For SSIA and The Semiconductor Industry

Transformation is, by definition, a process of changing completely the character or appearance of something in order to improve it. It is a journey that SSIA has embarked on over the past two years, and will continue in the future. The most recent transformation is also the most important one – not only for the trade association and the semiconductor industry but also for people who are driving this transformation.

The semiconductor industry is an industry with over 52 years of history in Singapore. The industry has transformed over the decade, riding up the value chain to a point where we have almost the entire eco-system of the industry present here in Singapore. We have the top foundries, the best R&D teams and the biggest names in the industry here. Unfortunately, the industry is also facing a misconception that it isn’t growing anymore, and the government isn’t interested in growing the industry further. Though it is far from the truth, this rumor has spun out of control over the past decade. As many people believe in it, this in turn becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more people believe this rumor, the less future talents would be interested in joining the industry. With an ever-shrinking future talent pool, the less likely the industry will move forward.

This problem is what SSIA, together with our partners and industry leaders, has to address. The process is by no mean a small feat, but we are thankful to have a systematic approach to address this by leveraging the framework in the Electronics Industry Transformation Map (ITM). In its most simplistic form, the key areas of the ITM will focus on helping companies improve productivity, innovate their product and services and, most importantly, develop and grow the talent pool.

The SSIA Secretariat Team has tirelessly helped transform the organization over the past year, and brought us to where we are today

Transformation is an ongoing process that tends to appear ordinary, when, in fact, something extraordinary is taking place.   – Suzy Ross

It all started in early 2018 when the Association’s Board of Governance assembled a team of Secretariat staff, which would grow over the next two years to support the daily operations of the organization. We rewrote the constitution to have better governance over the running of the organization. After the 2018 AGM, the real work started along with the ITM framework coupled with the direction from the new Board.

While striving to help companies embrace the ITM and focus on its three pillars, SSIA has identified workforce development as our particular focus. We emphasize on looking at our future, current and past talents. By partnering with different institutes and inviting our past talents on sharing their experience, we have been organizing different industry-relevant and leadership programmes to develop a pool of leaders which is crucial to ensure the long term sustainability of this industry. Moreover, we have planned for campaigns to excite future talents and woo them into the semiconductor industry.

(Photo taken at the Singapore Semiconductor 50th Anniversary)

(Photo taken at the SSIA Summit 2019)
SSIA events focus on helping companies improve productivity, innovate products and services, and develop the talent pool

Transformation doesn’t take place within a vacuum;  instead, it occurs when we are indirectly and directly connected to all those around us – Byron Pulsifer

 We believe that we can only serve our members and the industry better by understanding them first. We are committed to diversifying our outreach to all sectors within the industry, especially the SMEs. Many companies are planning to push forward aggressively on the digital front and enhance workforce skills to cope with new ways of working.  An “ecosystem strategy” could help in this respect as MNCs push forward on the innovation and digitalization fronts, the SMEs that are part of their supply chains will have to keep pace to remain competitive.

With this in mind, we have been launching more relevant initiatives and events, such as the Automation Supplier Day, to help SMEs network and connect to the big players in the industry. Over the past year, SSIA has been launching more than 50 activities and initiatives, reaching out to more than 4,000 participants from both MNCs and SMEs. We are not slowing down any time soon. With the impact from COVID-19, we will only become more aggressive in driving the ITM across our industry.

A events provide a platform for leaders to network and foster  collaborations in the industry
(Photos taken at the Singapore Semiconductor Lo Hei Dinner 2020)

“Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision and change” – Richard Branson

SSIA will continue to transform with our industry. This year marks the third Annual General Meeting for this newly transformed trade association. This AGM also has an important milestone, where we will be conducting an election of Board members for the next term of office. Board members are leaders across all sectors who would step up to lead SSIA in the transformation of our industry. Continuing to transform for the better is the key now. SSIA Secretariat will further expand to support the needs, and keep rolling out initiatives to help the industry transform. Having members and leaders of the industry’s workforce actively engaging SSIA will also be key to ensuring the success of all these initiatives. There is no doubt that as soon as the majority of our workforce is behind SSIA, the goal to transform the semiconductor industry can be achieved faster.

The semiconductor industry plays a vital role in the world. This industry remains one of the bright spots in all nations’ economies amid the ongoing pandemic. Economists around the world have always been looking at the performance of this industry as one of the leading economic indicators. Though Singapore’s semiconductor industry remains strong and resilient, we need to ensure it continues to transform to be bigger and better in order to stay competitive and relevant in the future. It is SSIA’s mission to help companies transform in a more concerted and coordinated way so that we can emerge stronger together.

Executive Director of Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association