he Process Construction & Maintenance (PCM) sector provides critical supporting functions for the Energy and Chemicals (E&C) sector, which accounts for about 30% of Singapore’s manufacturing output and employs over 25,000 workers, as well as other industries such as pharmaceuticals.
As one of top three sectors in Singapore employing foreign workers, the COVID-19 pandemic this year reinforces the need to double down on transformation efforts to improve productivity and reduce foreign worker reliance.
We are starting from a strong base. In 2019, Dr Koh Poh Koon, then Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Trade and Industry (Trade) launched the Productivity Certification Framework (PCF) at the annual Productivity Improvement Forum. As a culmination of the PCM industry’s efforts to improve productivity over the years, the PCF serves as an important yardstick for tracking and benchmarking productivity improvements at the firm level. I am glad that the PCF has received endorsement from both E&C plant owners and PCM companies and encourage all stakeholders to leverage this framework to spur the industry towards higher productivity.
To help the industry take practical steps to improve, the PCM Management Committee (PCMMC), comprising E&C plant owners and PCM companies, have developed various initiatives to complement the introduction of the PCF. This includes new project productivity tools, such as Activity Analysis (AA) and Best Productivity Practices Implementation Index (BPPII), which provide more detailed insights on key areas of improvement and gaps from best practices that plant owners and PCM companies can act on, in order to increase time spent on direct work. The PCMMC also established a mechanisation database of 59 tools, to mechanise manual processes. 19 of these tools are in active use while others are undergoing pilot testing before industry adoption. In parallel, Craft Productivity Standards (CPS) have been developed to assess the skills level of individual workers and identify areas for improvement.
This year, PCMMC will continue to drive industry transformation efforts through a new Capital Projects Work Group to develop and implement initiatives to improve process construction productivity and adapt overseas best practices for Singapore’s context. The PCMMC will also build on existing achievements, by stepping up training efforts to expand the usage of project productivity tools, identifying additional tools for mechanisation, and developing further craft productivity standards under the CPS workstream.
These productivity efforts would not have been possible without strong support from the industry. I would like to express my deep appreciation for our industry partners who have stepped up to lead change in the industry and in your respective organisations. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant challenges that strengthen the impetus for change. Transformation towards greater mechanisation and higher productivity will be critical for the industry to ensure business continuity and thrive, while managing the associated public health risks. I urge both E&C plant owners and PCM companies to work together to re-position the PCM sector for a safe and productive rebound towards stronger growth and world-class productivity standards. The Government will continue to partner the industry closely and support companies on your transformation journey through these difficult times.
Vice President, Environmental Sustainability, Singapore Economic Development Board