Southeast Asia F&B Sector Embraces Digital Tech


Recently, with the rise in new technologies and the unexpected COVID-19 crisis, the Internet of Things (IoT) has been a hot topic all over the world. In fact, in the context of this coronavirus pandemic, it indeed highlighted the importance of digital technology in our current society. IoT is the connection of devices to the Internet using embedded sensors, software, and other technologies to store, communicate, analyze, and exchange information with other devices and systems. By embracing digital technologies, it not only helps advance a country’s resilience, but it also forms a more robust and more sustainable supply chain. As Bill Gates stated, “if history has taught us anything, it’s that there will be another deadly global pandemic.” We can’t predict when it’ll happen, but we need to be more prepared. Hence, the digital transformation that was once considered a nice-to-have is now viewed as critical for business survival, allowing businesses to respond quickly, adapt, and overcome the unexpected shocks and crisis shortly.  As a result, many countries in the Southeast Asia region like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore are now putting a strong focus on digital transformation on their food and beverage (F&B) industry.      



The government has been actively pushing and urging its local food and beverage industry to adapt to advance digital technologies in their operation as a part of the Making Indonesia 4.0 scheme first announced by President Widodo in 2018. This includes technologies such as digitization and automation within the supply chain system. As Agus Kartasasmita - Minister of Industry in the Republic of Indonesia – once said “Digitalization and automation are what will lead to innovation, and innovation is what will improve the competitiveness of industries.” Through the transformation, Indonesia hopes to make the most of the current opportunity to accelerate its productivity and become a powerhouse to lead the F&B market in South East Asia.  



Since mid-2018, manufacturers within Malaysia’s F&B sector have increasingly embraced digitalization within their operations. The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud stated previously that, as of March 2018, the authority approved over 2,154 F&B manufacturing digital transformation projects and RM51.2 billion worth of investments was made in support of executing the plans. Now with the coronavirus pandemic, even more businesses are aware of the importance of implementing digital technologiesAs the director of business digital adoption of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) – Muhundhan Kamarapullai – mentioned, this pandemic is a wake-up call for digital transformation, which “in order to sustain and survive, businesses need to inject digital [technology] into their business operations.” 



As the government believes that digital solutions will soon be deeply embedded in our lives, on May 26, Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced the new scheme to accelerate digital transformation. The new plan allows companies in the F&B industry and retail to be the first to receive up to $10,000 of payouts each from the original Digital Resilience Bonus. Since the payout scheme started, it has helped dozens of businesses who have not begun using digital technologies to afford to make the transition. Such tools include e-payments systems, supply chain management software, and offline-to-online business platforms, aiming to support businesses to boost resilience and access new domestic and international consumer groups. 


At Crystal Link Technology, we provide an end-to-end supply chain solution for F&B enterprises, food manufacturers to improve their supply chain operation and management. With our SaaS (Software as a Service) products, one can easily manage and monitor its supply chain activity within a single platform. Our objectives are to reduce costs and improve overall efficiency through our SaaS products and best practices; eventually to help our customer overcome a crisis like this pandemic. 


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