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RS Components Rises Above Supply Chain Disruption

RS Components Rises Above Supply Chain Disruption


Suroor Anwar Vice-President of Strategy & Commercial, Asia-Pacific, RS Components

Suroor Anwar
Vice-President of Strategy & Commercial,
Asia-Pacific, RS Components

Syed Suroor Anwar has vast international experiences in Asia, Europe and North America with key E-commerce and technology companies. At present, Suroor Anwar is Vice President, Strategy and Commercial for RS components, Asia-Pacific. Suroor has been with RS Components for more than 7 years in multiple roles across the industry. He has extensive work experience in P&L management, Transformation Sourcing and Supply Chain with companies like SKF and Tata Motors in India where he was responsible for setting up greenfield projects and establishing their supply chain and vendor management functions.

The questions that did not make it to print, we are sharing with you exclusively here:

  1. What component has been in high demand in APAC for the past year and has any component seen any spikes in purchases/ decrease in purchases due to the pandemic?

Despite the global chip shortage, we saw that the demand for semiconductors globally spiked between August 2020 to August 2021. As businesses are slowly but steadily bouncing back to normal capacities, manufacturers are announcing the possibility of further investing in more manufacturing plants to increase production.

In addition to that, we are seeing an increase uptake of Automation and Control components and devices used on MRO as more and more companies are overhauling their assets instead of new capital investments. This is also driven by the need of replacing old legacy high energy consumption components with new energy-efficient technology .

2. In the age of sustainability and decarbonisation, what percentage of APAC’s manufacturers are on the path to net-zero or being sustainable? And reasons for your answer?

The pandemic got in the way of manufacturers’ sustainability efforts in 2020 as disruptions occurred and resources had to be reallocated to different priorities such as taking care of employees and the community. However, as businesses have started picking up in APAC, efforts of sustainability goal setting are now coming back to place. Especially in Singapore, manufacturers are working towards the country’s green plan agenda to roll out in 2030.

In APAC, a growing number of manufacturers are already adopting sustainable efforts within their internal and external processes. Most businesses now acknowledge the need to undertake climate action and improve their sustainability performance and are making a conscious effort in reducing waste and energy usage and greenhouse gases. Based on a report recently conducted by Forrester, 30% of APAC firms are making its sustainability efforts more transparent, 30% will be reducing carbon footprints and 26% have appointed a sustainability lead at a senior executive level.

3. With the reasons mentioned above, how has RS components expedited the process of manufacturers adopting sustainability in their plants and manufacturing facility?

Sustainability is integral to what we do at RS Components. We ensure that the products we sell and the things we do as a company are both committed to a long-term sustainable strategy goal. For RS, this has meant significant efforts in the last five years to tackle issues such as CO2 emissions, recycling and energy consumption.

We have realised that making sustainability part of our culture has come a long way instead of continuously consciously making efforts to do so. People don’t think about their actions being environmentally friendly and like any business, the challenge lies in embedding a sustainable work culture that will stick. This doesn’t happen overnight and employees more likely than not will need to be educated on.

RS is ISO 40001 certified and supports customers who are on a sustainability journey. This means that we have a framework that businesses can follow to effectively run an environmental management system. Our products are derived from sustainable sources and help customers who look for products from ethical suppliers.

On a broader spectacle, regional warehouse locations allow manufacturers like us to reduce time travel and fuel used to transport products. Digitising internal systems gives us the ability to collect and analyse big data, providing us visibility into what products are being shipped where and how much they weigh in order for us to identify discrepancies and gaps that may come into play.

4. How has the supply chain disruption affected current sustainability efforts in the industry?

There have been consistent efforts in making supply chains resilient in recent years. However, the pandemic accelerated the need for this in order to face the disruptions that came with it. During a time where innovation could be used to reduce, reuse and recycle carbon, short term plans and finances were turned to face the priorities that rose due to the pandemic.

Many manufacturers experienced some sort of disruption during this period – either through suppliers going offline and unavailable, a sudden spike in demand so businesses could try to operate as usual and the necessity of digitising internal systems.

Within the sustainability spectrum, manufacturers, who were amidst implementing a sustainable plan had to suddenly focus their efforts on higher priority items. The disruptions that occurred had to be attended to first. At RS Components, our priority became our people and our customers after which we continued our efforts in the sustainability realm. Digitising our internal systems also proved to be successful as we were able to analyse big data in order to control production and our carbon footprint.

5. What are the technologies supply chains can implement to drive sustainability efforts?

During this time of crisis, response time is crucial for companies to maintain a strong customer base. Transparency across the supply chain will not only reduce the unpredictability for customers but will also allow them to react faster to issues.  Emerging technologies, like E-procurement, are now being used widely to ensure safety and efficiency across the board, while also leveraging innovative tech to embrace processes, automation, and big data.

It goes without saying that technology is enhancing and amplifying our reach, but we must not forget the power of human connections. Our customers around the world transact with us through our eCommerce channels and our local teams continue to connect with customers over the phone and online conferencing. That human interaction element is still present, with technology as an enabler. 

6. Mixing of the digital and physical was accelerated due to Covid-19. But how much of it has been a present reality in APAC manufacturing sectors and would it be the continued work culture 2022 and beyond?

The pandemic accelerated the need for an increased amount of digitisation at RS components. We quickly realised the potential of automating our processes, providing our customers with eSolutions services and eProcurement strategies to enhance their purchasing process. Having said this, we did not compromise on our capabilities providing our customers with the ‘human touch’. Despite our digital enhancement, we quickly brought together a team of sourcing specialists to help customers continue business as usual and provide customer service operators to those who required assistance.

We realised the growth potential and customer loyalty this has brought for us and are looking forward to implementing more mixed strategies into more of our processes. With ESG and sustainability being two of our important focus points, we would like to make progress within those departments as seamlessly and as efficiently as possible.

BONUS QUESTION: What Is your personal favourite technology/ Component in use now and why? 

My personal favourite technology component is the utilisation of software as a service e-procurement platform to help bring visibility and transparency to the supply chain and by doing so being more efficient and effective. This transparent supply chain drives visibility which in turn helps companies to drive the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.



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Siemens’ 2022 Electronics And Semiconductor Outlook

Siemens’ 2022 Electronics And Semiconductor Outlook

Contributed by 

Alex Teo, Managing Director and Vice President for South East Asia

The global pandemic accelerated growth in the electronics and semiconductor industries, with East Asia rising as a key manufacturing hub. Furthermore, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region now accounts for 60 percent of global semiconductor sales with China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea emerging as the “Big 4” semiconductor players, and being the world’s biggest market for semiconductors. Despite accelerated growth and demand, the industry was greatly challenged by chip shortages. Globally, the shortage of chips has been worsening since 2020.

It all started with lockdown measures and work-from-home arrangements. There was an overnight increase in demand for devices such as laptops, monitors, cameras, and phones. These factors exacerbated the already increasing chip consumption trend. As a result, semiconductor fabrication plants, commonly known as fabs, focused on fulfilling those orders, in addition to the adoption of 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. Undoubtedly, the demand for microchips will remain high through 2022 as the market demand will be vital for products that are smarter, more functional, constantly connected, higher quality and less expensive.

So, the big question for the electronics and semiconductor industries is, What can be done to ease the critical chip shortage? >>

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Averting Leaks And Hazards In Chemical Plants And Labs

Averting Leaks And Hazards In Chemical Plants And Labs

By Friedhelm Best, Vice President APAC, HIMA

The chemical industry in the Asia Pacific region continues to grow, accounting for a 58.6 percent share of the global chemical industry’s revenue in 2020.

Serving as the mainstay of numerous industries such as pharmaceuticals, automotive, oil and gas, the chemical industry employs up to 20 million people worldwide. Increased competition, economic uncertainties, and accidents have spurred restructuring processes with important ramifications for a safer working environment. Now, plant operators are demanding improved solutions to safeguard operations, reducing safety concerns in the chemical industry.

Industrial accidents, often involving chemicals have reported hundreds of deaths in Asia. In July 2021, a chemical leak at Wah Yan Hong plant in Guiyang, the capital of southwest China’s Guizhou province, has resulted in 8 deaths and 3 injured individuals. Although the investigation revealed that the chemical leak happened during a vehicle unloading, other accidents involving companies’ weak adherence to safety standards have been commonly traced. Working with hazardous materials under extreme pressure and heat expose workers to danger. Such chemical leaks can have serious implications on mortality, health, environment, finance, and laws.

The need for improved leak detection systems

Containing miles of pipelines, identifying and correcting leaks in a chemical plant has been problematic. The potential cost of remediation and possible financial penalties due to pipeline leaks in plants had increased, as had the threat of damage to the operator’s reputation from the possible negative environmental impact. Even when a leak detection system warns an action, plant operators often delay taking actions, risking both financial losses and corporate reputation. As plants continue to modernise and expand, operators are demanding for improved detection systems.

Beyond chemical plants, the ongoing global crisis has elevated the need for labs, which in turn, can present chemical and biological risks in the event of leaks. Such labs have an equitable need for high quality and dependable leak detection systems as chemical plants.

Factors to look for in a reliable and future-proof leak detection system

Plant operators and even labs may be unfamiliar with the factors to look for in a reliable leak detection system. The primary factors to look at when evaluating the best solutions include:

  • Sensitivity – A combination of the size of a detectable leak and the time required to detect it.
  • Reliability – A measure of the system’s ability to accurately access any existing leaks.
  • Accuracy – The ability of a system to estimate leak parameters such as leak flow rate, total volume lost, and leak location.
  • Robustness – The ability of a system to continue to function during unusual hydraulic conditions, or when data is compromised. This is an emerging and important need in the light of increasing supply chain cybersecurity attacks. 

The industry’s response to industry standards and to leak detection has been evolutionary. Vendors such as HIMA has innovated solutions (such as FlexSILon PMC Hybrid) that can connect systems for leak detection and emergency shutdowns, managing flow controls within its hardware, while using secure “Safe Ethernet” to deliver pressure and temperature reading to specific locations without allowing cybersecurity breaches. Plant operators should adopt solutions that can assure maximum functional safety and extremely high reliability by automatically shutting down any affected areas during critical situations. As plant operators and labs take safety as the “primus inter pares”  for the future, safety systems will become a ubiquitous part of its critical infrastructure.

Upcoming Next_Meta-Factory Accelerating Intelligent Manufacturing Innovation


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Cobots Set To Benefit Businesses In Asia

Cobots Set To Benefit Businesses In Asia

Strong growth for cobot projected from 2020 to 2026 with Asia expected to surpass Europe by 2021

In a report by the World Robotics 2020 Industrial Report, it shows a record of 2.7 million industrial robots operating in factories globally, with 373,000 units shipped in 2019. In fact, Singapore has the highest density of industrial robots with 918 industrial robots used per 10,000 employees. In Singapore, top installations of industrial robots are found in electrical & electronics industry, followed by rubber and plastics, metal and machinery, food and others in no specific order of installation numbers. Increasing move towards automation in the production of electronic devices will continue to push robot installations in Singapore, and other Asian countries, including Republic of Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

Amongst industrial robots, collaborative robots (cobots) continues to be fastest growing segment of industrial automation, projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 41.8 percent globally during 2020 to 2026, in a report by MarketsandMarkets. Asia Pacific cobot market is projected to become the largest cobot market worldwide, growing at a CAGR of 45.46 percent, with an addressable cumulative market value of $13.17 billion over the next 7 years in terms of cobot hardware.

The growth of collaborative robots is fuelled mainly by the advantages it offers, such as effective employee utilisation, higher productivity and flexibility in redeployment. One of the most significant difference between industrial robots and cobots, is the ability of cobots to interact safely with humans in a shared workspace. Manufacturing and assembly plants, especially in developed countries, are expected to adopt cobots quickly.

“With the world battling COVID-19, 2020 delivered some ingenious cobot implementations. From personal protective equipment manufacturing to swab testing, collaborative robots (cobots) are improving the efficiency, safety, and quality of countless processes. The vast majority of cobot implementations are found in electronics and automotive manufacturing and industrial environments, but cobots have the flexibility to be used in a wide variety of sectors from agriculture and medical to pharma,” said James McKew, Regional Director of Asia-Pacific in Universal Robots.

“The experience of 2020 and the uncertainty that we are facing in 2021, are driving companies to review their business strategies and workspace transformation. The pandemic is accelerating interest in cobots as it enables safe distancing in manufacturing and assembly plants to minimise the potential spread of infections, while fully engaging workers productively and efficiently,” he added.

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