Productivity is the Top Priority for SMEs in Singapore
Singapore’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are determined to make 2020 the year they focus on increasing productivity.
A survey conducted by the United Overseas Bank (UOB) found that 51% of the SMEs surveyed were going to make it their top priority to implement productivity measures. 615 Singapore SMEs took part in the survey. This comes amidst the concerns of a mixed outlook this year for businesses.
In late November 2019, UOB surveyed 615 of Singapore’s local SMEs. Specifically, those who achieved less than $100 million in revenue. This was done with an aim to understand how these SMEs planned to achieve their goals and objectives for the upcoming year.
Investments Within the Technology Sector
Singapore’s SMEs have an action plan to achieve productivity targets and goals. Among the measures include efforts to increase investments within the technology sector. Not only would this enhance efficiency, but this would strengthen the SMEs’ competitiveness in the long run too.
In fact, at least 65% of SMEs were already implementing digital solutions within certain areas of their business. Among the digitalised processes include accounting (46%), marketing (38%) and payroll (45%). Moving forward, the SMEs aimed to digitalised other areas of the business as well. This includes customer relationship management, expense management and sales. More SMEs were planning to increase electronic payments in their system this year too.
Aside from boosting productivity efforts, other priorities for SMEs include:
- Cost reduction (43%)
- Creating new revenue sources (42%)
- Sustainability (59%)
Improve Business Operations Sustainability
Sustainability was also highlighted among the list of top priorities for 2020. SMEs were considering measures to improve their business operations sustainability. Areas of high priority include transport, logistics, info communication and technology.
As far as overall business outlook was concerned, Singapore’s SMEs had different opinions about what 2020 holds. Nearly half (46%) of those surveyed were optimistic. The business services sector, thanks to its strong performance in 2019, had the most positive outlook among SMEs.
31% had a negative perception about the coming year. Retail and wholesale sectors did not experience a strong growth last year, which might have impacted its negative outlook this year too. SMEs also expressed concerns about the strength of the Singapore dollar, the ongoing trade tensions between China and the US, and a continuing slowdown in demand globally.
The remaining 23% of SMEs were neutral about their business outlook.