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Small-Scale Manufacturing: A Complete Guide

Year 2023
December 2023
Small-Scale Manufacturing: A Complete Guide
14 Dec 2023


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In the bustling landscape of global commerce, small-scale manufacturing stands as a dynamic force, providing a gateway for entrepreneurs to transform ideas into tangible products. With its diverse range of sectors from artisanal goods to innovative prototypes, Singapore provides a fertile ground for entrepreneurs looking to venture into small-scale manufacturing.  

If you’re considering embarking on this exciting journey, navigating the landscape can seem daunting. Do not fret! This comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools to navigate the challenges and reap the rewards of small-scale manufacturing in Singapore. 

Table of Content

Defining Small-Scale Manufacturing 

Small-scale manufacturing typically refers to the production of goods in lower volumes compared to large-scale factories. It often involves fewer employees, limited automation, and a more flexible approach to production. While the exact definition may vary depending on the country or industry, according to Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore, small-scale manufacturing often encompasses businesses with fewer than 200 employees or annual sales of not more than S$100 million.

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Understanding the Landscape 

Current Scenario

Small-scale manufacturing is on the rise in Singapore, a dynamic city-state known for its booming economy. The manufacturing sector currently contributed approximately $30b to the country’s GDP, with a notable portion attributed to small-scale enterprises. Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policy, highlighted Singapore’s plan to grow its manufacturing sector‘s share to $160b by 2030 during the Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific (ITAP) 2023 event. Experts anticipate a manufacturing rebound in Singapore, projecting a stronger momentum in Q1 2024 and signs of a broader recovery by mid-2024.

Regulatory Landscape

Before diving into the world of small-scale manufacturing, it’s crucial to understand the regulatory landscape. The Singaporean government ensures a streamlined process, making it straightforward for entrepreneurs to establish and operate small-scale manufacturing units. The conducive regulatory environment fosters a conducive ecosystem for small-scale businesses.

Advantages of Small-Scale Manufacturing 

Despite its smaller size, small-scale manufacturing offers several advantages over its larger counterparts: 

Flexibility and Agility 

One of the prime advantages of small-scale manufacturing lies in its inherent flexibility. Entrepreneurs can swiftly adapt to market trends, adjusting production schedules and product lines to meet evolving consumer demands. This agility is a stark contrast to larger manufacturing units, allowing for rapid innovation and responsiveness. 


Smaller operations often translate to lower overhead costs. Limited space requirements, reduced energy consumption, and a more focused workforce contribute to a streamlined cost structure. This financial prudence enhances profitability, positioning small-scale manufacturers to weather economic uncertainties more effectively. 

Niche Market Penetration 

In an era where niche markets hold significant value, small-scale manufacturing excels. Catering to specific consumer needs, these enterprises can carve a niche for themselves, fostering customer loyalty and building a robust brand identity.

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Navigating Challenges 

Despite the advantages, small-scale manufacturers face specific challenges. These include: 

  • Limited Resources: Access to funding, technology, and skilled labour can be challenging for smaller businesses. 
  • Competition: Small-scale manufacturers go head-to-head with bigger corporations with more resources and established economies of scale. 
  • Regulations: Navigating the complex and ever-changing regulatory environment can be overwhelming.

Fortunately, several resources and strategies can help small-scale manufacturers overcome challenges and thrive:

  • Technology Adoption: Repetitive tasks and hazardous processes can be effectively handled by collaborative robots (cobots). Cobots can be easily programmed and redeployed. Besides, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can integrate various functions like inventory management and production planning, providing a centralised platform for data management and decision-making. 
  • Collaboration and Networking: Collaborating with other small businesses can help share resources, expertise, and access new markets. Partnering with businesses operating in complementary industries or geographical locations provides access to new customer segments, expanding market reach and sales opportunities. 
  • Government Support: Government initiatives and programs can provide financial assistance to small businesses. Its workshops and educational resources help business owners and employees acquire new skills, knowledge, and stay updated with industry trends. 
  • Innovation: What are your customers’ pain points? Listening keenly to customer feedback and monitoring market trends helps identify unfilled needs. From advanced manufacturing procedures, high-tech gear like ERP systems, to a number of unknown avenues that are only possible with modern technologies, these technologies could help simplify your business, decrease wastage, and boost productivity. 

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Key Steps to Establish Small-Scale Manufacturing 

Step 1. Market Research and Feasibility Analysis 

Begin with a thorough analysis of market trends and consumer needs. Identify potential gaps in the market that your manufacturing venture can fill. Conduct feasibility studies to assess the viability of your chosen niche. 

Step 2. Business Planning 

Craft a detailed business plan outlining your goals, target market, and financial projections. A well-structured plan serves as a roadmap, guiding your enterprise through the initial phases and attracting potential investors. 

Step 3. Securing Funding 

Explore various funding options. Consider personal savings, loans, grants, angel investors, or crowdfunding platforms to secure the necessary capital for your startup. 

Step 4. Regulatory Compliance 

Navigate the regulatory landscape diligently. Ensure compliance with local and international standards, obtaining the necessary licences and certifications. This not only instils confidence in consumers but also avoids legal complications.

Step 5. Building Your Team 

Assemble a team with the expertise needed to handle production, sales, administration, and other essential functions. Foster a culture of continuous learning by providing employees with opportunities to develop their skills and knowledge.

Step 6. Effective Production Processes Implementation  

Streamline production processes to maximise efficiency, minimise waste, and ensure consistent quality control. Implement lean manufacturing practices to eliminate waste and continuously improve production processes.

Step 7. Technology Integration 

Utilise technology solutions. Consider using software like 3D printing, cloud computing and ERP solutions to increase efficiency, automate tasks, manage resources, and optimise business operations.

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Financial Resources and Support for Small-Scale Manufacturers in Singapore

Singapore offers various resources and financial assistance programs to support small-scale manufacturers: 

  • Enterprise Singapore: Provides grants, loans, training programs, and market access support. 
  • SMEs Go Digital Programme: Helps businesses adopt digital solutions to enhance their productivity and competitiveness. Synergix Technologies, which offers a fully integrated customisable ERP system, is a pre-qualified vendor for Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) IT solutions under this programme. 
  • Industry Associations: The Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) offers support services to their members, including networking opportunities, and access to industry-specific resources. 


Small-scale manufacturing presents a compelling opportunity for businesses to make their mark in the global marketplace. By embracing innovation, leveraging technology solutions, and collaborating with stakeholders, small-scale manufacturers can overcome challenges and achieve remarkable success. 

And on your journey, consider Synergix Manufacturing ERP Solution as your trusted companion. Synergix Technologies have been recognised as a pre-approved vendor by IMDA and can help businesses gain benefits from Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) when adopting the ERP system. Eligible SMEs can receive funding up to 50% of the qualifying costs to start their digitalisation journey. 

Reach out to us and discover how our innovative ERP software can help you achieve your goals!

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