A new initiative to help smaller firms improve their technological capability kicked off on Thursday.
The scheme involves a collaboration between the Manufacturing Productivity Technology Centre (MPTC) and Spring Singapore's Collaborative Industry Projects (CIP) programme.
It involves the centre training a firm's staff on production planning and shopfloor tracking systems. This could reduce daily planning time from four hours to less than 30 minutes.
It will also guide small and medium-sized enterprises to adopt "lean" techniques to reduce waste, use less resources and improve productivity.
The initiative will also include guidance on improving machine usage, developing new technologies and adopting advanced manufacturing techniques.
This could cut machine idle time by 30 per cent to 70 per cent.
Using radio frequency identification and barcode technologies to better manage assets will be covered as well, a move that could cut the time spent on asset auditing and item packaging by 30 per cent to 80 per cent.
The centre, which is seen as a technology solutions provider, will identify three SMEs or more that can deploy solutions that it develops. This group approach will let it work with as many SMEs as possible.
Spring will fund up to 70 per cent of each firm's development and implementation costs.
The MPTC-CIP collaboration was announced at the centre's annual conference and technology exhibition held at the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology at Nanyang Technological University.
The scheme has already signed up 18 companies, including engineering firm Tranzplus Engineering, precision engineer Smartec and LHT Holdings, a timber recycler.
The CIP, which was announced in this year's Budget, is aimed at devising ways to improve productivity.
Its collaboration with the MPTC is the first.
Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and National Development, was at Thursday's event to see memoranda of understanding signed with organisations aimed at helping to develop technologies to improve productivity for local industries.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.