In the recent Microsoft Asia’s Digital Transformation Study, only 44 in 100 respondents felt that their organisations were equipped for the Digital Workplace. Only 26 percent respondent agreed that their organisations leadership is committed to closing the digital skills gap within the workforce. Singaporean organisations are behind on the bell-curve of a digitally-enabled enterprise and something needs to be done.
In its efforts to better empower employers and business owners with the knowledge and resources to make the shift, the Lean Enterprise Development (LED) scheme was introduced in 2015 by the LED Taskforce comprising of governmental organisations like the Ministry of Manpower, SPRING Singapore, Workforce Singapore and National Trades Union Congress (list is non-exhaustive) and supported by the relative LED multiplying agencies like Singapore National Employers Federation, Workforce Advancement Federation and the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (list is non-exhaustive).
Its primary goal was, and still is, to help enterprises transform and grow, by adopting manpower-lean initiatives, building a stronger Singaporean core and higher quality workforce. An amalgam of an aging population and the slowing growth of a Singaporean workforce are forcing companies to make attempts to shift from an input-driven approach to a productivity-driven approach.
The LED scheme provides businesses and enterprises with a one-stop integrated government assistance and manpower support to help businesses shift their processes into the manpower-lean landscape. This is done through two overarching initiatives, the first, to reduce reliance on manpower, and the second is to enhance the Singaporean Core and Workforce Quality.
How does the LED scheme help Singaporean Businesses?
In order to assist companies to be more operationally efficient and less manpower reliant, the LED scheme helps to firstly, optimise processes by leveraging on technology through Ready-to-go (RTG) solutions – Solutions developed and/or pre-qualified by the Agency for Science, Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) and SPRING Singapore for funding support. These RTG solutions have helped to increase productivity by 30 to 100 percent with manpower savings of more than 20 to 40 percent for adopting local companies.
Secondly, support for Singaporean companies can also be rendered through the re-engineering of business processes and the adoption of productivity practices like the Lean Six Sigma and the 5S systems through programmes such as the Productivity Management Programme (PMP) and the Business Leaders’ Productivity Best Practices Masterclass (BLPBPM). These programmes have an emphasis on upgrading the existing capabilities of the workforce and business operations, ensuring that employees can easily handle and adapt to their organisations manpower-lean initiatives.
Companies that want to adopt a more consumer focused engagement strategy in order to better emotionally engage their customers can look at other LED supported schemes like the Business Design Thinking programme – based off the teachings of the University of Toronto’s prestigious Rotman Designworks in Business Design, that progressive companies such as Wang by NTUC FoodFare and FRANK by OCBC have readily adopted into their business strategies in order to have a heavier emphasis on productive Customer Centric Innovations whilst staying as manpower lean as possible!
As the ex-Finance Minister and current Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam once mentioned in his 2014 budget speech, ‘Raising productivity is at the centre of our economic agenda’. There is a dire need for Singaporean enterprises to be more productivity-centric. Furthermore, with a larger influx of the digital generation entering the workforce, Singaporean companies need to embrace and implement change early.
In their efforts to adopt new technologies to better reap existing economies of scale by becoming more productive, companies can also better enable the younger generation workforce to create a positive change to the organisation by providing them with relevant tools and platforms to better showcase their refreshing technological-based skillsets and knowledge. Through the implementation of productivity-driven initiatives like the LED scheme, everyone in the organisation, from the front-desk administrative staff to the Managing Director, can truly benefit from a happier and more productive workplace.