The Alliance for Action (AfA) on Supply Chain Digitalisation has gathered public and private sectors to pilot a common data infrastructure to benefit the supply chain ecosystem.
This digital utility facilitates data sharing and enables businesses large and small to ‘plug and play’ into the infrastructure easily.
Recognising the need to act swiftly, the Emerging Stronger Taskforce (EST) convened seven Singapore Together Alliances for Action in June this year, to seize opportunities amidst a global crisis. The AfA on Supply Chain Digitalisation was created to examine how ecosystem players can participate meaningfully in the digital economy, to co-create a supply chain future that is trusted, efficient and resilient.
Together with industry stakeholders and in consultation with government, the AfA has arrived at the need for a common data infrastructure to resolve critical pain points in the ecosystem. The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and other government agencies will work with the AfA on a pilot to develop this common data infrastructure.
A common data infrastructure will enable trusted and secure data sharing between industry players, to drive efficiency, productivity and resilience through information flows across the ecosystem. Development of the common data infrastructure will be guided by the principles of:
- Open, trusted and secure data sharing;
- Scalability and interoperability with local and global data platforms;
- Timely accessibility to all players across the value chain.
The common data infrastructure will strengthen existing data sharing systems and platforms by connecting the supply chain end-to-end, creating visibility and transparency, linking importers/exporters, shipping companies and financial institutions. It will also provide both large and small companies with access to exchange data in an efficient, trusted and secured way.
As part of the pilot phase for the common data infrastructure, the AfA will be conducting trials with industry players for two use cases:
1. Strengthening trade finance and converging efficiencies
Financial institutions (FIs) currently have limited visibility over the physical movement of goods in the supply chain. This reduces the ability of the trade finance industry to address demand from shippers. For sellers, digitally tracking the physical movement of their goods throughout the supply chain will improve visibility and traceability across the trade process, allowing them to make better decisions.
The common data infrastructure will improve process flow efficiency, where FIs will be able to provide and access data directly from trusted parties, in order to reconcile trade details with the physical movement of goods. This helps all players reduce dependency on physical documents, improve data flow and builds greater trust across the trading and financial communities.
It also complements other initiatives such as TradeTrust to digitalise trade documents, and the Trade Finance Registry amongst the banks to mitigate against risk of duplicate financing.
2. Container flow node decongestion
Logistics players face frequent congestion at container flow nodes, such as depots and warehouses, because of limited end-to-end visibility of container flows. This results in long waiting times and therefore sub-optimal asset utilisation and additional cost.
To address this challenge, through the common data infrastructure, major shipping lines, depot operators, warehouse operators and hauliers, can share (with consent) key operational and event data such as container bookings, time slot bookings, job management and other data to enhance end-to-end logistics operations visibility. This will improve planning and asset utilisation, efficiency and productivity, reinforcing Singapore’s place as a logistics hub.
A common data infrastructure is part of IMDA’s drive to put in place digital utilities as baseline infrastructure for the digital economy. Similar to their physical counterparts, digital utilities provide common standards and functionalities to enable data to flow and transactions to be made. Companies and platforms will also be able to build additional services and offerings on top of these open digital utilities. This brings about more value and enhances capability for all industry participants
stated Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive, IMDA.