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    Business Times_Working Together_ 16  November 2009   S Business Times_Working Together_ 16 November 2009 S Document Transcript

    • Working together - November 16, 2009 http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/premiumstory/0,4574,359602,00.html? Home | Site Map | My Stocks | Currency Converter | Place an Ad | Subscriptions | About Us | FAQ | Mon, November 16, 2009, Singapore Search UserID Views From The Top More Story Photos Published November 16, 2009 Password THIS WEEK'S TOPIC Register | Activate Forgot Password? Working together Click here to turn on 'Remember me' What do SMEs here need to do to work more fruitfully with large enterprises and multinationals, on the one Click on the thumbnail hand, and with SMEs from other countries on the other? above for a full size view ST Index (Real-time) 2,783.85 56.62 Toh See Kiat Email this article Director Mon, Nov 16, 2009, Goodwins Law Corporation Print article 18 43 Feedback KLCI 1,278.31 +7.35 SINGAPORE SMEs HSI 22,943.98 +390.35 must see that it is NIKKEI 9,791.18 +20.87 worth every cent they spend to be part of an association of Dow 10,270.47 +73.00 SME businesses; and these associations Nasdaq 2,167.88 +18.86 should learn to work with each other to S&P 1,093.48 +6.24 open up opportunities overseas. For Friday Closing example, they should join forces to pitch for international contracts; combine Singapore: Shares end 2.1% resources to market and advertise their higher capabilities; or link up with similar SME associations overseas to promote mutual Breaking News relationships and business. Print Edition Headlines In unity is strength. Hock Lock Siew Hansjoerg Wagner Editorial & Opinion Managing Director Asia-Pacific Polycom Stocks GLOBALISATION impacts SMEs with the same cross-boundary challenges Stock Picks as MNCs. Whether in dealing with foreign SMEs or MNCs, what SMEs need to do would be to find a way to collaborate and overcome geographical IPO Watch barriers by empowering their staff to work more productively for FX/Money Markets enhanced market responsiveness and better business performance. Funds/Unit Trusts The fundamental quality about SMEs is their agility. A key component to Derivatives their continued success so far has been to harness technologies that drive Commodities their business forward, enabling them with scalability and flexibility and Calendar also maximising their organisational strengths. Tools Chip Salyards Vice-President Biz IT BMC Software Asia Pacific Pte Ltd Property ORGANISATIONS of all sizes face similar IT challenges, from SMEs to Executive Money multinational corporations. So it's really in the best interest of SMEs to Executive Lifestyle have regular dialogues with their larger counterparts to get a 360 degree BT Living view of the market. Some of these discussions will lead to partnerships. Some won't. But each can learn from the other's perspectives and use that knowledge to improve their operations and go-to-market strategies. Apec 2009 — A BT Special Business Excellence 1 of 10 11/16/2009 6:45 PM
    • Working together - November 16, 2009 http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/premiumstory/0,4574,359602,00.html? More By the same token, Singapore SMEs should take the opportunity to engage with their overseas counterparts to build the kinds of long-term relationships that enable them to expand their business beyond our Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun shores. Dora Hoan Group CEO Best World International Ltd I BELIEVE that staying open, practising innovation and sharpening competitiveness is the key to seizing opportunities by way of strategic partnerships, be it with a multinational or another SME. Take the case of MNC-SME collaboration. Small enterprises seeking to operate globally should be able to tap on these very important collaborations by demonstrating competence. Partnerships that begin in a humble backyard can actually gain global visibility. Economists have noted a very interesting trend throughout the world wherein multinationals have been setting their sights on the dynamism of partnership with highly innovative smaller enterprises. The MNCs learn from SMEs innovation while the smaller firms benefit in terms of best practices for instance in areas like Corporate Social responsibility, technology evangelization and spin-off ventures. With adept management and transparent dealing, I am positive that mutually beneficial relationships can come out of this. In terms of collaboration with other SMEs, I can only draw from our own experiences at Singapore's Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME). I felt privileged to have led this association in the year 2001. It was then that I came to really see the power of small enterprises banding together. It is a powerful sector and a tremendous force for good. Imagine that SMEs represent more than 98 per cent of all businesses worldwide. This makes them instrumental to the socio-economic development of the entire global community. As they work with local communities, SMEs are a force not only in economic prosperity but also in social stability. I see that they can definitely gain the power of leverage by integrating efforts, energies and potentials in the process of SME development. This should be the way to rapidly enhance SMEs' international competitiveness and enable them to create jobs and drive global economic growth. Robert Meyer Managing Director Halcyon Investment Corporation Pte Ltd ACCORDING to the EDB and SPRING, Singapore has roughly 140,000 SME's. The total aggregate annual revenue of these enterprises is approximately S$105.5 billion, or, S$753,000 per average SME. In USD terms, that means that the average annual sales revenue generated per SME is USD540,000. Let's assume that the Economic Value Add ("EVA") roughly equates to the Gross Margin on Sales, and let's further assume this number to hover around 25%, and the average EVA per SME comes out at USD135,000. Divide that by the average headcount per SME of 7, and the EVA per person generated per average SME in Singapore is a shade over USD19,000. This number obviously trails our per capita GDP of USD32,000. Why does SME productivity trail our national average? This problem is obviously complex and requires deeper analysis, as is presently conducted by the Economic Strategies Committee ("ESC"). However, one issue comes to mind from the start: Large Cap's and MNC sell their products into the global marketplace, whereas SME's tend to focus on the local and regional markets. Singapore's lack of domestic size and the relatively small Asean market are natural growth boundaries to SMEs. Considering these size constraints, it appears logical that SMEs need to beef up. Consolidation and joint ventures are suitable strategies for SMEs to reach a size and scale that will allow them to invest and expand into becoming a globally competitive company. I suspect that the next decade will see a wave of consolidation sweep through the local SME band. 2 of 10 11/16/2009 6:45 PM
    • Working together - November 16, 2009 http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/premiumstory/0,4574,359602,00.html? For many entrepreneurs and individual owners of SMEs, a critical question will need to be answered: Would you rather have full control and ownership of a small pie, or a slice of a much bigger one? R Dhinakaran Managing Director Jay Gee Enterprises Pte Ltd SMEs can interact with larger companies by participating more actively in trade exchange programmes, visiting business delegations and other trade fairs which are often leveraged by larger companies. These focused delegations must include SMEs as a minimum fraction of the total delegation size to allow mutual interaction between the larger and small enterprises. While there are some incentives in the form of tax benefits available to encourage businesses to make more exploratory trips overseas, these benefits could be larger for SMEs alone by means of more generous grants. Corporate communication and branding strengths are other areas where SMEs differ from larger companies. This is where the trade associations and business federations can offer help to the SMEs. Branding and positioning as a cluster can sometimes address the resource constraints for individual SMEs. The branding effort is very important in reaching out effectively and has often been used to market SMEs to larger companies and overseas. The cases of Silicon Valley in their early days is proof of the benefits of collective marketing by SMEs and start-ups. Raj Singh Director and Founder Safety@Work Consultancy Pte Ltd THE key to fostering an amicable relationship with companies from abroad, whether big or small, begins with the attitude of staff in the company. Apart from focusing on work performance of staff, the top management personnel of a company should also learn to educate, motivate and inspire their staff internally so that they may, in turn, strive hard for the company. Externally, SMEs may look into value-adding to their services by collaborating with other SMEs and tapping on each others' strengths. An example would be on how Safety@Work partnered a fellow piping company to deliver a comprehensive package to best fit the client's needs. Teresa Lim Managing Director IBM Singapore In today's globalised business world, a key characteristic of successful businesses is the ability to leverage and tap on global networks and expertise. This is not an instinctive move, however it is vital in order to remain competitive and viable. Successful organisations promote the culture and values which emphasises collaboration as essential and expected. Collaborative innovation is constantly stressed by our leaders as vital to IBM's success. WE believe that SMEs can be empowered to collaborate better by leveraging Web 2.0 tools and technology such as instant messaging, social computing and community-based tools to share content and expertise with MNCs and SMEs in other parts of the world. These solutions help people work smarter and drive business benefits by deepening client and partner relationships, making smarter and faster decisions, spurring innovation, and reducing costs. For example, IBM's Lotus solutions will keep IT expenditures low while spurring collaboration for business success. A combination of an open and collaborative organisational climate and solutions will help SMEs work more fruitfully with any organisation, regardless of size and location. To forge stronger partnerships with large enterprises/MNCs, SMEs need to find a niche where their solutions are of value and fit into the overall business strategy of the MNCs. They need to ensure that their unique value propositions are economically attractive and/or offer an effective 3 of 10 11/16/2009 6:45 PM
    • Working together - November 16, 2009 http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/premiumstory/0,4574,359602,00.html? route to market for the MNCs. On the other hand, MNCs need SMEs to support them as there will always be pieces in the business strategy puzzle that are better served by SMEs. Most high growth industries thrive on a strong ecosystem of synergistic partnerships between SMEs, large enterprises and MNCs - locally, regionally and globally. Jim Li Hui Hong President JSB Tech Private Ltd IN over 15 years of managing and growing my manufacturing companies and interacting with large multinationals in the region, I have seen the outsourcing trend evolve from an aggressive 'arm's-length' approach to a collaborative relationship. These changes were driven by the need for interdependency within a competitive supply chain and the necessity of the MNC's subsidiary to survive. Forging a tighter collaborative relationship with MNC customers helped us to move up the product value chain. Starting from simply providing manufacturing services and then to focus on producing specialized components while concurrently enhancing our product development capabilities in establishing company own products brand targeting at niche global market. In the fast changing macroeconomic environment, speed and effective implementation of a company's strategic intentions are vital to SME business success. It is important for Singapore SMEs with regional perspectives to tap into local networks of SMEs in the region by forming partnerships which will potentially speed up new market access, lower entry barriers and mitigate risk. Loi Pok Yen Group CEO CWT IT is inevitable that there remains a certain level of of apprehension when two complete strangers enter into a relationship. This holds true whether it is a marriage, a joint venture or a business relationship. Therefore, the only surefire way of ensuring an enduring and fruitful partnership is simply build trust. Liu Chunlin CEO K&C Protective Technologies Pte Ltd LARGE enterprises including MNCs would like to deal with companies which can provide one-stop services with proper systems to assure quality, business ethics, environmental responsibility, corporate social responsibility, and so on. SMEs may not always comply or fit into this neatly. Hence one way is for companies to band together in alliance to offer headache-free one-stop services and to brush up on standards to gain the accounts of large enterprises. In terms of dealing with SMEs in other countries, the idea of banding together will certainly hold great prospect as large enterprises would have market foot print in a regional zone. Cross-national SME collaboration to present a consistent mode of doing business will certainly be attractive to large enterprises which want to move fast instead of dealing with myriad parties. But cross-national SME collaboration will certainly pose a higher level of challenge as one has to deal with cross-national operational and cross- cultural communication issues. I am sure that many of us can testify to such difficulties on a daily basis in our business dealings. Pramod Ratwani President & Executive Chairman Consilium Software Inc LOCAL SMEs must be able to offer unique value propositions which will be compelling for large enterprises, multinationals and also foreign SMEs in 4 of 10 11/16/2009 6:45 PM
    • Working together - November 16, 2009 http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/premiumstory/0,4574,359602,00.html? terms of market knowledge, existing customer relationships; enhancing their product and offerings so that the combined offering gets a competitive edge and help with execution of go-to-market strategy. The other is cost arbitrage which SMEs offer, acting as subcontractors for large projects, managing outsourced work of MNCs and providing resources on short or long-term basis. These alliances, if managed with trust and transparency, can lead to bigger initiatives such as joint ventures or even being acquired by a bigger player in future, resulting in a significant jump in value for shareholders of SMEs. Choe Peng Sum CEO Frasers Hospitality Pte Ltd IN order to realise their full potential, Singapore's SMEs need to clearly understand the demands of operating in a 'global village', that the quantum leap in the development of communications and transportation enables most companies - either large multi-nationals or local SMEs - to choose their partners from any corner of the world. In business today, there are no geographic boundaries when it comes to selecting business partners or suppliers. So, from the outset, SMEs must have a single-minded vision of working to international standards; and position themselves as competent players on a global stage. And in selecting partners from other countries, they must ensure that they are working with like-minded individuals or companies that share their quest for excellence in product and service. Lim Soon Hock Managing Director Plan-B ICAG Pte Ltd SMEs must be able to value add. In the words of Minister Lim Swee Say at a recent Economic Strategies Committee Meeting, SMEs must be able to offer capabilities and capacities that are 'cheaper, better and faster'. What this means is that SMEs should continuously invest in human capital as well as systems and processes, so as to make it easy for large enterprises and multinationals to do business with them. It is important that SMEs embrace professional management to be able to work more fruitfully with large enterprises and multinationals to meet, if not to exceed, their exacting standards. Local SMEs should tap more fully the larger pool of human talent from their counterparts in other countries, through a compete and complementary juxtapositioning, as they strive to be cheaper, better and faster. They should also capitalise on their local knowledge and customer relationships to expand their geographical foot print and fast-track their regional expansion. In this respect, it is important for local SMEs to think global and act local, and not be overly Singapore-centric in terms of what works for us. That said, the challenge would be to have a common vision on how businesses ought to be conducted without compromising business ethics and corporate governance, while not leaving money on the table, within the context of a larger geographical foot print. David Low CEO Futuristic Store Fixtures Pte Ltd Business internationalisation results in global trade explosion. With global markets growing, it is no longer sustainable to operate as a stand- alone organisation without partaking in collaborative efforts with counterparts, be it of similar or different scales of operations. The commercial world is continuously seeking for greater value creation at lower business transaction costs and this proves a greater need for global synergies. The large corporations and MNCs go through restructuring and inter- departmental integration to keep themselves lean to face these 5 of 10 11/16/2009 6:45 PM
    • Working together - November 16, 2009 http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/premiumstory/0,4574,359602,00.html? challenges. With these moves from the big boys who very much dictate the direction for SMEs, how do SMEs reinforce their presence when they are likely lean to being with? Agility to change is key. SMEs need to be fast in their policy changes in tandem with the large corporations, and swiftly fill the missing gaps that come with large corporations restructuring, without necessarily profiting monetarily. This direction needs to be communicated very clearly within each SME in order for change to be accepted internally and thus be able to forge vertical links with large corporations. These vertical linkages will result in greater global market access, a long-term benefit that SMEs have to recognise. In the same light, SMEs here will have to forge horizontal links with SMEs in other countries in order to beef up their international presence. We have the Singapore Brand of trust to bank on, coupled with a talent pool of intellectuals with diverse cultures who are very much regionally if not internationally exposed to complement SMEs in other countries' strengths of human and technology capital. Bearing in mind that the definition of an SME differs globally, we are still a very small-sized economy in comparison with our American and European counterparts. Hence, humility is imperative when SMEs promote themselves to their peers in a foreign land. At the end of the day, no matter how small a scale of operation, SMEs here have to adopt a global outlook and form strategic alliances both in local and foreign markets. David Leong Managing Director PeopleWorldwide Consulting Pte Ltd The Singapore business ecosystem is limited by its sheer small size. Singapore has no natural resources and lacks a sizeable domestic market; hence the only rational choice is to attract large enterprises and multinationals to come to our shore to set their bases here. Many SMEs grew in the early 1980s to 1990s on the back of a manufacturing boom brought on by the likes of Seagate and HP. The SMEs played second fiddle and supported these large enterprises and MNCs by providing contract manufacturing of parts and services. They grew on the momentum developed by these large enterprises which provides goods and services to the world. Such clustering of manufacturing focus is necessary - petrol chemical, pharmaceuticals, semi-conductors, etc - and Singapore excelled by working hand-in-glove with these MNCs. The other strategic thrust will be for Singapore's SMEs to reach out and be connected to the global economy especially in growth countries such as China, India, Brazil, Russia and also by plugging into the Asia-Pacific growth opportunities. For growth, Singapore SMEs must also work with the SMEs in these countries and be plugged into their business eco-system and to become the lifeline of their economic growth. It is through such economic strategy that Singapore is linked up with the global economy. Deb Dutta Vice-President, Asia-Pacific Brocade SMEs today are well poised to play the 'outsourced partner' to large enterprises. In these times where saving cost is high on corporate agenda, outsourcing to SMEs - be it for services in non-core areas of the business and even in production of goods - will certainly help in saving operation cost for enterprises. SMEs on the other hand, have to demonstrate capabilities and skills to establish strategic alignment and partnership to meet the needs of larger enterprises and MNCs. This needs attitude, investment and top down commitment. Very few organisations demonstrate these traits! For SME organisations that demonstrate the right traits, the government can help in facilitating financing options. Easier credit (which is a definite bottleneck for these organisations today) allows them to focus on the aspects mentioned above while enabling them to take on, deliver more and optimise their capacity! SMEs are the largest contributors to the GDP 6 of 10 11/16/2009 6:45 PM
    • Working together - November 16, 2009 http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/premiumstory/0,4574,359602,00.html? in most economies. Given the right 'nurturing' and support, they are often in a best position to scale, much faster than larger setups. Sharon Lim Executive Director Pacific Time Pte Ltd FIRST and foremost, SMEs need to get rid of the mentality that they are necessarily inferior to the large MNCs and cannot work on an equal footing with the corporate behemoths. On the contrary, many SMEs are more agile, innovative, more driven and know specific markets better than MNCs. The key here is for SMEs to know precisely where their own values lie and the type of MNCs that they can work with to target new markets and segments. There is a grain of truth in the saying that SMEs sell mainly to SMEs. By understanding their own value and how it complements the MNCs weakness, it can reach new markets - beyond its own traditional SME space. For example, many SMEs have great niche and creative products, but with limited distribution reach. By selecting and working with the right MNCs, it can leverage on the large sales force and distribution reach of MNCs. The fact that MNCs frequently buy smaller companies to acquire their distribution, product mix, intellectual property or customers is the proof that SMEs provide true value to MNCs. As the saying goes, it's not the biggest that survives, but the most adaptive to change. It's true in the Jurassic jungles as well as in the corporate jungle. David Ang Executive Director SHRI The world is changing. Every organization will have to adapt and adjust to a recovering economy. The fundamental concept for running an organization is that it has to be entrepreneurial, innovative and prudent in cost and human capital management. Going forward, the traditional definition for SMEs should evolve to include small and medium-sized organisations (SMOs) which play a significant role in the economy of a country, giving significant employment to the workforce. SMO should thus include NGOs and not-for-profit organisations as they also play a significant role in the country and the globalised world. This group of SMOs is gaining more attention from large enterprises and MNCs in the form of large philanthropic centres and foundations. Thus, SMOs should work more with these larger enterprises and MNCs to evolve their respective entrepreneurial models so as to create more employment and fulfill their social and commercial objectives. Therefore, just as assistance and programmes were given to assist the small and medium-sized companies, much focus will have to be given to these SMOs to enable them to connect and work more fruitfully with these other large enterprises and multinationals. Governments and agencies should include the SMOs in their schemes, and grants should be made available to the small and medium-sized companies. The recent recommendation at the Apec forum to assist SMEs should be extended to include the SMOs too. Joshua Yim CEO ACHIEVE Group SMEs are usually run by a small team. They are very nimble and can make business decisions quickly whereas multinationals tend to be bound by processes and accountability structures that can hamper their decision- making efficiency. The difference in dynamics is like navigating a bumboat versus an oil tanker. With this knowledge, SMEs can fine-tune their approach to business relationships, which are important regardless of whether you are an SME or MNC. However, I believe that relationships play a more significant role when you are dealing with SMEs as opposed to MNCs, as the latter is more constrained by business processes. Going back to the point about MNCs having a longer decision-making 7 of 10 11/16/2009 6:45 PM
    • Working together - November 16, 2009 http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/premiumstory/0,4574,359602,00.html? process due to their bureaucracy, having a strong relationship with the head honcho of the MNC will certainly shortcut the process. Su-Yen Wong Managing Director, ASEAN Mercer (Singapore) Pte Ltd IN order for SMEs to work more fruitfully with large enterprises and multinationals, they need to 'think big'. Growing to the next level and 'playing with the big boys' will require conscious effort and investment to develop their operations and an infrastructure that will enable the business to scale. For example, in the area of human resources, one of biggest issues faced by SMEs is attracting and retaining talent, which is core to any business. Many SMEs tend to feel that people are more attracted to work for large organisations. However, this is often because the SME does not yet have a formalised approach to HR, and instead has a more ad-hoc approach to people issues. This tends to lead to a situation where employees feel that there is a lack of transparency and little opportunity for career development when working for a small business. Size notwithstanding, SMEs have the ability to provide a compelling experience to their staff, for example an expanded portfolio and responsibilities, flexible working arrangements, visible contribution to the growth of the company etc. Once SMEs identify what their company strengths are, they should capitalise on it by articulating an employee value proposition and implementing selected people processes by leveraging the experiences of successful large organisations or other SMEs that are relevant to their business. Implementing structure and processes for employee development even in the smallest organisations will go a long way towards attracting and retaining employees. This in turn reflects upon the company's culture, commitment to quality, and level of sophistication, which would be a key differentiator when it comes to working with larger companies and SMEs from other countries. François Lançon President Nortel Asia-Pacific SMEs look to achieve a fine balancing act. They need to appear like big companies in order to be taken seriously by multinationals, while losing nothing of the entrepreneurial spirit and agility that gives them an advantage over larger organisations. The web has transformed many SMEs' abilities to reach further than their local market. Technology continues to be one area where SMEs can see significant return on investing in leading edge solutions. IP-based technologies help integrate voice and data solutions, allowing SMEs to offer seamless service and support to customers. These solutions can significantly reduce SMEs' communications costs and enhance business efficiencies. This in turn puts them on a level playing field with larger organisations, helps to support simpler business transactions between them, and creates the increasingly international opportunities today's connected world offers. Finally, SMEs which invest today put themselves in pole position over the laggards as the economy rebounds in 2010. Teng Yeow Heng Michael Managing Director Corporate Turnaround Centre Pte Ltd UNFORTUNATELY, many of our SMEs are still run by their founders or their family members who are basically entrepreneurs and do not have the experience of working with other large enterprises. These SMEs also do not have professional managers or PMETs who have experience in working with MNCs and large enterprises to complement their entrepreneurial skill sets. As for the overseas SMEs, I see the second wave of foreign investments coming to Singapore from the west. The first wave was the MNCs which are now moving out of Singapore. These western-based SMEs are forced out of the US and EU because of the deep recession there and are now seeking opportunities in the Far East. SMEs in Singapore which understand 8 of 10 11/16/2009 6:45 PM
    • Working together - November 16, 2009 http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/premiumstory/0,4574,359602,00.html? doing business in the East and the West will be well positioned to partner with these western SMEs to venture into the Asian market. However, I urge SMEs to recruit PMETs with such experiences to help jump-start their partnership with western SMEs as well as dealing with the foreign MNCs. In the past, it was difficult to recruit these professional managers and PMETs as they preferred to work with the foreign MNCs and enterprises. Now, many of them are laid off as these large foreign enterprises moved out of Singapore and unlikely to find employment with MNCs. Thus, these PMETs will find working for SMEs far more attractive now. Also, NUS-SBF-Spring has a Business Advisory Programme to place many of these PMETs to SMEs in Singapore and the programme is funded by Spring. Both SMEs and the PMETs should take advantage of this excellent programme. Luke Lim Chief Executive Officer A. S. Louken THERE are three key elements for SMEs to compete successfully internationally - branding, continuous effort to develop the company's intellectual property for growth, and scalability. In a recent SMEs survey that we have conducted, 85 per cent of respondents understood that branding is one of the most important aspects for internationalisation, in order to work alongside MNCs and other SMEs locally, regionally and globally. Most of our clients who have ventured overseas successfully took effort in brand building and consider branding an important strategy for their overseas ventures. Next is the continuous development of intellectual property. Without it, competitors can easily overcome a company's or SME's competitive advantage. Building their intellectual property can refer to ensuring that they become better in what they do best, and not making it easy for anyone to copy the business proposition outright. Such intellectual property may include network of partners, product know-how and business processes. The scalability component is essential for growth. A success in Singapore may not guarantee an overseas success, as not all business attributes can be transported overseas. Hence, SMEs need to enhance attributes that can be brought over to the international market to retain their competitive edge, and innovate to build new elements to make up for those that cannot be migrated to provide sustainable value proposition to customers in the host countries. Darren Thomson President and Chief Executive Officer Manulife (Singapore) Pte Ltd SMEs come in all shapes and sizes but they survive for the same reason and that is they offer customers something different. Normally, this manifests itself in service excellence because they offer flexibility and a more personal service for which they can charge a premium. Invariably, the failure of an SME is in its inability to keep pace with change either because the owners suffer from marketing myopia or, as we have seen in the current business climate, the source of funding dries up. Suppliers and customers have a great habit of finding each other. In my experience, that happens most efficiently when suppliers know two things very well - firstly, they know the customer they are looking for; and secondly, they know themselves and their own capabilities even better. My suggestion would be that an SME asks itself these two questions and if it is not satisfied with the answer, do something about it - quickly ! Brad Gray VP of Asia South Juniper Networks UPGRADING of technology is the major key to enhancing the international 9 of 10 11/16/2009 6:45 PM
    • Working together - November 16, 2009 http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/premiumstory/0,4574,359602,00.html? competitiveness of domestic supplier industries. Many governments as a result have established central institutions to guide advances in technology and to provide technological services that SMEs can seldom perform themselves, such as testing of materials, inspection and certification of quality control standards, etc. Human resource development is as important as technology improvements in enhancing the quality and productivity of SMEs. In some fields, such as quality control and automation, human resource development and improved technology are directly linked. Lastly, technology and management upgrading will not be successful unless it can be financed with both equity and loans. Developing and implementing new technology is not only expensive but also risky. Researching the markets, gathering information about technology, buying the machinery, training the workers, educating the managers - these things cannot be financed by loans alone, but require risk capital. Ads by Google Singapore Industry Trend Get Singapore's market info, official reports & statistics here! www.business.gov.sg © Copyright Singapore Press Holdings 2009. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E Privacy policy | Terms & conditions 10 of 10 11/16/2009 6:45 PM