Dialogue with Saudi Export Development Agency (SEDA)


Top management from SEDA visited Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) on 4 September 2013. A newly established government body, SEDA studies the development of non-oil exports of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Representatives from the SEDA and IE Singapore met Singapore Innovation & Productivity Institute (SiPi), a Centre of Excellence in SMF, to have a better understanding of how SiPi enhances and supports business growth.

“SiPi is the national agency under SMF that drives innovation and productivity in the manufacturing community in Singapore. With a strong team of Lean Six Sigma black belt experts, SiPi aspires to steer industry development and collaborate closely with industries and local and overseas experts to develop tools, case studies and methodologies to help manufacturing companies embark on or enhance their innovation and productivity journey,” presented Dr. Michael Teng, Assistant Secretary-General, SMF.

Dr. Michael Teng, Assistant Secretary-General, SMF, introducing SiPi and its focus on Innovation and Productivity

Dr. Teng added, “SiPi is currently focusing on Business Model Innovation (BMI). This is due to the tightening of foreign manpower policies and an increasingly marginalised middleman role. Improving productivity alone is not sufficient. It is important for companies to re-look their business offerings to generate a strong unique selling proposition to remain competitive.”

After the presentation, the SEDA delegation asked questions on the initiatives taken for local businesses to flourish. “Does IE Singapore or SiPi enable businesses to compete on a global scale?” enquired Mr. Ahmed Alhakbani, Secretary General, SEDA. “SMF is a one-stop business solutions centre where companies can find many options to become more competitive internationally. Our SME Centre@SMF will provide business advisory services on the schemes available that will help with business expansion. One of the schemes is the iMAP funds provided by SPRING Singapore. The SMF Global Business Groups (GBG) leverage on these funds. Hence, companies can participate with GBG for overseas business missions and trade fairs at subsidised rates,” explained Dr. Teng.

“IE Singapore actively looks out for high-potential growth companies. After which, IE Singapore will assist these companies to address gaps that hinder these companies from expanding globally. Some of these areas include credit, manpower and branding challenges,” responded Mr. Iman bin Aris, Manager, Middle East & Africa, IE Singapore.

Dr. Michael Teng (1st from left) sharing local business policies and practices with the SEDA delegation

After the exchange, SiPi gave a more in-depth presentation on the strategies used to offer a holistic solution for businesses to strengthen their innovation and productivity processes. “SiPi helps companies through four areas – Knowledge Resources, Knowledge Implementation, Knowledge Generation and Knowledge Dissemination,” explained Mr. Siew Ying Choy, Manager, Innovation & Productivity.

Mr. Siew Ying Choy, Manager, Innovation & Productivity, illustrating the tools and strategies that SiPi uses to advance business competitiveness

“It was an insightful meeting. We had a better understanding of SiPi’s methodologies and initiatives. From our exchange, we see the importance of taking action from a ground-up approach and providing continuous education to our manufacturers,” concluded Mr. Ahmed Alhakbani.