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Welcome Address By Prof Cheong Hee Kiat At Supply Chain Challenge ++ 2019 Opening Ceremony

Welcome address by Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President, Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) at Supply Chain Challenge ++ 2019 Opening Ceremony at the Performing Arts Theatre, Block D, Level 1 on Friday 26 April 2019, 2:30 p.m.

Theme: “Riding on Digital Economy to Moving Ahead”


Mr Kay Kong Swan, Chairman of Singapore Logistics Association;
Mr Ng Siau Yong, Director, GeoSpatial and Data Division, Singapore Land Authority;
Industry and Institution Partners;
Students from our partner institutions;
Ladies and Gentlemen



  1. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) for the Opening Ceremony of Supply Chain Challenge ++ 2019!
  1. We are glad to be part of this initiative together with the Singapore Logistics Association (SLA) and Geoworks, our partner institutions, and mentor companies to organise the 8th instalment of Supply Chain Challenge, themed “Riding on Digital Economy to Moving Ahead”.

Shared Goals to Train and Develop the Logistics Sector

  1. Both the SLA and SUSS share a common goal to develop human capital to meet the needs of the logistics industry. There is a pressing need for professionals with specialised and digital skills to deliver innovative solutions in a volatile, now often uncertain, future.
  1. This year marks the second time the Singapore Land Authority’s Geoworks is participating in this event as our technology partner. We deeply appreciate Geoworks for coming on board, which has added a new dimension to the competition.
  1. Supply Chain Challenge is a unique platform on which industry and institutions work together to attract and groom talent for the logistics sector in Singapore.
  1. This annual series is almost as old as the Game of Thrones (GOT). I don’t watch it myself but many of you will surely do, and follow the web of alliances and conflicts among the noble dynasties, the strikes and counter-strikes, the gripping drama in a world of fantasy. Oh, if only supply chain is as exciting and engaging as GOT. Well, there is some bits of that! But, instead of fantasy, supply chain is dealing with the real stuff, and like Game of Thrones, it happens in a fiercely competitive and complex business environment, and you’ll see alliances and unforgiving actions from rival operators. So, supply chain is exciting and demanding and capture your imagination if you get yourself immersed in the business.
  1. What began in 2012 with Supply Chain Challenge has evolved into the largest platform that connects young talent with companies to enable them to be immersed in real-world challenges. And while GOT may be ending its run with its penultimate 8th season, I believe Supply Chain Challenge will have many more episodes to go.

Preparing for a Digital Future

  1. For all our student participants here, listen: the real world is beckoning you, and you’ll live in it for a long time, not in fantasyland. We are living in an era of dramatic and rampant upheavals that are challenging how business and trade are normally done. Many sectors, logistics included, are being disrupted by digitisation and new technologies, changing expectations of customers (and in particular those from millennial generation), and new business models.
  1. Think of what Netflix has done to the movie industry, Airbnb to the hotel industry, Grab to the taxi industry, Wechat to the finance industry. There is no iron-clad guarantee nowadays that what worked well in the past will work well in the future. Many are now hooked on e-commerce – viewing and buying their stuff online, getting it delivered where they want it, when and how. But, just think, with millions of items to source and millions of packages to deliver on time and at the right places, we have a huge problem in supply chain and logistics, and it can be a nightmare for those companies that are not well-geared to conduct such types of business.

Human Capital is the Key to Winning the Game

  1. The logistics sector has traditionally been one with a low degree of digitisation. Many businesses still rely on highly manual processes – the results? - slowness, more errors occur, you cannot scale readily and costs per unit are high. For logistics to succeed in the future, we need to have a strong digital DNA. Those who want to succeed must heed the call to learn how to exploit technologies such as data analytics, robotics and automation, blockchain, IoT and sensor technologies, autonomous guided vehicles, and 3D printing, to name a few.
  1. So how do we ensure that we can continue to thrive, trade and do business in the digital future? Look around this theatre and you will see the answer. You are the answer!
  1. For companies, the capacity to learn new skills, adapt to the changing environment and innovate comes down to the people. The supply chain cannot run on its own without people. And people will be at the core of the business. Companies which are committed to attracting precious young talent, and develop and retain talents, will stay on top of the game and stay ahead of the competition.
  1. For the young talent present in this theatre, it’s about how we embrace lifelong learning, keep our skills updated, stay nimble and agile, so that we become valued employees of the companies. Here’s where I would like to encourage all of you not to stop learning after you’ve graduated from ITE or Poly. With longer life expectancy and changing nature of work, continue to upgrade and upskill by enrolling yourself in part- or full-time courses. Chat with our SUSS lecturers here to find out more about our multiple and flexible pathways to obtain a degree. We will help you make your mark and equip you to serve the society.


  1. Let me conclude by thanking our partners – SLA and Geoworks – once again; and to all our institution partners for your unwavering support. Thank you Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, and Institute of Technical Education.
  1. We also appreciate the following mentor companies for offering your company challenges to those who wish to sign up for this challenge:

    - Janio Technologies Pte Ltd
    - Shalom International Movers Pte Ltd
    - Sin Chew Woodpaq Pte Ltd
    - VersaFleet
    - Yang Kee Logistics Pte Ltd

    I think our student participants here will find it enriching to be plugged into real industry challenges as they prepare their proposal for the company.

  1. Enjoy the process and all the best as we wait with bated breath to find out which team will rise to the Challenge and ascend to the Iron Throne this July!
  1. Thank you.

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