that adopt the methodology under the S.M.E. programme can reasonably expect to achieve at least 5% improvement in productivity of the targeted areas within one year of implementation of the operations improvement initiative.

"WDA is pleased to work with SIMTech on this programme for SME managers. Participants can expect to acquire useful knowledge and skills that will help them raise productivity and drive operational improvements within their companies," said Mr Chan Heng Kee, Chief Executive, Singapore Workforce Development Agency.

Kim Hiap Lee is an example of an SME that is benefiting from leveraging on technology. Mr Thomas Yeo, a manager of Kim Hiap Lee, a subsidiary of LHT Holdings Limited, and a graduate of the PE WSQ Graduate Diploma in Manufacturing Operations Management, worked with SIMTech to implement a Radio Frequency Identification-based system to track and trace pallets rented out to customers in Singapore and Malaysia. Productivity gains are significant since the implementation of the system. The improvement translated to S$ 52,500 potential savings each year for the company and S$ 375,000 potential savings for its customers.


About Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech)

The Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) is a research institute of the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). SIMTech develops high value manufacturing technology and human capital to contribute to the competitiveness of the Singapore industry. It collaborates with multinational and local companies in the precision engineering, electronics, semiconductor, medical technology, aerospace, automotive, marine, logistics and other sectors. For more information, please visit: http://www.SIMTech.a-star.edu.sg.

About Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA)

The Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) enhances the competitiveness of our workforce by encouraging workers to learn for life and advance with skills. In today's economy, most jobs require not just knowledge, but also skills. WDA collaborates with employers, industry associations, the Union and training organisations, to develop and strengthen the Continuing Education and Training system that is skills-based, open and accessible, as a mainstream pathway for all workers - young and older, from rank and file to professionals and executives - to upgrade and advance in their careers and lives. For more information, please visit http://www.wda.gov.sg.

About Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is the lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation-driven Singapore. A*STAR oversees 14 biomedical sciences, and physical sciences and engineering research institutes, and nine consortia & centre, which are located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis, as well as their immediate vicinity. A*STAR supports Singapore's key economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry. It also supports extramural research in the universities, hospitals, research centres, and with other local and international partners. For more information about A*STAR, please visit http://www.a-star.edu.sg.

Contact:

Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology, A*STAR
Ms Lee Swee Heng
Science and Engineering Institutes
DID: +65 6793 8368
M: +65 9620 3902
Email: leesh@scei.a-star.edu.sg

SingaporeWorkforce Development Agency
Ms Jacqueline Chan
Corporate and Marketing Communications Division
DID: +65 6512 6573
M: +65 9727 3849
Email: jacqueline_chan@wda.gov.sg