SPRING Singapore (Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board)

SPRING Singapore, a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, aims to raise productivity to enhance Singapore's competitiveness and economic growth. SPRING stands for Standards, Productivity and Innovation for Growth. The statutory board focuses on three areas: productivity and innovation; standards and quality; and development programmes; for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the domestic sector.

Productivity and Standards Board (PSB) was formed by the merger of the National Productivity Board (NPB) and the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research (SISIR) in April 1996. The merger aims to bring together the soft skills of productivity handled by NPB and the technical aspects handled by SISIR. In April 2002, it was renamed SPRING Singapore to signify the shift towards an innovation-driven economy, and therefore its new role in promoting creativity to sustain growth for Singaporeans.

Organisational Structure
SPRING is headed by the Chairman and assisted by the Chief Executive Officer. It is organised into these units; Productivity & Innovation; Standards & Quality; SMEs & Domestic Sector; Promotion & Corporate Affairs; Planning & Corporate Development (which is in charge of Strategic Planning, Infocommunication Technology, and Corporate development), and the Incentives Management (which handles the Enterprise Development Fund).

Roles & Responsibilities
Being the national agency for productivity, standards and innovation, SPRING is a leading body in the following:

The national Productivity Movement was inaugurated in 1981 together with the launch of Work Improvement Teams in the Civil Service. This is an annual productivity campaign to promote the productivity message.

National Certification Schemes
Includes Singapore Quality Class, Singapore Innovation Class, People Developer Standard and Singapore Franchise Mark. These are all certification schemes with stringent assessment criteria to recognise organisations that have attained a commendable level of performance standards in business excellence.

National Awards
Includes Singapore Quality Award, National Productivity Award, People Excellence Award, International Management Action Award, National Innovation & Quality Circle Award and Excellence Service Award, to recognise both organisations and individuals for their excellent performance.

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

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

Consumer Product Safety Scheme
SPRING also administer the Singapore Consumer Protection (Safety Requirements) Registration Scheme which is mandatory for all consumer products designated as controlled goods, such as home electrical appliances, adaptors, safety helmets and boots, etc.

National Measurement Instrastructure Programme & Weights and Measures Office
As the national authority on metrology, SPRING is custodian of Singapore's reference standards for measurements related to mass, length, time, temperature, luminous intensity, and electrical current, and for chemical measurements. The role of the Weight and Measures office is to ensure that a uniform and accurate system of weights and measures is used in Singapore, and serves to protect consumers and traders by regulating the use of weighing and measuring instruments used for sale/trading of food, fuel and other commodities.

Challenges and strategies
In order to separate the regulatory and operating arms of then PSB, the revenue generating functions were corporatised into two subsidiaries, PSB Corporation Pte Ltd and PSB Certification Pte Ltd on 1 Apr 2001. PSB Corporation offers training, consultancy, testing and technology services, while PSB Certification offers system-certification services.

A ten-year plan, Productivity Action 21 (ProAct 21), was released by PSB in December 1999 to steer Singapore's productivity movement into the 21st century. It aims for Singapore to become a knowledge-based economy deriving its competitive edge from productivity by focusing on people, business and innovation

Another 10 year strategic plan, SME 21, released in 2000, is aimed at building the capabilities of SMEs so as to enhance their contribution to Singapore's competitiveness and economic growth. Launched in March 2001, Retail 21 is a 10 year strategic plan that sets out the new strategies for growth and expansion of the retail sector in Singapore.

Jane Wee

Choong, W., & Wilcox, S. (2002, January 26). More buzz when it's Spring S'pore. The Straits Times

Hee, J. (2001, March 24). Streamlined PSB from next month. The Straits Times, Home, p. 6.

Productivity and Standards Board to be set up by April 1. (1995, December 6). The Straits Times, p. 26.

What's in a name change? A new mission. (2002, May 17). The Straits Times

SPRING Singapore. (2003). SPRING Singapore (Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board). Retrieved March 4, 2003, from www.spring.gov.sg/portal/main.html

Further Readings
Singapore National Productivity and Quality Council. (1999). ProAct 21: Creating the future. Singapore: Author.
(Call no.: RSING 331. 118095957 SIN)

Singapore Productivity and Standards Board (2000). SME 21: Positioning SMEs for the 21st century. Singapore: Author.
(Call no.: RSING 338. 95957 SIN) 

The information in this article is valid as at 2003 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.

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