7 August 2014

SPRING Singapore squarely behind upgrading quality and standards

SPRING Singapore has added S$10 million in grant budgets to support local enterprise efforts in building quality and adopting standards as strategic business tools. Enterprises can use the funding to develop and adopt new standards. 

Quality and standards can help businesses to become more productive, to reduce wastage, to manufacture safer, higher quality and environment-friendly products; or to achieve stronger product and service differentiation.

SPRING will also fund the appointment of new standards development organisations to oversee standards development and promotion in new sectors, as well as to nurture a pipeline of new standards professionals through standards education. 

To strengthen quality standards for businesses, the agency developed and reviewed some 180 Singapore standards and has built up an accreditation system with a pool of some 290 conformity assessment bodies in 2013. A total of 630 companies benefitted from SPRING-supported standards adoption, and business and service excellence projects last year.

To boost the industry’s confidence in learning service providers (LSPs), the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) launched a new accreditation scheme for the certification bodies of LSPs today. This new scheme will ensure that certification bodies provide systematic and impartial third party assessment and certification of LSPs. In the area of workplace safety and health, the scheme supports the Ministry of Manpower’s drive to raise competency standards of the workforce by assuring the quality of certification of LSPs.

In partnership with SPRING, the Singapore Standards Council (SSC) and SAC have developed strategic plans to address the emerging standardisation and accreditation needs of local industries. These include raising productivity, accelerating the development of new growth sectors, increasing resource efficiency and sustainability, as well as addressing social and safety needs.

The manufacturing industry will see new Singapore standards which will improve its logistics support and put in place more efficient business processes. The SSC and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) have developed the world’s first multi-tiered cloud computing security standard, providing companies with greater clarity on the different levels of security offered by cloud service providers. In the area of resource efficiency, new Singapore standards and accreditation schemes for energy and water efficiency management have also been developed.

From this year, SPRING has also taken on the role of Pacific Area Standards* Congress (PASC) Secretariat to strengthen international standardisation programmes and to enhance free trade. SPRING is a member of the Executive Committee for the Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC), which facilitates trade in the Asia Pacific region through harmonised conformity assessment practices. This is done by ensuring that companies with certificates bearing the accreditation mark from accreditation member bodies of PAC are accepted through global mutual recognition. The network of accreditation mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) include recently-signed MRAs on food safety management system certification and proficiency testing providers. 

Source: Quality and Standards Conference website.

SPRING has signed two memoranda of understanding (MoU) at the Quality and Standards Conference on 5 August. The first was with Singapore Polytechnic to further its collaboration in the design of a course curriculum and delivery of a Diploma Course in Applied Sciences to raise the level of competence of working adults in laboratory management. The second was an MOU with the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) to deepen collaboration in the area of accreditation.

"As quality and excellence will play a bigger role in the transformation and growth of our economy, our programmes must continue to stay relevant, and deliver benefits to Singapore’s enterprises so that they can remain competitive,” said Tan Kai Hoe, Chief Executive, SPRING Singapore, at the Quality and Standards Conference 2014. A robust quality and standards infrastructure assures the quality of Singapore products and services, and as a result strengthens the overall credibility and trust in the Singapore Brand, he said.

Some 550 business leaders and partners attended the Quality and Standards Conference at Orchard Hotel, organised by SPRING, SSC, SAC and the Singapore Manufacturing Federation.

*PASC is a regional grouping of 24 National Standards Bodies consisting of Brunei Darussalam, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, and Vietnam.