Epson Research: Singapore SMEs Among Lowest in Southeast Asia to Adopt Sustainable Business Operations

Epson revealed the findings of its report, SME striving for Digital Transformation amidst many hurdles, which states that Singapore small-medium enterprises (SMEs) are among the lowest in Southeast Asia (SEA) to adopt sustainable business operations. This is despite Singapore SMEs having the strongest understanding of the ‘Digital Transformation’ concept amongst organisations in the region.

Cityscape of Singapore skyline

Indeed, Southeast Asia businesses have started the transition to a low carbon economy.To this end, they are taking the climate change threat more seriously by evaluating and improving the environmental impact of every aspect of the business – from products to process, in response to changing customer preferences and expectations. In particular, there is increasing awareness among SMEs in SEA that hardware footprint and innovative products can successfully lower their business impact on the environment.

Large Hardware Footprint Amongst Singapore SMEs

A majority of SMEs in Singapore (57%) indicated that they would prefer an office printer that is environmentally friendly – consumes less energy and have a lower impact on health, such as dust particles and heat. Some Singapore SMEs also believe that the use of collaboration tools such as interactive projectors will help optimise the waste of natural resources.

However, the environmental impact is one of the least considered factors influencing purchase decisions when it comes to printer choice, with lower running costs (77%) and reliability (74%) taking precedence. In addition, compared to SMEs in SEA, Singapore has the lowest number of SMEs (47%) using inkjet printers.

When it comes to the use of interactive projectors, SMEs in SEA are still at the early adoption stage, despite citing the ability to interact with documents (78%) and the ability to collaborate (74%) as top drivers for projector choice. In Singapore, most SMEs (68%) still own standard table or mounted projectors.

Robotics is another tool that is welcomed by SMEs in Singapore, with 87 per cent of them considering robotic solutions for their speed, productivity and scalability benefits. However, one in four Singapore SMEs said that they do not have plans for automation in the near future – the highest number of SMEs anywhere in the region. 

Perception Versus Reality

A promising number of Singapore SMEs (71 per cent) believe that digital transformation will bring about significant improvements to their business performance and customer experience. However, the upfront costs of new tools and technology is a top obstacle to them beginning their digital transformation journey. As a result, most SMEs have barely kicked-off this process.

Digital Transformation for Sustainable Growth

Digital transformation is a must-have in today’s digital economy. As SMEs start their digital transformation journey to modernise their business, it is important they consider environmental impacts as a business goal.