Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore plan to focus on boosting productivity for better performance against an uncertain macro environment, according to a survey by United Overseas Bank (UOB).
“One of the ways SMEs are planning to achieve their productivity goals is to increase their investments in technology, which not only helps with increasing efficiency but also enhances their competitiveness in the long term," said Mervyn Koh, Managing Director and Country Head of Business Banking, Singapore, UOB.
After implementing productivity measures (51 per cent), other top priorities for 2020 include reducing costs (43 per cent) and developing new sources of revenue (42 per cent).
In a press statement released on January 7, UOB said 46 per cent of the 615 SMEs surveyed said they hold a positive outlook for their business for 2020. In contrast, one in three SMEs said they have a negative outlook, while the rest are neutral.
The top concerns driving sentiment in 2020 are the continued slowdown in global demand (23 per cent), the impact of ongoing US-China trade tensions (18 per cent) and the strengthening of the Singapore dollar, which SMEs worry will impact their competitiveness (17 per cent).
SMEs across all sectors are taking the need to digitalise seriously, with 65 per cent already using digital solutions in at least one area of their business, UOB said in its survey report. The processes which SMEs have digitalised include accounting, payroll and marketing.
Moving forward, 59 per cent of SMEs are looking at how they could improve the sustainability of their business operations. This focus was given higher importance by those in the business services, infocommunications and technology and transport and logistics sectors.