Innovation Challenges

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Commoditising Food Manufacturing Services (closed)

Singapore Manufacturing Federation
This challenge has closed.
Audience: Other, Subject Matter Experts, Businesses, Start-Ups, Researchers, Students
Anticipated Funding: SGD 30,000
Applications close: February 14, 2020
Last Updated: February 16, 2020 10:00 PM
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The Challenge

Established since 1932, the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) represents the interest of the manufacturing community in Singapore, driving its competitiveness and sustainable growth through serving industry-specific needs. Supported by 10 industry groups and its Associated Services, the SMF enhances the competitiveness of the manufacturing community by encouraging capacity development and capability building, innovation and productivity. The SMF provides opportunities for companies to collaborate, network and to grow and expand both locally and internationally. Current membership stands at about 3,000 corporate members, consisting of SMEs, MNCs and Affiliated Members.

Traditionally, the manufacturing industry focused on mass production and reducing cost through process automation and workers’ skills specialisation. It is not ideal for machines to be idle as even when not in use, there are still overhead costs to sustain the machines. Coupled with the increasing demand for high-mix low-volume products, it is now more pertinent than ever for manufacturers to optimise and maximise operational efficiency.

As such, the SMF would like to offer a Manufacturing-as-a-Service (MaaS) model, where factories with spare capacity can match its spare capacity to businesses who can then make use of this spare capacity for production of their own products. The benefits are that businesses that are smaller, may not require huge production and/or, do not have the capital to set up a factory line can have access to a factory production facility. The factory owner is also able to maximise the operating efficiency of his machines.

At the onset of this challenge, SMF will focus on the food manufacturing industry in Singapore.


How might we commoditise food manufacturing plants to efficiently utilise the assets production capabilities during periods of low utilisation?


  • A Proof-of-Concept (POC) solution that is able to effectively increase productivity in all manufacturing plants with the following functions:
    • A highly user-friendly portal that is able to accurately match both the demand and supply parties in real-time through a set of rules/algorithms.
    • An end-to-end solution which includes e-billing and online payment.
    • A feedback mechanism for users to provide feedbacks and ratings.
    • A customisable profile system to allow machine owner’s anonymity.
    • A solution that allows easy integration with other platforms to provide interoperability in multiple geographical locations.

For this challenge, the solution will be tested with three sub-sectors (snacks, sauces, drinks) of food manufacturing plants in Singapore. However, the solution should be able to expand into a global, multi-industries platform.

There are no restrictions on the geographic location of the problem solvers who may choose to apply for this challenge. However, the POC will be demonstrated in Singapore.


  • A start-up recently created a new flavour of noodles and would like to begin production. However, the estimated volume of production and the investment requirement does not justify building a dedicated production facility. The start-up then goes onto the platform to search for production plants which meet its requirements. The platform, using its internal AI based engine, returns five suggestions from which the start-up selects its favourite. The platform then notifies the owner of the selected production facility immediately and communicates the requirements of the start-up e.g. product specifications, volume of production etc. The owner of the production facility provides an offer to the start-up via the platform, stating the timeline and costs involved. Upon agreement of the terms, the start-up hires a 3PL to send the ingredients required for the noodles production to the production facility. The production facility begins production and upon completion, the owner of the production facility hires a 3PL to deliver the completed goods to the start-up. The start-up receives the batch of noodles on time and is happy with the quality. The start-up proceeds to give the production plant a high rating for its performance. Billing and payment are done automatically through the platform.
  • A Company with a newly built production plant has some spare capacity and would like to reduce idle time. The Company is vetted by the SMF and registers anonymously on the platform. The Company completes the registration by entering the production plant specifications. In the next few days, the Company receives a notification from the platform stating that a user is interested to use the Company’s facilities. The terms of use are communicated via the platform. Upon agreement of the terms by both parties, the Company begins production. Once the order is completed, the Company hires a 3PL provider via the platform to pick up the goods. The invoice is sent through the platform to the user and payment is made automatically.


  • SGD 30,000 of prize money for each winner of this challenge (see Award Model).
  • Access to food manufacturing plants data and domain expertise for the development of the POC.
  • Opportunity to work with the SMF to co-develop the solution for the entire food manufacturing industry in Singapore.
  • Partner with SMF on a worldwide platform covering all the manufacturing industries.
  • Winner will be able to use Singapore Manufacturing Federation as a reference customer for business promotion.


The Applicants shall be evaluated in accordance with the evaluation criteria set out below:

Solution Fit

  • To what extent does the proposed solution address the problem statement effectively?

Solution Readiness

  • How ready is the proposed solution to go to market?
  • Is there any evidence to suggest capacity to scale?

Solution Advantage

  • Is the solution truly innovative, does it make use of new technologies in the market, and can it potentially generate new IP?

Company Profile

  • Does the product have user and revenue traction?
  • Do the team members possess strong scientific/technical background?


30% of the prize money will be awarded to each selected finalist at the start of the POC development, with the remainder 70% to be awarded during the POC development, based on milestones agreed between the SMF and the solver.

Note that a finalist who is selected to undertake the POC development will be required to enter into an agreement with the SMF that will include more detailed conditions pertaining to the POC.

Eligibility Criteria

There are no restrictions on the geographic location of the problem solvers who may choose to apply for this challenge. However, the POC will be demonstrated in Singapore.

You, (or any of your teammates, if you are participating in the Challenge as a team) must not be a current employee of (a) SMF, or (b) any other organisation who is involved in administering or organising the Challenge (including IMDA).

For full details on this challenge please see the SG:D Open Innovation Platform website.

Terms and Conditions




1.1 We understand that Problem Solvers are keen to participate and share their ideas with the Problem Owners. Submissions will be treated as confidential by the Problem Owner, but all information contained in the submissions may be used by Problem Owners and IMDA in evaluating a submission for the purposes of a challenge.


2.1 Ideas in and of themselves are not protected, and you must be careful to ensure that you do not divulge any confidential information, proprietary information, know-how, or trade secrets.

2.2 Problem Solvers must read the terms set out below carefully. SMF may include terms where Problem Solvers are to grant a limited and/or exclusive licence relating to the solutions proposed to the Problem Owners. Problem Solvers must understand the terms before agreeing to the same.


3.1 You, (or any of your teammates, if you are participating in the Challenge as a team) must not be a current employee of (a) SMF, or (b) any other organisation who is involved in administering or organising the Challenge (including IMDA).


4.1 Incomplete entries will be deemed invalid and disqualified.

4.2 All submission materials must be presented and/or submitted in English language.



1.1. The Problem Solver and Problem Owner (the “Parties” and each, individually, a “Party”) accept and agree that they will be bound by the terms set out herein.

1.2. The Problem Solver agrees to the instructions set out in paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Instructions and Information section on eligibility for participation and submission criteria.

1.3. The Problem Solver shall abide by and accept as final and binding on the Problem Solver, all of SMF’s decisions on all matters related to this Challenge.

1.4. The parties acknowledge and agree that the solutions provided in this challenge will be used for sector-wide applications, and agree to endeavour to achieve the broad objectives of solving sector-wide problems.


2.1. "Confidential Information" means all confidential information indicated in writing or labelled as "confidential", "proprietary information" or where the circumstances of disclosure indicate that the information so disclosed is confidential or proprietary or all information which is deemed by the Parties to be confidential information or which is generated as a result of or in connection with the challenge and which is not generally available to the public.

2.2. Use. The Parties agree to maintain the confidence of Confidential Information and will only use Confidential Information for the purposes of the Problem Owner evaluating the Problem Solver’s submission. Without prejudice and in addition to the foregoing, the Parties shall not disclose Confidential Information, whether directly or indirectly (including publishing any reports containing any Confidential Information), to any third party without prior written approval of the other Party.

2.3. Disclosure. Confidential Information may only be disclosed to each Party’s employees or advisers on a strictly need-to-know basis for the purpose set out in Clause 2.2 above, and each Party shall also ensure that the same obligation of confidentiality shall at all times be observed and maintained by such employees or advisers to whom the Confidential Information is disclosed.

2.4. Compelled Disclosure. In addition, if the receiving Party becomes compelled (pursuant to any law or regulation or the requirements of any stock exchange or other regulatory authority with whose rules the receiving Party is required to comply) to disclose any part of the Confidential Information, the receiving party shall promptly (and, if practicable, before complying with any such requirement) notify the disclosing Party in writing of the same and of the action which is proposed to be taken in response. In such event, the receiving Party shall take full account of any reasonable request made by the disclosing Party, whether concerning resistance to the requirement or the form, manner or extent of disclosure, and the receiving Party shall only disclose such information to the extent that the receiving Party is so compelled to disclose. The receiving Party shall exercise its best efforts to ensure that confidential treatment to the maximum extent possible will be accorded to such Confidential Information.

2.5. Ownership. Confidential Information disclosed under these Terms shall at all times remain, as between the Parties, the property of the disclosing party and does not grant the receiving Party any rights in any Confidential Information, other than the limited right to use the Confidential Information as permitted by these Terms.

2.6. Exceptions. Nothing in these Terms prohibits or limits either Party’s use of information:

2.6.1. previously known to it;

2.6.2. which is or becomes publicly available through no breach of this Terms by the receiving party;

2.6.3. received from a third party without breach of any confidentiality obligation by such third party; or

2.6.4. independently developed by the receiving party without use of the disclosing party's Confidential Information.

2.7. Protection. Each Party agrees to protect Confidential Information using the same means and standards it uses to protect its own confidential information, but in any event not less than reasonable means, to prevent the unauthorised, access, disclosure or use of Confidential Information.


3.1. If your submission is selected as finalist for the Challenge, SMF will then inform you of the IP rights created from the Challenge (“Created IP”) and the exclusivity positions before proceeding further to the development, testing and evaluation of the solution proposed in your submission. You may choose not to accept the proposed terms and withdraw from participating any further in this Challenge.


4.1. The parties acknowledge and agree that the solutions provided in this challenge will be used for sector-wide applications, and agree to endeavour to achieve the broad objectives of solving sector-wide problems.

4.1.1. In the event that either parties is unable or not willing to further develop the Created IP to further develop solutions to address the sector-wide problem, if applicable, the other party agrees to negotiate the sale or license of the Created IP.

4.1.2. that the party who is unable or not willing to further develop the Created IP will not own the licence to adapt, modify, expunge, make derivative works of, disassemble, decompile, reverse engineer, republish, download, or copy and part of the Created IP for further development, if applicable.


Any questions pertaining to the Challenge may be submitted to IMDA via email at with the subject header beginning with “Commoditising Food Manufacturing Services”.

All correspondence throughout the Challenge must be in the English language.

How to Apply

All submissions must be made by 14 February 2020, 1600 hours (SGT/GMT +8). The SMF and IMDA may extend the deadline of the submission at their discretion. Late submissions will not be considered.

To apply for this challenge please see the SG:D Open Innovation Platform website.

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