Tuesday, November 24, 2009

All set for the future

Despite the downturn, JTC is forging ahead with its new blueprint for an innovative industrial landscape

THE economic downturn curbed many organisation’s appetite for growth and risk in the past year. But taking a step back was not an option for JTC Corporation, the agency responsible for spearheading Singapore’s industrial development.

JTC is forging ahead with its blueprint for the future – and has a new chief executive to lead.

‘For most, staying resilient in the wake of an economic crisis would mean taking measures to reduce costs and holding out until the storm blows over,’ JTC said in its fifth Periscope magazine for 2009.

‘JTC has done that and beyond. We charted new business territories targeted as future growth industries, while maintaining focus on investing in land infrastructure so Singapore will be ready to ride the next wave when the upturn comes.’

The agency’s new chief executive Manohar Khiatani took the helm on Oct 1 – and is ready to take JTC to the next level. Mr Khiatani, who was previously deputy managing director at the Economic Development Board, has more than 20 years’ experience in industrial development.

One of his priorities at JTC is to ensure the organisation stays close to its customers and understands their needs, he says in the foreword to Periscope. JTC is now better-positioned for this, having gone through an internal reorganisation recently.

Its business units used to be grouped according to development types, such as industrial parks and specialised parks. But since April, they have been arranged around key clusters such as electronics, info-communication, media, aerospace, marine, clean technology, bio-medicine, chemicals, engineering and logistics.

The reorganisation came after a strategic review, which began last year, to position JTC for the future. The review identified three strategic thrusts, one of which is to focus on economic clusters.

‘This allows us to better support you through targeted planning and infrastructural solutions customised for the individual clusters,’ Mr Khiatani said, addressing JTC’s customers. ‘You will have a single point of contact for all your needs and JTC officers will be in a better position to appreciate cluster trends and customer requirements.’

Besides internal restructuring, JTC continued to develop various large-scale cutting-edge projects. The strategic review also highlighted the need for the agency to continue investing in innovation and to optimise long-term land resources.

Projects include Seletar Aero+sPace (SAP), a 300 hectare centre for aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul services; aircraft systems and components design and production; business and general aviation activity; and aviation research and education. Several aerospace players have signed up for space at SAP, which is expected to create more than 10,000 jobs when it is completed in 2018.

Catering to the budding digital media industry, JTC is also involved in developing the 19 ha Mediapolis at one-north. Collaborating with the Media Development Authority, Infocomm Development Authority and EDB, JTC will help build a centre with interactive digital media research labs, sound stages, media schools and other facilities.

Work on the Jurong Rock Cavern is also progressing. The underground cavern, measuring 27 metres high, 20 metres wide and 300 metres long, will provide secure storage for liquid hydrocarbons such as crude oil and naphtha when it is ready. The first phase will create 1.47 million cubic metres of storage when completed in 2014, and the planned second phase could generate another 1.32 million cubic metres of space.

Underground caverns are particularly functional in land-scarce Singapore – and JTC is coming up with more uses for them. It is exploring the possibility of building an underground science city at Kent Ridge and an underground warehouse-cum-logistics facility at Tanjong Kling.

Out at sea even, JTC is studying the creation of Very Large Floating Structures to provide storage capacity offshore.

‘We are looking at creating solutions that will not only help us optimise land use, but also create a unique and differentiating advantage for industry clusters in Singapore,’ Mr Khiatani told JTC’s customers. ‘We look forward to closely working with you to jointly generate and develop new ideas which will ensure that we are ‘future-ready’.’

Mr Khiatani added that JTC is working on creating a ‘borderless culture’ internally and with other government agencies. ‘This will enable us better understand and provide seamless solutions for you,’ he said.

With its blueprint for the future laid out, JTC is all set for better performance ahead. ‘With a strong foundation, we are confident of accelerated growth once global demand builds up again,’ it said.

Source: Business Times, 24 Nov 2009

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