Singapore manufacturers look to the future

Manufacturing is set to be a key driver for the future of one of the Asia-Pacific region's strongest economic nations, according to experts in Singapore. 

Even with challenges facing local and international manufacturers, conditions in Singapore are looking positive for manufacturing. Despite grappling with rising labour costs, trade barriers and an unsure global economy, the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community is expected to create opportunities. 

Singapore Manufacturing Federation President Douglas Foo revealed the primary benefit of the 2015 agreement would be a "harmonisation within the whole ASEAN community".

"With that push at the top end to move and try to harmonise the whole ASEAN Economic Community, I think the manufacturing [sector] will have a very key potential in playing a much bigger role in how you place yourself within that bigger ecosystem," he explained.

Contributing close to 20 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product (GDP), manufacturing is a vital sector for the country. Growth in relevant industries, such as chemical and biomedical initiatives, has a significant influence on the nation's overall performance.

It is therefore unsurprising that manufacturing is a key focus for Singapore's future, with research and development of particular interest.

In fact, economists believe that the future of the industry may not lie in the actual creation and building of products, but instead in relevant services tied to this sector. 

"[This means] looking at things like research and development, or design or even looking at the logistics distribution or product testing capabilities, and these are actually the kind[s] of services that will attract even higher value-add," United Overseas Bank Economist Francis Tan revealed.

"And if you're attracting even higher value-add, it means you are seeing an increase in the labour productivity, and I think in the long term, this is a good strategy and a good way to go," he added. 

This trend toward manufacturing services highlights the need for business owners to be prepared for shifts in demands and activity in their industry.

Designing or manufacturing in Singapore? Contact us at SOLIDWORKS to see how we can help inspire engineering innovation and improve every aspect of your product development.