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09 Jan 2020

9th Jan 2020

Rear-Admiral (Retired) Richard Lim, Chairman, ST Logistics
Mr Loganathan Ramasamy, CEO, ST Logistics
Mr Yeo Li Pheow, Principal and CEO, Republic Polytechnic
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

1.    A very good afternoon to all of you. It is my greatest pleasure to be here in Republic Polytechnic (RP) on this first day of RP Open House 2020, which is also the launch of the RP - ST Logistics Healthcare Supply Chain Laboratory.

2.    As you all know, in Singapore, healthcare spending will continue to rise as our population ages and the prevalence of chronic diseases increases. We have been transforming our healthcare system to meet the future demands and ensure that Singaporeans will continue to receive appropriate and affordable healthcare, while remaining sustainable in the long run.

3.    From managing the flow of supplies and equipment, to delivering services from manufacturers to patients, the healthcare supply chain is a vast process with a complex network of products and players, making it vulnerable to risks of rising cost and disrupted services. But it also presents opportunities to achieve greater cost effectiveness while ensuring safe care delivery to patients at all points of care.

4.    ALPS, the national agency set up in 2018 to pool procurement and supply chain management of our three healthcare clusters, has re-organised the business processes, to achieve greater economies of scale, create synergy, develop new capabilities and evolve innovative supply chain solutions across the public healthcare sector. There have been some early results, through the economies of scale achieved by bulk procurement, a box of 50 diabetes strips sold at outpatient pharmacies in public healthcare institutions which was previously sold at around $70 is now available to patients at around $20. That means about 70% savings for patients with diabetes. When the high blood pressure drug Losartan had to be taken off the market last year, ALPS played a critical role in sourcing for alternative drugs for our public healthcare institutions and securing sufficient supply for the affected patients.

5.    Emerging technologies, such as internet-of-things, RFID tracking, drone technology, 3D printing technology, robotic process automation and AI, and big data analytics present new growth opportunities in healthcare logistics and supply chain management. To seize these opportunities, companies need to build up their capabilities, develop innovative solutions, train their workers, redesign existing jobs and create new roles to enhance the service for their customers and patients. It is also important to develop talents and equip students with future-ready skills so that they too will able to seize these opportunities.

Equipping students with future-ready skills

6.    I am glad to see industry players and institutes of higher learning, such as the Republic Polytechnic (RP) and ST Logistics, collaborating and equipping students with the relevant skills which they can apply when they enter the workforce.

7.    The RP - ST Logistics Healthcare Supply Chain Laboratory is equipped with a range of automation equipment and robots that enables hands-on learning of comprehensive monitoring for healthcare warehousing operations and distribution of pharmaceutical products. The joint lab will give RP’s supply chain and pharmaceutical science students a holistic overview and hands-on learning experience in the application of sophisticated supply chain technologies. For example, the joint lab’s Integrated Supply Chain Tower System simulates and enables a range of ground logistics deployment where students can learn ground deployment monitoring and even take part in crisis scenarios such as supply chain disruptions.

8.    I am told that this joint lab will also serve as a space for research and application of ready technologies to optimise processes in the healthcare supply chain. One of the projects featured in the joint lab is the Inventory Monitoring@Hospital Wards, which aims to help hospital teams electronically monitor inventory and manage the replenishing of medical supplies. The prototype, developed by a team of RP final-year students, imitates how medical supplies are stored in the hospital ward, and is retrofitted with proximity and weight sensors that pushes inventory information to Google Sheets. Hospital staff can monitor the inventory electronically, instead of doing the usual manual checks.

9.    Besides the joint lab initiative, RP will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding with ST Logistics to further cement their collaborative partnership. They will work together to provide internship opportunities, recruitment and employment opportunities to RP students, as well as Continuing Education and Training opportunities to working adults who wants to build and deepen their skills and competencies in Supply Chain Management.


10.    In closing, I would like to thank RP and ST for their initiatives in creating opportunities for students to experience a live warehouse environment, and also deepening thought leadership in supply chain innovations and applications in Singapore’s changing healthcare landscape. 

11.    There is much more we can achieve by working together to revolutionise the healthcare supply chain. I want to wish all of you a good day ahead and success in your partnership. Thank you.

Category: Speeches