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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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A*STAR And Arcstone Open S$18M Joint Lab To Accelerate Digital Manufacturing In Singapore

A*STAR And Arcstone open S$18M Joint Lab To Accelerate Digital Manufacturing In Singapore

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and local manufacturing software company Arcstone opened a joint laboratory at A*STAR’s Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC) to develop smart manufacturing solutions to help businesses speed up digital transformation to make operations more efficient, effective, and sustainable. Minister for Trade and Industry Mr Gan Kim Yong graced the joint lab’s opening.

This era of Industry 4.0 allows for real-time extraction and monitoring of operational data, as well as the ability to control machines digitally and remotely. Today’s manufacturing execution systems (MES) face limits, however, such as in the optimisation of production processes. Against this backdrop, A*STAR and Arcstone will collaborate to give today’s MES added intelligence – or “adding a brain to the body”, as Arcstone says.

With a total investment of S$18 million over three years, the A*STAR-Arcstone joint lab will transform Arcstone’s existing solutions into a next-generation MES suite. The MES will incorporate technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to help manufacturers make better decisions – through visualisation, control, optimisation, and sustainability. For example, the MES will not only provide information about what is happening in a production process in real time but also recommend ways to improve that process, such as by optimising production scheduling.

Manufacturers, including local SMEs, will be able to tap on these smart manufacturing solutions to increase manufacturing transparency and improve production scheduling across the supply chain, paving the way for more competitive and robust supply chains. The solutions will also help manufacturers go green by enabling them to optimise energy usage. The joint lab will place special emphasis on the user-interface for the MES, making it easy to configure and use, especially for first-timers. The joint lab will work on projects in the following areas:

  1. Improve production through real-time visibility
  2. Control production using IIoT technologies
  3. Optimise production using simulation and artificial intelligence
  4. Make production greener through data and optimisation

Collaborating with A*STAR will help Arcstone halve the time needed for its own R&D to achieve its goals. The joint lab aims to create about 30 engineering jobs over the next three years.

Professor Alfred Huan, Assistant Chief Executive, Science and Engineering Research Council, A*STAR, said, “The challenging economic environment sends a reminder to many companies of the constant need for innovation to stay competitive. At A*STAR, we collaborate with companies such as Arcstone to help them build new capabilities to move up the value chain. Such public-private partnerships continue to play an important role in encouraging businesses to adopt technologies to differentiate themselves from the competition. This collaboration with Arcstone is also an example of how local SMEs can deploy their new solutions to help other local SMEs speed up digital transformation in their factories, driving increased digitalisation across the board.”

Mr Willson Deng, Chief Executive Officer, Arcstone, said, “Our goal with the joint lab is to rapidly produce cutting-edge technology to give SMEs and global manufacturers a leg up in efficiency, productivity, and most importantly, long-term sustainability and environmental competitiveness. We are confident about achieving this goal, for we have in ARTC a trusted R&D partner that will bring us results – we know this from years of collaboration with ARTC’s scientists and engineers.”


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More Than Half Manufacturers Are Boosting Their Sustainability Agenda With Technology

More Than Half Manufacturers Are Boosting Their Sustainability Agenda With Technology

Manufacturing organizations are setting ambitious sustainability targets for the coming decade with 20 percent aiming for carbon-neutral operations and two in five (40 percent) setting their sights on 100 percent renewable operations by 2030. This is according to a new report from the Capgemini Research Institute entitled, Sustainable operations: A comprehensive guide for manufacturers, which reveals that only 51 percent of manufacturing organizations globally are aiming to align with the temperature contribution target of the Paris Agreement. Within this cohort, Germany (68 percent) and France (67 percent) are leading the pack with respect to their manufacturers being on track to achieve the targets.

The report also reveals that manufacturers are boosting their sustainability agenda with technology, as more than half (56 percent) of organizations are currently prioritising the deployment of digital technologies for sustainability.

According to the report, strong progress in sustainable manufacturing is helping organizations realise the benefits of sustainability initiatives. 89 percent of organizations implementing sustainability initiatives see an enhanced brand reputation and 81 percent noted an improved environmental, social and governance (ESG) rating of their company. 79 percent achieved improved efficiency and productivity and more than half reduced packaging costs and boosted employee motivation levels. The report also finds that 9 in 10 organizations have seen a reduction in waste (98 percent) and greenhouse gas emissions (94 percent) as a result of implementing sustainability practices — both of which are top priorities  for manufacturers.

However, despite high ambitions, only a few are on track to becoming sustainable manufacturers. According to the report, the manufacturing sector lacks a comprehensive focus on sustainability, and the maturity of sustainability practices remains low: only 10 percent of organizations employ a holistic approach to sustainable manufacturing. Across industries, consumer products is the most sustainable sector (15 percent), followed by industrial and capital goods (11 percent) and automotive (10 percent). Furthermore, only 11 percent of sustainability initiatives are actively being scaled across organizations and just one in five agree that sustainability is fully integrated into their manufacturing strategy. While 38 percent of organizations are prioritizing Scope 1 emissions (direct emissions that the organization owns or controls), even fewer are focusing on Scope 2 (indirect emissions such as generating the electricity used by the organization) and Scope 3 (all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain), neglecting other carbon drivers beyond internal processes.

“There is a paradox in the fact that only 11 percent of green sustainability initiatives are actively being scaled across organizations, while the benefits realised by companies adopting sustainability initiatives are huge,” comments Corinne Jouanny, Chief Innovation Scaling Officer at Capgemini Engineering.

“Technologies and data are critical to accelerating the sustainability agenda. We’re seeing growing investments in digital technologies by manufacturers who are forming partnerships with established technology firms and startups to further develop their sustainable solutions. This is leading organizations to a full range of opportunities to reconcile profitable growth and sustainability.”

Addressing the barriers to success

Less than one in three manufacturing organizations have alignment between sustainability executives and business executives on their sustainability priorities.

According to the report, manufacturers need to go beyond existing lean and green practices – reduce, reuse, recycle – to a more comprehensive approach, one that incorporates recover, redesign and remanufacture. While most organizations focus on direct emissions to achieve their carbon-neutrality goal, much of the carbon footprint for manufacturers lies within the indirect emissions of their organization, and that of their value chain.



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