SPRING Singapore



SPRING (Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board) Singapore, a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, aims to help Singapore enterprises grow as well as to build trust in Singapore products and services.1 The agency focuses on three areas for small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and the domestic sector: productivity and innovation; standards and quality; and development programmes.

History
The Singapore Productivity and Standards Board (PSB) was formed in April 1996 with the merger of the National Productivity Board (NPB), the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research (SISIR) and the SME development function of the Economic Development Board (EDB). The merger aimed to bring together the soft skills of productivity handled by NPB and the technical aspects handled by SISIR.2 In April 2002, PSB was renamed SPRING Singapore to signify the shift towards an innovation-driven economy, and its new role in promoting creativity and raising the productivity of the domestic sector to sustain growth for Singaporeans.3


Roles and responsibilities
Being the national body responsible for enhancing the competitiveness of enterprises for a vibrant Singapore economy,4 SPRING is a leading body in the following areas.

Productivity movement
The national productivity movement was inaugurated in 1981 together with the launch of Work Improvement Teams in the civil service.5 It is an annual productivity campaign that promotes the productivity message.6 The initial thrust of the campaign was to equip Singaporeans as they moved from labour-intensive activities to more technology-and skill-intensive work. Subsequently, the campaign shifted its focus to innovation and quality work, with the last reported productivity campaign in 2002.7

National certification schemes
These certification schemes aim to recognise organisations that have attained a commendable level of performance standards leading to business excellence. Organisations are selected based on stringent assessment criteria.8 The schemes include Singapore Quality Class, Singapore Innovation Class and People Developer Standard.9

National awards
Awards, such as the Singapore Quality Award, People Excellence Award and Innovation Excellence Award, aim to recognise both organisations and individuals for their excellent performance.10

Singapore Accreditation Council
This council provides an internationally recognised accreditation and registration service to help ensure high levels of professional practice among assessment bodies.11

Assistance schemes
Schemes, such as the Local Enterprise Finance Scheme, Micro Loan Programme and Local Enterprise Technical Assistance Scheme, help local enterprises upgrade and improve their productivity.12

Consumer product safety protection
SPRING administers the Singapore Consumer Protection (Safety Requirements) Registration Scheme, which is mandatory for all consumer products designated as controlled goods including home electrical, electronic and gas appliances.13 Additionally, it oversees the Consumer Protection (Consumer Goods Safety Requirements) Regulations, which ensure the safety of general consumer products like toys, apparels, furniture and do-it-yourself tools.14

Weights and Measures Programme
Being the national authority on metrology, SPRING is also the custodian of Singapore’s reference standards for weighing and measuring instruments for trade use. As part of the Weights and Measures Programme, SPRING ensures that a uniform and accurate system of weights and measures is used in Singapore as well as protects consumers and traders by regulating the use of weighing and measuring instruments used for the sale and trade of food, fuel and other commodities.15

Challenges and strategies
In order to separate the regulatory and operating arms of the former PSB, its revenue-generating functions were corporatised into two subsidiaries – PSB Corporation Pte Ltd and PSB Certification Pte Ltd – on 1 April 2001.16 PSB Corporation offers training, consultancy, testing and technology services, while PSB Certification offers system-certification services.17

In December 1999 the PSB released a 10-year plan known as Productivity Action 21 (ProAct 21) to steer Singapore’s productivity movement into the 21st century.18 It aimed to transform Singapore into a knowledge-based economy that derived its competitive edge from productivity, with a focus on people, business and innovation.19

Two other strategic plans were subsequently launched. One was the 10-year strategic plan, SME 21, which was released in 2000. It aimed to build the capabilities of SMEs so as to enhance their contribution to Singapore’s competitiveness and economic growth.20 The other, Retail 21, was launched in March 2001. This 10-year plan set out new strategies for the growth and expansion of the retail sector in Singapore.21



Author

Jane Wee



References
1. SPRING Singapore. (2015, February 3). About us. Retrieved 2016, October 10 from SPRING Singapore website: https://www.spring.gov.sg/About-Us/Pages/spring-singapore.aspx; Choong, W., & Wilcox, S. (2002, January 26). More buzz when it’s Spring S’pore. The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Productivity and Standards Board to be set up by April 1. (1995, December 6). The Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. What’s in a name change? A new mission. (2002, May 17). The Straits Times, p. 36; Boey, D. (2002, January 26). TDB, PSB to get new names, functions. The Business Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. 
4. Singapore Government Directory. (2016). Ministry of Trade and Industry: SPRING Singapore. Retrieved 2016, October 11 from Government of Singapore website: https://www.gov.sg/sgdi/ministries/mti/statutory-boards/spring
5. Themes. (1991, November 1). The New Paper, p. 24; Improving civil servants’ team work. (1981, December 11). The Business Times, p. 3; Wee, E. (1981, July 15). Team that plays together will work better together... The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Lee, U-W. (2005, July 30). Work or life? See-saw, Singapore. Today, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Peh, S. H. (2005, July 30). Time to revisit Teamy the Bee? The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. SPRING Singapore. (2014). Business excellence: Embark on the BE journey. Retrieved 2016, October 11 from SPRING Singapore website: https://www.spring.gov.sg/Building-Trust/Business-Excellence/Pages/business-excellence-overview.aspx
9. SPRING Singapore. (2014). Business excellence: Embark on the BE journey. Retrieved 2016, October 11 from SPRING Singapore website: https://www.spring.gov.sg/Building-Trust/Business-Excellence/Pages/business-excellence-overview.aspx
10. SPRING Singapore. (2014). Business excellence: Embark on the BE journey. Retrieved 2016, October 11 from SPRING Singapore website: https://www.spring.gov.sg/Building-Trust/Business-Excellence/Pages/business-excellence-overview.aspx
11. SPRING Singapore. (2014, October 1). Singapore Accreditation Council. Retrieved 2016, October 11 from SPRING Singapore website: https://www.spring.gov.sg/Building-Trust/Accreditation/Pages/singapore-accreditation-council-accreditation-schemes.aspx
12. SPRING Singapore. (2015, August 1). Loan. Retrieved 2016, October 11 from SPRING Singapore website: https://www.spring.gov.sg/Growing-Business/Loan/Pages/loan.aspx; SPRING Singapore. (2014). Growing businesses: Overview. Retrieved 2016, October 11 from SPRING Singapore website: https://www.spring.gov.sg/Growing-Business/Pages/growing-business-overview.aspx
13. SPRING Singapore. (2014). Building trust: Raising confidence. Retrieved 2016, October 11 from SPRING Singapore website: https://www.spring.gov.sg/Building-Trust/Raising-Confidence/Pages/raising-confidence-overview.aspx; SPRING Singapore. (2015, February 1). Building trust: About CPS scheme. Retrieved 2016, October 11 from SPRING Singapore website: https://www.spring.gov.sg/Building-Trust/Raising-Confidence/Consumer-Product-Safety/CPS-Scheme/Pages/cps-scheme.aspx
14. SPRING Singapore. (2014). Building trust: Raising confidence. Retrieved 2016, October 11 from SPRING Singapore website: https://www.spring.gov.sg/Building-Trust/Raising-Confidence/Pages/raising-confidence-overview.aspx; SPRING Singapore. (2016, May 9). Building trust: About CGSR regulations. Retrieved 2016, October 11 from SPRING Singapore website: https://www.spring.gov.sg/Building-Trust/Raising-Confidence/Consumer-Product-Safety/CGSR-Regulations/Pages/cgsr-regulations.aspx
15. SPRING Singapore. (2016, February 26). Building trust: Raising confidence. Retrieved 2016, October 11 from SPRING Singapore website: https://www.spring.gov.sg/Building-Trust/Raising-Confidence/Weights-Measures-Programme/Pages/weights-measures-programme-overview.aspx
16. PSB to corporatise some operations. (2001, March 24). The Business Times, p. 9; Hee, J. (2001, March 24). Streamlined PSB from next month. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Hee, J. (2001, March 24). Streamlined PSB from next monthThe Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Productivity plan calls for new mindset. (1999, December 7). The Business Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore Productivity and Standards Board. (1999). ProAct 1: Creating the future. Singapore: Author, p. 3. (Call no.: RSING 331.118095957 SIN)
19. Productivity plan calls for new mindset. (1999, December 7). The Business Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Singapore Productivity and Standards Board. (2000). SME 21: Positioning SMEs for the 21st century. Singapore: Author, p. 3. (Call no.: RSING 338.95957 SIN) 
21. $16m boost for Singapore’s retail industry. (2001, March 8). Today, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2001 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Organisations>>Companies
Business, finance and industry>>Industry
Public institutions--Singapore
Executive departments--Singapore
Trade and industry
Commerce and Industry>> Industries
Law and government>>Trade (Commerce)
Business enterprises
Economic development projects--Singapore