Singapore Day #2
By: William Woska, MBA Candidate 2018
Yesterday students in the Doing Business in Japan and Singapore program met with leaders from the Action Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE) as well as the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) through the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research.
After taking a short bus tour (heavy rain stymied an on-foot expedition) of the Fusionopolis and Biopolis, students settled into Blk79, home of ACE for an open discussion on innovation and entrepreneurship in Singapore. Zi Jie Teo, a business development manager at ACE, walked us through the start-up ecosystem in Singapore noting the strong government support both politically and financially. In addition students learned how a regulatory environment conducive to small business, including strong intellectual property protections and favorable tax regimes fostered new business and attracted foreign investment. Of note was how national universities partner with start-ups in the famous One-North area to attract top talent. Students are paid a stipend, learn from and work with real entrepreneurs, and oftentimes those same interns later return as they start businesses themselves. Lunch then followed at an underground, buzzing food court across the street from the Blk complex.
Later on, students arrived at SIMTech for a careful walkthrough of how manufacturing and logistics processes are changing through analytics. Wang Peiyi, Assistant Head of A*Star spoke to students about how“big data” is all the buzz, but it is actually analytics that is more important. “Too often companies have more data than they need to make sound business decisions” he says. SIMTech’s Nerve Centre system cuts through the noise and provides down to the second information on everything from machine downtime to transit delivery. The software can even predict outcomes based on a user input. Consider an increase in production of capacitors per minute. Nerve Centre can use that variable to predict how much sooner the machine will need servicing due to use, how many more deliveries can be made in a day, and therefore predict how quickly the decision builds warehouse inventory. This is just one example. SIMTech’s setup is also impressive. In the building is a shop floor that is currently making air fresheners that attach to a computer via USB. This shop floor can be used to mock up other items too and model larger products to make suggestions on how to improve logistics or manufacturing processes on goods such as planes.
After dinner, students sat together for dinner at Creatures, an Asian fusion restaurant. The menu included savory entrees such as duck, pork, and chicken. The famous Asian fruit Durian was featured for dessert, much to the chagrin of some students! More to come.