The man who runs the NTUC was once invited to to INSEAD to share a little more about his thoughts about the Singapore economy, labour and the ratinality behind some of the Government’s approach to manpower.
“Cheaper, Better, Faster”, is nothing more than our local way of saying things should be price, efficiency and time competitive, or in short, having competitive advantage. When an organization acquires or develops an attribute or combination of attributes that allows it to outperform its competitors, it is effectively making it cheaper, better and faster. Access to natural resources, technology or access to highly trained and skilled personnel human resources are all ways of honing the productive edge.. New technologies such as robotics and information technology can provide competitive advantage, whether as a part of the product itself, as an advantage to the making of the product, or as a competitive aid in the business process (for example, better identification and understanding of customers).
Critics of course dismiss the call for competitive advantage and mistakenly see it as a labour oriented message. “Pay us cheaper, make us work harder and faster”, is what they say. But this is a mistaken view and surely the Labour Movement is not silly enough to want workers to be paid less.
In simple language, all that Labour wants to do is for an economy that is cheaper than silicon valley, better than China and faster than South Korea. A place where we have a competitive, highly skilled, adaptable and intelligent workforce.