RSM Singapore’s Chong Cheng Yuan stresses critical role of operational excellence, financial reporting accuracy in manufacturing | Manufacturing Asia

RSM Singapore’s Chong Cheng Yuan stresses critical role of operational excellence, financial reporting accuracy in manufacturing

The RSM Singapore Partner shed light on key aspects of operational excellence and financial reporting accuracy, such as optimal manufacturing practices, efficient supply chain management, and the role of a capable finance team.

The manufacturing and export industry in Asia is a dynamic and thriving sector, contributing significantly to the region's economic growth and global trade. With its diverse range of products and technological innovation, Asia continues to play a pivotal role in shaping the global economic landscape and fostering international cooperation and exchange.

Chong Cheng Yuan, a distinguished professional serving as a Partner and Industry Lead for the Industrial Manufacturing Practice at RSM Singapore, has an extensive background in assurance, advisory, and compliance matters.

Chong Cheng Yuan currently leads RSM Singapore's Industrial Manufacturing Practice, which is dedicated to serving a diverse range of manufacturers and industrial product sectors. Her portfolio encompasses manufacturing companies, property developers, public-listed firms in real estate and manufacturing, commodities, healthcare, and the technology sectors.

With her significant assurance experience gained at Big 4 firms across Malaysia, Singapore, and New Zealand, she has been instrumental in assisting clients, including listed companies, multinationals, and start-ups.

Chong Cheng Yuan holds a multitude of professional memberships. She is a Registered Public Accountant in Singapore, a Practising Member of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA), and a Member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ).

Her expertise in operational excellence, technology adoption, regulatory compliance, collaboration, and sustainability practices came into play as she provided valuable insights to navigate the complex and ever-evolving landscape of manufacturing and export in Asia.

Operational excellence and financial reporting accuracy

Chong Cheng Yuan emphasised the critical importance of operational excellence and financial reporting accuracy for manufacturing companies. Drawing from her extensive experience, she highlights three key aspects.

First amongst these key aspects are optimal manufacturing practices. “Leading manufacturing companies regularly review their processes to enhance operational efficiency, reduce production lead time, and minimise wastage,” she noted.

Another key aspect is effective supply chain management. Efficient inventory and supply chain management, achieved through collaboration with suppliers and customers, is crucial for cash flow management.

The last is building a capable finance team. A capable finance team with a deep understanding of manufacturing practices and a robust financial reporting system are essential for accurate and timely reporting.

Additionally, manufacturing companies can leverage technological advancements to improve operational efficiency, quality control, and competitiveness.

Chong Cheng Yuan suggested focusing on automation, robotics-assisted processes, and supply chain management software. Exploring data analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, and cybersecurity can also further enhance efficiency and cost savings, albeit with an understanding of the necessary capital investment and resource commitment.

Maintaining operational resilience across borders

To maintain operational resilience whilst ensuring regulatory consistency across borders, manufacturing companies must perform comprehensive assessments of applicable regulations in each country of operation.

Chong Cheng Yuan suggested strategies such as Focus Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) to identify and address risks across jurisdictions. “When ERM is executed correctly, it has the ability to identify risks across different jurisdictions and business units (BUs). BU Heads can then develop action plans to narrow the gaps and reduce the overall risk impact on the companies,” she explained.

Legal and compliance monitoring and reporting are also crucial to ensuring regulatory consistency and minimising compliance gaps. If a group has companies in different jurisdictions, the regulations across these jurisdictions must be made known to its legal and corporate offices. 

The heads of each jurisdiction must then reach an agreement on pertinent regulations, and a second opinion from a legal expert has to be sought to confirm said regulations.

“A dashboard should then be constructed to monitor the key factors of these regulations, and this dashboard should be closely monitored. Any changes to the regulations in each jurisdiction should be updated on the dashboard for an analysis of their potential impact on the others,” Chong Cheng Yuan noted.

In line with these strategies, effective cross-border collaboration can also align practices, foster innovation, and enhance operational efficiency. Chong Cheng Yuan recommended actions such as developing a global strategy, standardising processes, facilitating knowledge sharing, and demonstrating committed leadership to drive collaboration, amongst others.

Integrating Sustainability Practices

To integrate sustainability practices into their operations, the management of manufacturing companies should consider steps like establishing a sustainability strategy that aligns with their long-term goals, assessing current sustainability environments to identify gaps, defining specific and measurable goals, and engaging employees in the mission of sustainability.

Moreover, securing commitment from top management is key to driving sustainability initiatives and aligning with industry standards.

As a judge at the Manufacturing Asia Awards and Asian Export Awards, Chong Cheng Yuan finds it essential for manufacturers and exporters to consistently ensure the high quality of products manufactured, make constant efforts to reduce their impact on the environment, invest in technology to ensure an efficient manufacturing process, and encourage efforts to improve and innovate new products. These specific qualities served as her criteria in assessing the initiatives of manufacturing and export companies for the awards programmes.

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