New Wholesale Trade Industry Digital Plan to Help SMEs Accelerate their Digitalisation Journey
More than 33,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can benefit from the new Wholesale Trade Industry Digital Plan (IDP) launched by Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry. The IDP is part of the SMEs Go Digital Programme, and is jointly developed by Enterprise Singapore and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), in consultation with industry associations, SkillsFuture Singapore, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and the National Trades Union Congress.
The IDP is a simple guide to help Wholesale Trade SMEs assess their digital readiness and opportunities to go digital. It is one of the strategies under the Wholesale Trade Industry Transformation Map that was rolled out by Enterprise Singapore in 2017 to help more trading companies adopt digital technology and internationalise. A Step-by-Step Guide on Digital Adoption for Wholesale Trade SMEs.
The Wholesale Trade industry is a major contributor to Singapore’s economy, accounting for about 16% of the nation’s GDP in 2017 and SMEs2 making up 97% of the establishments. With more than 80% of its sales derived from overseas markets, the sector is highly 4. The Wholesale Trade IDP is an easy-to-use, step-by-step guide to help SMEs5 embark on digitalisation and keep pace with industry transformation. Larger enterprises in the industry can also refer to the IDP to support their digitalisation efforts.
The plan comprises a three-stage digital roadmap that charts out the different digital solutions that Wholesale Trade SMEs can adopt at each phase of their growth, as well as the relevant training programmes required to enhance employees’ digital skillsets. Broadly, the three stages are:
Stage 1 helps SMEs to get ready for the digital economy and lists the basic digital solutions to stay competitive. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions for sales and inventory management to streamline operations and optimise resources is one example.
Stage 2 highlights digital solutions that enable SMEs to connect with the global trading ecosystem and access new markets, such as plugging into B2B e-marketplaces and online platforms for supply chain financing and procurement.
Stage 3 identifies advanced digital technologies that SMEs can implement to improve their competitive edge in cross-border trading. These include using blockchain technology to enhance trade documentation processes, and artificial intelligence to predict sales trends and automate sourcing and purchasing needs.
Companies can consult the SME Centres and SME Digital Tech Hub for a comprehensive business diagnosis and advisory on digital solutions. For SMEs looking to adopt productivity tools such as sales and inventory management solutions, they can select from the list of pre-approved solutions identified in the digital roadmap on Tech Depot. Those embarking on more advanced solutions such as developing digital B2B marketplaces or larger capability building projects, can seek assistance from Enterprise Singapore.