June 2017

It has come to that time of the year again where businesses need to pause and reevaluate their performance thus far. Many business owners find mid-year reviews to be a chore. Yet, in light of increasing foreign competition and a slowing domestic economy, mid-year reviews can actually be a vital checkpoint to ensure growth targets are met by the end of year. Here are some areas to keep a lookout for, in order to turn this potentially tiresome exercise into a substantial marker of end year success.

1. Finances

Are your expenses in check? Have you met your mid-year target for revenue earned? To maintain stringent control over cash flow, SME owners should keep tabs on their profits and losses at this mid-year mark. You should also check if you are in line with the objectives set at the beginning of year.

Canon offers an array of solutions that help to make cash flow tracking a much easier process. For instance, Canon’s Therefore solution is able to route and store all documents on a single electronic database, allowing for convenient access and retrieval of invoices. The confidentiality of financial records will also be protected, with adjustable user permissions and specific digital signatures applied to each document.

2. Equipment

Regardless of business function, it is of paramount importance that all business software are kept up to date. Business owners should ensure that security, performance and computer systems are the most optimal for your business at its current state, and if it still has the capability to handle further business growth. In addition, this is the best time of the year to clear out all antiquated equipment and replace them with more current alternatives.

3. Manpower

Mid-year performance reviews might be received with some apprehension, but we should keep in mind that constructive criticism is dished out for the purpose of improving business productivity. As SME owners, other than evaluating staff performances, you should also assess if the team is utilized in the most effective manner – Are there people who are handling too much or those who are getting too little? Are all staff adequately engaged and challenged? All these areas are vital checkpoints since performance is often tied to financial outcomes.

2

4. Processes

Administrative processes are known to be tedious, but necessary for the seamless functioning of any organization. However, if the effort to upkeep these processes diverts already scarce manpower from the running of the core business, business owners should start outsourcing for reliable solution-providing partners. Canon’s Business Services offers a highly-skilled team who can provide objective third-party consultation and design unique solutions aligned to the technical and business requirements of each business. Resultantly, administrative processes can be streamlined and greater focus can be put on the core business processes instead.

5. Competition

At this mid-year checkpoint, remember to also keep a lookout for what your competitors are doing. Reviewing your business tactics will aid in the planning of business strategies that are able to retain or grow one’s consumer base, even with strengthening competition.

An easy and cost-effective way to do this is through monitoring their social networks. This allows SME owners to gain insights on competitors’ business strategies and their respective customers’ reactions. However, this may not give you the most comprehensive results and hence, should be complimented with offline research as well. You can consult with industry analysts, trade associations and advocacy groups which will evaluate competitors and unmet market needs. Industry conferences are also good platforms to help you understand what your competitors are offering. By consolidating these information, you are more equipped to reevaluate your business strategies to help you better differentiate your business in the industry.


All in all, with these considerations in mind, your mid-year review can be kept brief and focused, while achieving its purpose as a poignant checkpoint to monitor and facilitate growth for your firm over the trajectory of the year. Follow us on LinkedIn for updates as we share recommendations and insights tailored for SME owners!

By Vincent Low

Today’s apprehension on technological advancements comes as no surprise. They have their benefits by making our everyday lives that little bit simpler, but the strain these advancements and improvements have on today’s labour force comes with causes for concern.

We have reached the days of remarkable technological innovations that have wiped out existing jobs. This has understandably brought about anxiety amongst workers, even my own. Replacing the human touch in any workflow process, big or small, may look increasingly likely, but the future of today’s labour force is looking brighter than ever. Here’s why I think so:

Back In My Day

I remember being amazed at the sight of auto-doors from all those years ago, and today technology promises us driverless cars in the near future. It must all feel daunting to witness even the most menial of labours being handed off to computers and robots, but the bigger picture still eludes many.

We send our friends and families instant messages on various apps on our smartphones, but have you ever stopped to think of how these apps were conceived? An App Designer is one job description that certainly didn’t exist back in my day, amongst many that have come up in recent times.

A social media manager is another job description that came about because technology precipitated it. While there are several software solutions developed to aid in tracking consumer behaviour on social media, they only provide in-depth numbers and statistics – still needing a person to analyse and make sense of the numbers before drawing relevant conclusions.

edit1-stockimage_v2

We often argue that technology has made some jobs obsolete, but overlook how it has also brought about more meaningful occupations and tasks that now require a person’s management more than ever.

 

Fostering Talent

In 1955, Fortune Magazine shared a list of the 500 largest companies, of which only 71 remain today. Companies like Nokia, Blockbuster, and Borders who once ruled their respective markets, have since floundered. They are now a reminder of a lethal mistake they made not making a change.

To change and to innovate is more than just adopting the latest software and gadgets; it’s about forcing the issue and implementing ideals. Hiring and training methods should be adopted and consistently improved on to keep up with technology.

labourforcequote

 

Man invented the computer, not the other way around. Every time we marvel at the sight of state-of-the-art technology, we must remember that as human beings, we are also well equipped to pick up new tricks along the way. In 2017, it hasn’t been simpler; Google searches and YouTube tutorials point the way to comprehensive guides and resources to learn from. Coursera and EdX are also prime examples of online learning platforms that offer opportunities for job seekers to better themselves.


The transformation in our workflow processes and lifestyle habits will be inevitable, but shouldn’t be fought or feared. See this transformation as an opportunity to assess more options and open doors you didn’t know existed. Take these changes in your stride and continue to better yourselves alongside the gadgets you live by, and that will be exactly how you value talent amidst technology.

For more business insights, follow our LinkedIn page here at Canon Singapore.

drseuss

Dr. Seuss, the popular children’s book writer has perhaps succinctly reminded the essentiality of fun learning. Actualizing fun into learning, KidZania Singapore is an interactive indoor theme park where children independently explore within the child-sized city furnished with buildings, paved streets as well as vehicles. In it, children aged 4-17 choose from a range of 60 jobs crafted in close collaborations with real-world brands, understand the inner-workings of a city as they learn through play and develop important life skills that are not easily learned through books. The fast growing edutainment facility is one of its kind in Singapore, welcoming more than 600 school groups so far and having its membership programme grown from the opening month, reaching more than 18,000 kids in May 2017.

Resonating KidZania values to foster the development of life skill through play, Canon Singapore joined partnership with the establishment as early as 2013, forming the Canon Imaging Academy’s studio, modeling after realism that is synonymous with the Canon branding.  Albeit child-sized, the studio replicates scrupulously to what real-life actual studio entails, ranging from Canon photo vests, dry box cabinet as well as imaging products such as Canon’s cameras and printers. In a group of six per activity, the children take turns to role play as models and photographers, shooting on the EOS 750D and posing for the camera. Thereafter, the photos are printed on the PIXMA G3000, guided by well-trained KidZania Singapore supervisors (also known as Zupervisors), learning the full workflow of photography – from shoot to print.

KIDZANIAEOSCAMERA

We sat down Mr. Leong and Ms. Jenny Tay, respectively General Manger of KidZania Singapore and CEO of Pictureworks Group, for further chats on how partnership with the Canon Imaging Academy’s studio has value-added the establishment and their working partnerships with Canon to date.


Mr. Leong Yue Weng
General Manager, KidZania Singapore

CANONKIDZANIAGUY

What is your role within KidZania?

In KidZania Cities across the globe, all General Managers are titled as the Mayor of the city, and our core focus is to create an environment for kids to learn through play and develop life skills as they live out their aspirations.

Are prints important? What are the printing demands like?

With a unique City backdrop and more than 60 realistic role-play activities for kids to dress up to, photo moments are guaranteed in KidZania Singapore. In addition to lessons and life skills, kids can also take home a range of giveaways upon completion of their role-play activities, such as their very own Newspaper when they role-play as a Journalist, or an A5 high resolution photo when they role-play as a Photojournalist at Canon Imaging Academy.

Such giveaways mean the world to kids, which is why we have turned to Canon’s printers to produce high quality prints that is worthy of the effort that each kid has put in to their chosen role-play activity. Different printer models have been installed to address different printing needs. For example, Canon’s PIXMA G3000 printer is used at the Canon Imaging Academy’s studio to efficiently handle heavy printing volume while maintaining low running cost and photo quality.

KIDZANIAPIXMA

How has Canon differentiated from the rest?

In a City that is built for kids to learn through real-world experiences, it is just as important to provide content and equipment that supports a high level of realism, as it is to ensure that kids are able to complete a range of tasks with relative ease.

Canon’s easy to use camera categories and ability to effectively produce high quality prints through its printers made it a natural choice of KidZania Singapore. Canon has also proven to be a very valuable Industry Partner for its keen business acumen and we will continue to explore how we can leverage on both our strengths to further business opportunities.


Ms. Jenny Tay
CEO, Pictureworks Groups

PICTUREWORKSJENNY

Tell us more about Pictureworks and your role.

Pictureworks is in the business to provide customized imaging solutions for theme parks such as KidZania, supporting her needs with the latest technology in memory capture. As the Chief Executive Office of the group, I am responsible for the end to end operations as well as the partnership with theme parks and various stakeholders.

How do Canon imaging products play a part in your business?

Canon meets and far exceeds expectations. Customers expects high image quality output in comparison to smart phones camera and I am very happy that Canon imaging products did exactly that. We have guests asking if the Canon prints are scratch-resistant and are pleasantly how well it withstands scratches overtime. Increasingly they grow confident of work produced by Pictureworks.  

How is efficiency important to the operations of Pictureworks?

In theme parks, parents are eager to see the pictures as soon as the photos are taken. We promptly attended to this need by developing PictureAir an online system which images can be viewed as quickly as they have been captured through the tap on KidZania’s Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Bracelet at every photo shop within KidZania. The RFID security bracelet is tagged on every child’s wrist and the child is only allowed to leave the park with an adult if his/her bracelet matches that of the adult who accompanied them.

What’s the business outlook of Pictureworks in relation with Canon?

Leveraging on the past 5 years working partnership with Canon, and having worked together on every park project we have undertaken, we will want to step foot with Canon on the global scene with other projects. We are confident to work well together moving forward.


For more information on the aforementioned PIXMA G series, watch the video below to find out more:

Stay connected to Canon Singapore by following us on LinkedIn, for more success stories on business solutions Canon has provided for our valued customers!

Canon’s newly launched MF735Cx from the imageCLASS series was featured at this year’s Think Big Leadership Business series. It was introduced with small– and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to adapt to the rapid transformation of the economy in mind. Today’s increasingly challenging business demands can now be met with the imageCLASS MF735Cx’s state-of-the-art features now allowing for higher workflow convenience and efficiency.

We’re Talking Seconds

The imageCLASS MF735Cx multi-function printer (MFP) boasts an impressive printing speed of 27 pages-per-minute (ppm). It also comes equipped with the new duplex auto document feature, which allows users to quickly and simultaneously scan both sides of the document at speeds of 50 ppm in black and 27 ppm in colour. Gone are the cumbersome days of having to manually flip originals for double-sided scanning.

In line with Canon’s goal for efficiency, the imageCLASS MF735Cx is fitted with a ceramic heater that reduces warm up time. This translates to a printout time of just 8.3s for mono documents, to 8.6s for colour documents.

Having to refill empty paper trays remains a common frustration in offices. The imageCLASS MF735Cx mitigates this problem by offering a paper capacity of up to 850 sheets.

Unparalleled Convenience

Hosting an impressive 5-inch Colour Touchscreen LCD, user experience on the imageCLASS MF735Cx is viscerally pleasing. The Application Library facilitates the streamlining of daily work functions by automating tasks effortlessly through different integrated applications. One of such applications, Print Template, stores and prints frequently used form templates with the push of a shortcut button; while Scan to Preset Destination seamlessly redirects scanned documents to pre-defined destinations.

Toner cartridge replacement is no longer a messy business in the imageCLASS MF735Cx. While spillages can occur with manual changing of cartridges for conventional printers, seals are automatically removed when installed into the imageCLASS MF735Cx, eliminating the risk of spilling toner.

Given the higher reliance on mobile devices in the workplace, the imageCLASS MF735Cx offers a wide range of mobile printing solutions for added user convenience. This includes Google Cloud Print, where users can send documents stored in their Google account for remote printing when they are out of the office.

Selected Android devices also enjoy contactless printing with the Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled imageCLASS MF735Cx. To print, users simply have to tap the NFC-supported device onto the NFC markers.

Security as Utmost Priority

Businesses are increasingly storing and transferring important documents online. While this offers greater convenience, vulnerabilities to cyber attacks is becoming a business concern.

The built-in secure print function on the imageCLASS MF735Cx will alleviate this concern by requiring a valid password from users when printing sensitive documents.

More Vibrant Printouts

Companies that require high quality colour printouts will be pleased to know that the new MFP is equipped with Canon’s renowned Vivid and Vibrant Colour Technology. Your daily creative needs can now be fulfilled with an expanded colour-reproduction range. This allows for greater colour saturation and image quality, resulting in more radiant printouts.


Speak with our Sales Professionals directly here to find out more about how the imageCLASS MF735Cx can help your business. In addition, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn for more business-related solutions and insights!

Technology has transformed the business outlook, offering SMEs the ability to reinvent way they operate. A key factor in improving one’s work efficiency is evolving to keep up with tech trends that offer high convenience, easy accessibility, and tight security.

We have shortlisted five different products that should help you adapt to the upward trend of technology:

Network Data Storages

External hard drives were the go-to for data storage, but for greater accessibility and efficiency, consider switching to network. Documents can be shared within a common network in the office, ensuring high-capacity storage and data protection. This also allows businesses to instantly send and receive large documents with ease, without having to consider file size limitations.

Network data storages like Dropbox, Drobo and Canon’s very own ThereforeDocument Solutions have innovated their systems to be dynamically expandable at any time. Web-based applications like Google Docs also allow documents to be accessed anytime and on the go. This mitigates the problem of a limited storage space, facilitating collaboration and work efficiency.

Short Throw Projectors

Meetings are part and parcel of conducting business. All SME owners can consider investing a short throw projector to facilitate meetings and presentations that are held in smaller meeting rooms.

thinkbigprojectorr

Especially in Singapore where space is a scarce resource, short throw projectors can resolve the long distance typically needed from projector to screen. The ultra short throw Canon LV-WX300UST requires just a close proximity of 28.2cm from the screen to produce high quality images with a projection of up to 80 inches.

Say goodbye to blurred screens, shadows or lights shining on a presenter’s face – short throw projectors are the solution to common frustrations of office presentations.

Video Conferencing Systems

Businesses now need to conduct international calls and discussions across various countries. Consider a video-conferencing system to extend communication across the globe without compromising on convenience.

The Acer Information VC520 comes packaged with a camera, a built-in microphone,and a speaker altogether. All you will need is a Wi-Fi connection to experience virtual meetings at the comfort of your own desk. This allows for SMEs with global client portfolios to stay connected, build rapport with face-to-face communication, and accelerate the speed of business.

Hybrid Laptop-Tablets

Get the best of both worlds with the new hybrid of laptops and tablets. These 2-in-1 laptops can either be flipped 180 degrees, or completely detached to function as a tablet.

Products like Acer Aspire Switch and Microsoft Surface Book i7 offer optimal lightweight and portability. Thus, users can switch from personal use to give presentations style, depending on their immediate needs. This can be especially helpful for design agencies that require the switch from laptop to tablet mode for design and illustration purposes. Pair it with a stylus and bid farewell to external graphic design drawing pads.

Multi-Functional Printers

Gone are days where functions like scanning, faxing, printing and photocopying were only available on separate machines – a multi-functional printer integrates all these needs into one. With wireless connectivity also available, documents can be accessed with a computer or smartphone in the presence of a WiFi connection.

TechShoppingListImageRunner

Multi-functional devices like the Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE series offer power paper-handling with fast print speeds. These multi-functional printers come with a simple user interface that make it hassle-free to either print, copy, scan, or fax.

Functionality, convenience, and quality come assured with multi-functional printers, allowing you greater work efficiency to prosper.


Office equipment and infrastructure is but one of many considerations to improve the efficiency of your SME; for more business solutions, do follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn!

Last month’s edition of Canon’s Think Big Leadership Business Series was themed Transformation Now, and several SME business owners were amongst the audience listening to a host of speakers sharing their expertise on sustainability amidst potentially disruptive changes in the global economy.

Here are five key takeaways from the conference:

Embracing the Age of Constant Disruption

“The global economy has gone through unparalleled changes with changes to global demand patterns,” Ms. Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, acknowledged in her keynote address. Transformation, sustainability, and indeed “global demand patterns” may well be big words in a sentence, but Ms. Sim was on to something to prepare us for the constant changes we encounter in today’s world.

SIMANN

Technological innovations around the world have disrupted traditional business models that have allowed us to succeed in the past. Uber, Netflix, Airbnb – to name a few – are all digital-centric businesses that have caused major shifts in the transport, TV and accommodation industry respectively.

As we gravitate towards a digital economy, businesses have to accept that innovation will no longer be a once-in-a-generation occurrence, but a constant to be embraced, and leveraged on.

Initiatives like the SMEs Go Digital program announced at Budget 2017 will help raise SMEs’ overall level of digital readiness by giving them step-by-step advice on the technologies to use at each stage of their digital journey.

Innovation vs. Invention

Innovation and invention may sound alike, but there is an important distinction between the two.

Invention can be defined as the creation of a product or introduction of a processor idea for the first time, while Innovation is the “delivery” of that idea – as expertly laid out by Mr. Stuart Smith, Chief of Digital Service Innovation and Design, National University of Singapore.

STUARTSMITH

We all have had our bright ideas, but acting on them and forcing a change – that is innovation. When the iPod was first released in 2001, Apple didn’t invent the MP3 player. Where Apple distinguished itself was through innovation;  combining thoughtful design, ergonomics, and user interface to make the iPod an iconic technological breakthrough.

Mr. Smith argued that innovation brings about more innovation. While a country like Singapore is going through a constant state of flux with newer technologies, this opens the door for SME business owners and entrepreneurs to further their ideas.

Invite Ideas From All Levels

“The first step to finding innovation is changing how you think,” emphasized Dr. Wilson Chew, author, and partner at PwC Singapore. The change of mindset from being old-fashioned, to open-mindedness is passed off as a small step by SME owners, but it may well be the biggest that they take towards innovation and sustainability. Being open could mean inviting ideas from all levels; from your employees, your customers, your suppliers.

WILSONCHEW

They say that if you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room. For a while now we have expected the older and more experienced colleagues to be our mentors. However today, there can be younger and less experienced “reverse-mentors” who happen to be more technologically-savvy, or hold expertise in other areas.

There are several outlets for fresh ideas and perspectives that could help SME business owners innovate and transform how their businesses operate. The next good idea could be just a conversation away, so it is important to have an open mind when approaching colleagues and peers.

Take Data Security Seriously

In March 2016, a blackhat hacker took control of 29,000 printers with a single line of code to release private information. We have all heard of similar office appliances getting hacked or taken over by external controls, but did you know that something as innocuous as your toaster is now also susceptible to hackers?

A business’ credibility and success comes down to several factors; price for the services they offer, efficiency in getting the job done, and the security measures the business adopts. Vital credentials are sent and received on electronic office appliances on an hourly basis, and security measures and features have proved necessary to safeguard private information.

mfpimagerunner

To combat the everyday cybersecurity threats that come with office appliances, Canon’s New Generation imageRUNNER ADVANCE series comes equipped with the imageRUNNER Security Kit. The features include Standard Device Security, Network and Print Security, and Data Overwrite Protection, all developed after studying market trends and details surrounding customer security requirements.

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

Microsoft are one of the companies who prioritize cybersecurity whilst still trying to foster digital transformation. Mr. Asfar Rizvi, Partner Technology Strategist, Microsoft, and Mr. Borko Kovacevic, Business Group Lead, Office Marketing, Microsoft, shared the importance of being ready and anticipating any plausible risks, as opposed to reacting to them when crisis strikes.

microsoffffffffffft

“We have to be very proactive in our security posture, so every battle is won before it’s fought,” spoke Mr. Rizvi. “Ask yourself questions when preparing a security strategy; is your data secure, and who can access your data presently?”

Mr. Chris Tickler, Product Planning Director, NT-ware, believes that security threats can be comfortably managed with some caution. “The world isn’t that scary as long as you are careful,” affirms Mr. Tickler. “And you don’t have to fear every device that is on the network as long as you’re aware of the mitigated risks.”

Change, as they say, is the only constant. In today’s world, the need to keep up with the times and technology proves to be more important than ever. As disruptive as the changes may have been to our economy and landscape, they have presented us with more opportunities to innovate and soar.


Stay tuned to our Think Big website and our Canon Singapore LinkedIn page for more business insights like these, and see you at our next event of this series!

The advent and subsequent ubiquity of social media has caused multiple upheavals over the years in the business landscape. Facebook was launched in 2004, and the rest, as they say, is history. As of the end of 2016, Facebook has over 1.86 billion monthly active users, and other popular social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram have a healthy following as well. With 467 million users on LinkedIn and companies increasingly choosing to connect with clients and customers online, business has definitely gone social.

Here are some crucial ways that social media has changed the business landscape as we know it.

Key Job Roles Have Evolved

Being social media savvy is now a requirement for many different job roles. With more business and customer interaction occurring online, professionals across the board now have to be familiar with social media tools and etiquette. This is especially true for those in sales and marketing as well as in customer service.

Since the emergence of social media, many positions have also been newly created to manage this aspect of business. These job roles include data analysis, online community management and content creation, among others.

Customers Expect More From Businesses

Real-time, round the clock customer service and assistance is one that many businesses are now expected to provide. It’s easy to reach businesses through platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and customers have come to expect prompt responses online.

usualbusiness-stockimage_v3

The ease of sharing information on social media has also led to many incidents where companies have faced considerable backlash in the event of a social media gaffe or other similar mistake. The recent incident with United Airlines is a prime example of this. People started lambasting the company once videos and pictures of the incident went viral on social media. Online crisis management has now become, or should become, a key priority for businesses.

Driving ROI through Social Media

Social media has added a dimension to traditional business models that is, at best, tricky to navigate. The upside, however, is that it has made it much easier for businesses now to reach out to existing and potential customers and clients.

Whether it’s through lead generation, advertising or sales, social media platforms have made it much easier for companies to generate revenue online. Facebook advertising is just one way by which highly targeted ads can be created to reach the business’s desired audience, and can be optimized to direct customers to make purchases online.

Organic marketing is also something that has been made possible by social media. Companies have increasingly become focused on creating interesting and engaging content on social media so that it will be shared organically. This helps to either increase brand presence or allow customers to be aware of upcoming promotions or new products and services. At the end of the day, all this translates to increased brand awareness and will hopefully translate into increased sales.


For similar insights and content on business-related issues, head over to Canon Singapore and follow us on LinkedIn!

By Vincent Low

As technology innovations continue to impact an increasing number of industries at breakneck speed, it is imperative for businesses to keep abreast with one of the key growth drivers – human capital.

Traditionally, senior management take it upon themselves to lead business transformation while leaving employees largely out of the conversation.

To remain competitive, this approach may no longer be applicable due to the impending threat of automation.

It would therefore be crucial for business leaders to adopt a culture based on an openness to change as well as an emphasis on employee growth where employees are consistently encouraged to identify and acquire the right skills that are complementary to technology.

The shift in paradigm would aid companies in enhancing productivity as well as to imbue staff with greater resilience to face the future economy.

In this respect, the republic has numerous initiatives available for employees to tap on and to boost their scope and depth of capabilities.

For example, the Ministry of Communications and Information announced an initiative, TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA), targeted at assisting information and communications technology (ICT) employees with training and job placement programmes. Equipping employees with the knowledge to navigate the sea of change not only yields a stronger sense of job security, it also ensures that your industry stays afloat and thrives in the future economy.

Use Technology to Focus On Core Competencies

Technology transformation has become synonymous with business success and increasingly, nimble SMEs understand its importance.

Before jumping onto the bandwagon, it would be helpful to understand technology disruptions and analyse the long-term impacts on different business functions in order to reap the full benefits from these transformations. This ensures businesses get the bang for their buck on investments and primes their operations for scaling up.

An efficient method for companies to focus on their core competencies is to leverage on technology effectively to simplify targeted functions for a greater work value.

This is especially important for SMEs as it promotes productivity, which is critical to staying ahead of the curve and allows employees to focus on key capabilities to deliver maximum value.

Businesses do not typically possess in-house expertise on print and document management, bill processing or mail room management and these are areas which management can look to in utilizing technology.

Huber’s Butchery, dealing in the manufacturing and processing of top quality meat, initially encountered delays in customer deliveries due to a tedious invoice process which was identified as a bottleneck to the company’s efficiency.

As a result of speed limitations on their office machines, employees had to invest additional time in preparing these documents that led to compounding inefficiencies. This was until the firm invested in a technologically advanced unit equipped with a faster print speed, eco stapling functionality and document sorting software which enhanced productivity.

Small steps like these can result in significant reductions to administrative hours and allow SMEs to scale incrementally while at the same time, not levying transformation fatigue on their staff.

Make Data Work for You

As computer sciences continue to evolve, advances in information and centralization have made data consolidation within an arm’s reach for SMEs.

Technological upgrades, in the form of software and hardware, can be utilized by companies to digitize data which makes it easier to store and communicate information between internal teams or external clients.

While these projects take time to plan and implement, studies have shown that they enable firms to reduce costs and widen the access to meaningful data. In turn, this enhances the depth and value of business analysis, allowing leaders to manage better by making informed decisions.

An engineering evaluation firm, Professional Testing Services (PTS), ensures that components for the offshore and marine industry are compliant and fabricated without critical flaws.

Due to the nature of the function, accurate documentation is paramount to the business’s success and these data were stored manually in hard copies.

Although the archival protocol was adequate, the retrieval process was tedious and misfiled documents led to further challenges. In a bid to improve its efficiency, PTS adopted an information management software solution that transformed operations – the software digitally archived the documents which enabled easy indexation and retrieval.

Digitization also meant enhanced accuracy and accountability for different teams working on the same assignments. A central repository platform, in this case, effectively converts the data into assets, empowering companies to create a scalable environment to support growth.

In addition, data centralization bolsters cyber security – with information unified under a single system, security specialists are better able to focus on developing programs for a single entity as opposed to iterating multiple editions for different channels.

Innovation has taken a pronounced shift from being a supporting pillar in business to a priority. While the government has enacted many policies to support SMEs in their journey and growth, the onus lies with businesses to integrate technology into their operations and inculcate a forward-looking culture to equip employees with the confidence to effect meaningful change.


The writer is director and general manager, Business Imaging Solutions, Canon Singapore.

This article was first published in The Business Times on 30 May 2017.