Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) and Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia (SAMENTA) launched the SME Digital Transformation and Productivity Programme (SDTP) to help Malaysian SMEs in the service and professional sector to digitalize.
As part of the SDTP programme, MPC and SAMENTA have launched a Digital Productivity Guide for Service-based SMEs, which is available for free download from the websites of both organisations. Participating SMEs can also take a proprietary Digital Productivity Readiness Assessment (DPRA) to evaluate their degree of readiness for digital transformation, followed by a mentoring session with selected digitalization experts via a Digital Productivity Virtual Advisory Clinic (DP-VAC).
According to Dato’ Abdul Latif Haji Abu Seman, director-general of MPC, “The past few years have been challenging because of the pandemic and difficult business climate. As a result, most businesses are seeing their margins being compressed and the costs of doing business increasing. By leveraging on productivity improvement, businesses can improve their chances of making more profit and hence, surviving and thriving against all odds”.
“This partnership with SAMENTA is open to all SMEs, with SAMENTA serving as the anchor association. Through the private sector-led Retail and Food and Beverage Productivity Nexus, the first batch of intervention will target SMEs in the retail sector, before rolling out to all other sectors”, Latif added.
“As Malaysia’s oldest and largest association of SMEs, SAMENTA is committed to being the voice of SMEs and in helping SMEs grow their businesses. The SDTP will help in handholding SMEs to become more digitally aware and to embark on their digital transformation journey”, said Datuk William Ng, chairman of SAMENTA.
“The pandemic has been merciless. Many SMEs find themselves unable to cope with the changes. We are hopeful that through the SDTP, SMEs can be guided to overcome some of these challenges. Through digitalization, we hope more SMEs can improve on their productivity, improve on their margins, and be more prepared for the disruption to their businesses”, Ng added.
In a recent survey conducted by SAMENTA and Affin Bank, less than 10 per cent of SMEs are fully digitalized, while a worrying 70 per cent has either not embarked on any form of digitalization or are at the very basic level.
Maresa Ng, chairman of community engagement & development of SAMENTA Central and the project director for SDTP, has early observations from SDTP program – that 82% of participants are digitalized in sales & marketing, and only 37% are digitalized in the back-end operations and employee management, hence generating lower labour productivity.
The SDTP and the Digital Productivity Guide can be viewed at https://wayup.my/.
SAMENTA has also signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with several retail-based industry associations as part of an industry-cluster approach to helping more SMEs digitalize. These include the Association of Malaysian Optometrists (AMO), Women Entrepreneur Network Association Malaysia (WENA) and Restaurant & Bistro Owner Association (PPRB).
According to Ahmad Fadhullah Fuzai, president of AMO, “this partnership with SAMENTA is an important step towards helping our members to embark on digitalization. The pandemic has hit the eye-care industry particularly hard. Through the diagnostics and handholding elements within the SDTP, we are able to speed up the digital transformation process”.
According to Nuraizah Shamsul Baharin, president of WENA, “this collaboration is necessary to ensure the sustainability of entrepreneurs especially women-led SMEs who are mainly micro businesses and heavily affected by rising costs. Through the SDTP, entrepreneurs can receive the much-needed roadmap to ensuring greater productivity by going digital”.
William Lee, president of PPRB, “this collaboration gives restaurateurs and operators better clarity in developing greater productivity to manage the rising costs of doing business”.