Tag Archives: SPRING

Singapore SMEs can learn from their German counterparts

One of the key takeaways from years of collaborating with German companies for the German-Singaporean Business Forum (GSBF) is that the differentiating factor between mittelstand and Singapore SMEs is focus, said Spring Singapore deputy chief executive Ted Tan.

At a factory that specialises in the manufacture of glass lenses in Germany, Spring Singapore deputy chief executive Ted Tan’s simple question – why don’t you outsource this to Singapore? – was met with a surprising answer.

The head of the family- run business or mittelstand – the German equivalent of a small and medium enterprise (SME) – had approached various companies in Singapore but found that the costs were too high.

“It’s quite surprising, right?” asked Mr Tan. “Then I realised that they have one operator looking after three very sophisticated machines. And because it’s highly automated, they are highly productive because the machines run almost 24 hours. In Singapore, we probably have three persons operating one machine.”

In Singapore, local SMEs try to do everything, but for the Germans, they are focused on deepening their competitive advantage to harness their full potential. This not only increases their productivity but also means they are the best at what they do.

The article can be found here: