Logistics: ASEAN’s Next Big Thing?

Image Credit: Flickr/InterCityImpress

Capitalising on the economic growth of Southeast Asia’s (ASEAN’s) emerging markets, or delivering any non-digital product, requires effectively managing a complex supply chain.

ASEAN presents significant challenges in this regard, especially in countries like the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam, which are rapidly upgrading their infrastructure.

Global businesses commonly centralise and consolidate logistics and supply chain management functions in a secure location that can access a broad region. Singapore is one such location, given  its extensive connectivity, innovation ecosystem, and the availability of an experienced workforce, consultancies and other supply chain support services.

While there is a need to tailor supply chains to individual Asian markets, it is necessary to build competitive advantages and generate efficiencies from coordinating regional operations from established operational and technical hubs overseeing supply chain networks in Asia. At the same time, logistics firms need to prepare for the impending disruption posed by 3d printing technologies.

Centralising supply chain management into a hub is popular and a necessity for technology and industrial businesses. Iconic consumer companies, such as Nike and Unilever,  have establishes a presence in the city-state to reach their global markets, as well as leverage on the strong connectivity and logistics that the city-state offers.

According to the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), Nike established its global trading hub in Singapore to leverage on the financial, legal and logistics strengths. From their base here, they undertake centralised global product sourcing, logistics and brand protection. Unilever centralised its logistics leadership for the Asia Pacific (APAC) in Singapore, managing end-to-end supply chain functions and reducing the overall costs involved.

But with the disruption that 3d printing will also cause to manufacturing and the associated infrastructure (i.e. supply chains) and networks that sustain it, the changes that occur will require strong ecosystems of supply chain management experts, consultants, technologists and resources. Logistics solutions must be tailored and adapted for specific industry verticals, especially for growth sectors like robotics, drones, 3d printing materials and more.

Government commitment and careful planning, as well as additional investments, will be required to create infrastructure and industry ecosystems resilient and robust enough to adapt to the disruptions that new technologies brings.

Among the most significant investments in the region – though nowhere near as massive as Indonesia’s upgrades to its port infrastructure – is the consolidation of Singapore’s port facilities into a single mega-port in the Tuas industrial zone. This is a long-term investment aimed at hosting and supporting large-scale supply chain management operations, expected to begin operatiion by 2024.

With the growing middle class of the region and corresponding increase in business activity, increasingly complex logistics will be required to negotiate the vagaries of ASEAN emerging markets. The potential for business growth is tempered by the challenges that dynamic markets like Indonesia and the Philippines inherently pose.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.