Post Event Coverage


Learning & Leading

Business Transformation Forum 2 for SMEs 2019

Time : 8:30 AM - 1:30 PM
Venue : Event Hall 1-1, Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI), 11 Eunos Road 8, Singapore 408601

“The key to employee satisfaction is making the effort to tend to their hearts” - Mr Lim Chee Hock, Chief Executive Officer of Sheng Siong Group

In the second business transformation forum, WAF received a turnout of 150 members and we had the privilege of having Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs, Mrs Josephine Teo join us in a keynote address and a panel discussion after. In her keynote address, Minister Teo elaborated on the need for companies to realise the impending manpower issue for the next 10 years – Singapore’s ageing population. With this, SMEs can expect that citizens aged 65 and above to  double in the next decade, resulting in further manpower crunch.

To address this issue, the government will be increasing the retirement and re-employment age gradually over the next 10 years with

- Retirement age increased from 62 to 65 by 2030; and

- Re-employment age increased from 67 to 70 by 2030

With life expectancy increasing, the government will also be gradually increasing the CPF contribution percentage made by both the employers and employees, over the next decade. The percentage increase in the CPF contribution will not exceed 1% for both the employees or employers during each adjustment to cushion the cost impact on companies.

On top of understanding these government policies made to manage Singapore’s ageing population, the forum also engaged with SME owners and leaders to discuss their strategies when sustaining a business and managing manpower challenges.

In the first panel discussion, we had a candid exchange with 3 young business leaders who are currently 3rd or 4th generation leaders in their companies. When asked about their challenges and the importance of succession planning, here are some advice our young leaders had for us:

Picasso Terence, ASEAN Executive Director of Asiawide Print Holdings advised that Succession planning is not always about finding a successor within the family. It is about finding the right person to help grow the business and this, at times, means engaging and hiring professionals. Picasso believes strongly in headhunting for talented and experienced COOs that can help guide younger CEOs and leaders and he does this for the various companies that he runs or invests in.

With the intention to take the business to greater heights, Ee Wei Executive Director of Cyclect Group learnt that one should dare to run towards the problem that others are running away from. With this mindset, Cyclect Group opened up countless possibilities in China (where many other companies were uncertain and skeptical) when the country first opened its economy to the world.

Where digitisation and change is unavoidable, Jasmin from BH Global mentioned that smooth communication is key. With change, she acknowledges that one can expect a lot of complaints and resistance. It is therefore important that the stakeholders who will be affected by these changes are made aware of the reasons for the changes and most importantly are involved in the key meetings. That way, they can better understand the rationale for these changes and how it can potentially improve their workflow.

After the open discussion with our panelists on the challenges of running a family business, we then had a conversation with Minister Teo and 2 of our household brand names – Sheng Siong and Wan Yang. In this discussion, we wanted to understand how companies can ensure sustainability in the face of manpower shortage and an ageing population that is to come.

Mr Lim, Chief Executive Officer from Sheng Siong Group recognises that it is always important for any change to start with yourself. At the end of the day, it is about being a role model and creating a good environment for your employees. In return, you will be able to attract good employees who believe in your brand and products. In the face of manpower constraints, implementing technology is crucial but also always ensure that the technology is intuitive and easy to use. That way, he never has to worry about the need to having staff with specific skillsets required to implement these simple technology in his stores.

With Wan Yang, however, it is impossible to replace a masseur with robots or technology. Ms Thien shared that to overcome her challenges, she ensures good branding and customer service to keep customers coming. On top of that, she puts in the extra effort to align the team internally through instilling a good company culture and providing mass training to her employees every 3 months. On top of this, she constantly thinks of ways to expand her business and currently, Wan Yang has achieved an ATO status and she would like to see how she can take the company to greater heights through this channel.

Minister Teo added that similar to sustaining a company, taking care of a nation’s development and growth is no different. Each decade comes with different challenges and levels of economic growth. Similarly, there is a need to innovate, re-invent and think ahead to ensure that companies or nations alike are able to overcome environmental limitations and constraints. And she stressed that while looking for ways to overcome constraints, such as implementing technology, it is always important to guide the people along and help them have fun to remove any phobia or resistance towards something new.

  • Welcome Address_Mr Neo Kah Kiat
    Welcome Address_Mr Neo Kah Kiat
  • Group Photo with GOH & WAF Council
    Group Photo with GOH & WAF Council
  • Keynote Speech_Mrs Josephine Teo
    Keynote Speech_Mrs Josephine Teo
  • Spotlight Session: The Future of Businesses
    Spotlight Session: The Future of Businesses
  • Q&A Segment with Panellists_1
    Q&A Segment with Panellists_1
  • Leading Forum with GOH
    Leading Forum with GOH
  • Q&A Segment with Panellists_2
    Q&A Segment with Panellists_2
  • Group Photo with GOH & Speakers
    Group Photo with GOH & Speakers
  • Networking Lunch
    Networking Lunch