SINGAPORE, 1 November 2017

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) revealed its approach to helping the Logistics sector digitalise through the Logistics Industry Digital Plan (IDP) for SMEs and through Innovation Initiatives. Holistically, this will help SMEs level up as well as push ecosystem-wide innovations for the sector, driving competitive advantage in a Digital Economy.

Logistics IDP: Helping SME Logistics Companies Digitalise

As part of the SMEs Go Digital Programme to help SMEs build digital capabilities, IMDA has developed the Logistics IDP for SMEs, with support from the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and SPRING Singapore. The IDP provides step-by-step advice to logistics SMEs on the digital solutions required at each stage of their business growth in the Digital Economy.

Through the IDP, IMDA will continually pre-approve digital solutions, which will be listed on Tech Depot. a one-stop centralised platform under the SME Portal, aimed at improving SMEs’ access to technology and digital solutions. To complement this guide, SMEs can also use a self-assessment checklist, which will be made available online, to assess and identify their digital readiness and the digitalisation opportunities based on a broad understanding of their business operations, current level of digitalisation, and business expansion plans.

The companies and individuals can take reference from the Skills Framework for Logistics, which identifies a spectrum of skillsets, career pathways and job roles to build up a digital workforce. Businesses can also tap on WSG’s Adapt and Grow initiatives such as the Professional Conversion Programmes to support their transformation journey.

Through the IDP, IMDA will identify projects that aim to uplift the whole sector and help SMEs to grow in that sector. IMDA will work with large companies or industry leaders to co-create the solutions in such projects in the best interest of SMEs and at the same time align with national initiatives such as the National Trade Platform. Three tripartite Memoranda of Intent (MOIs) were signed between IMDA and VCargo Cloud, together with Bollore Logistics (Singapore) Pte Ltd, Dimerco Express Singapore Pte Ltd, and L.C.H. Lockton Pte Ltd. As major logistics players, these companies will lead their SME clients through the digitalisation process using VCargo Cloud’s Cargo Consolidation Platform which will help SME freight forwarders or shippers to lower freight rates and develop internal capabilities and efficiencies.

ICM Technologies to Push Sector-wide Innovations

The logistics ITM is supported by a host of industry, nation-wide initiatives and IMDA has provided digital solutions to support some of these projects. Urban logistics projects are such examples where IMDA has spearheaded the development of Dock Scheduling & Queue Management (DSQ) to support the In-mall distribution pilots to solve issues of delivery truck congestion around malls, lengthy loading/unloading times, and the consequent, inefficient use of delivery vehicles.

The DSQ creates value to users by providing an online platform to help delivery companies schedule the bookings of the unloading bays, thus minimising queueing time. The DSQ solution has now been implemented in other facilities such as Jurong Cold Store and Changi Airport Terminal 4. As more facilities deploy the DSQ solution, the effort to coordinate deliveries will grow in complexity, with an increased number of destinations requiring pre-scheduling. 

To address this, IMDA has signed a Memorandum of Intent with SMU, Fujitsu Limited and A*Star to develop a solution to optimise deliveries into malls, Offsite Consolidation Centres, and any participating industrial facilities or drop-off points. This research project will address the large-scale computational requirements and optimisation for the growing number of trucks and delivery trips across Singapore.

A community-based track and trace solution will provide actionable visibility to both consignor and consignee across multiple stakeholders managing different parts of the supply chain, giving them better certainty of the fulfilment service and the ability to intervene in a timely manner to manage potential service lapses or contingencies. IMDA is conducting this trial for Offsite Consolidation Centre (OCC) users and operators to better track their cargo across the supply chain. This trial will begin by mid-2018.

Additionally, to help cope with the growth of e-commerce and improve consumer buying experiences, a self-collection infrastructure such as parcel locker stations will help logistics service providers and retailers significantly reduce highly inefficient door-to-door deliveries. Singaporeans can also benefit by using parcel lockers to collect purchases instead of being inconvenienced by staying at home to wait for deliveries to arrive. By deploying a federated locker infrastructure, there will be an open access and secured network, whereby proprietary locker operators in a collective network can interoperate with business users and consumers using a new industry standard developed under the Singapore Standards framework. Logistics service providers will be able to use the network freely for delivering of the consumer purchases to any of the locker indicated by the consumer in the network. In collaboration with HDB and LTA, IMDA will be calling a Request for Proposal end 2017 for the deployment of a parcel locker network in the Punggol and Bukit Panjang HDB estates, as well as in the selected MRT stations. Concurrently, IMDA will be calling a tender to deploy an interoperable platform to provide secured open access to the parcel lockers in the network. The pilot is targeted to go-live in the second half of 2018 and it will be on trial for 6 to 12 months.

“ICM technologies can play an important role in helping the logistics industry transform in Singapore’s drive to be a vibrant digital economy. Carefully scoped solutions will help businesses run operations effectively not only within their own enterprise, but across fellow logistics companies. This will level up the capabilities of traditional service providers, particularly the SMEs, to thrive in the Digital Economy.  ICM will also play a strong role in helping the industry push new boundaries and adopt new and innovative business models.,” said Mr Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive, IMDA.

Source: The Infocomm Media Development Authority, Singapore

Illustration Photo: Delivery truck in Singapore (credits: Can Pac Swire / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0))

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