History and Introduction Singapore is the city state of 2.

6 million people occupying 624 sq km island at the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula this equals the population and size of Philadelphia. Singapore s GNP in 1989 was US$23.84 billion and per capita income was S$9000, literacy rate of 87% and life expectancy of 74 years. In 1989 it became one of the top 20 trading nations of the world. The main source of Singapore s trade came from its geographically perfect location of its container terminal which was on the sea route between Indian ocean and South China Sea. In addition to that, Singapore also had its airport built which was expected to bring in more passengers and cargo to the country by 1991. In 1990 alone the external trade equaled 3.5 times the country s gross domestic products.
This was the time (1989) when the port of Singapore became the largest in terms of gross tonnage and in bunkering activity and the second largest in terms of container handling in 1989 second only to HongKong Container Terminal. The number of trade declarations received each day by the TDB (Trade Development Board) had crossed the 10,000 mark and was continuously on the rise. A declaration typically consists of manifests, bills of lading, letters of credit, customs declaration, receipts and reports. To enhance Singapore's efficiency as a trading centre, TDB began to look for ways to reduce the cost and time of handling these paperwork. They decided to bring along all stake holders online and share information on real time basis to speed up the trade/cargo handling. This system would be the future TradeNet.

Challenges/Risks 1. 2. 3. 4. Task/Time Factors/Lots of Data Organizational Factors/Too many stakeholders Technological Factors/Workforce/Experience Market Factors/Acceptability and Competition

Task/Time Factors/Lots of data TDB was handling more than 10,000 declarations each day. And a declaration consists of crucial information. Any new system should be capable of handle and link up all the above documents and information contained within them electronically. All agencies were given very tight schedule. They had to conceive, plan, design, implement, test and run the system in two years which introduced a high risk of time slippage. Organizational Factors/Many stake holders No single organization or group could make a workable system for trade given its multi-lateral nature. There were many stakeholders/partners involved in the trading and that means there would be a lot of stakeholder s expectations and requirements to manage. Any new system would have to be able to bring all of stake holders on the same platform and all stakeholders should buy-in to the idea of a centralized trading system. Technological Factor/Experience As this was the first time implementation of any such system in Singapore and in the whole world in trading, no government agency or stake holders had any previous experience to use for the

4. 5. These two factors led to what we now call TradeNet. 7. CNC issued a report in 1980 with recommendations which were incorporated educational and other governmental processes/systems to achieve the required set of expertise by 1990. Planning To develop specific recommendations on how Singapore could pursue its course in IT a committee on National Computerization was formed in 1970s.implementation of TradeNet. 1. Over several months these committees discussed existing Trade Procedures and worked to simplifying them before they can be automated. Documenting the existing Trade Procedures. Ultimately they reached to a point where a single computer screen could be used enter all the trade information needed by any agency in Singapore instead of manual 20+ forms. 6. Reviewing the existing Trade Procedures. Following were the main steps of planning. Automating the process for the proof of Concept. This posed a great risk of this system s failure because EDI was a relatively new system and finding a vendor of proper experience and for vendor to find local resources of that experience would have been a great challenge. Understanding the existing Trade Procedures. Simplifying the existing Trade Procedures. Basic data Transactions processing and EDI interchange Phase 2 . TradeNet Steering Committee was formed to oversee the planning. 2. The proof of concept was made and after high level reviews TradeNet was officially announced and the team was given 2 years to make the system operational. As this had to be a combined effort Singapore Economic Development Board and Trade Development Board brought together all the interest groups and took an agreement on Streamlining Trade that bound them all to support and work for improving and streamlining technological and other business procedures by making them simpler and easily automated. Hong Kong was moving to implement an EDI system for trade. Market Factors/Acceptability and Competition TradeNet was to be used by thousands of subscribers and it was a big challenge to increase its acceptability among all the subscriber s base. Phase 1 1. Also. After 1985 recession Singapore focused on external trade improvement as a major goal. Review of POC and approval Full Implementation of Trade Net The TradeNet Steering Committee was divided into three subcommittees 1) maritime committee 2) air committee 3) and government agencies and statuary boards. 3.

. Ability to Stay till project completion After initial evaluation three vendors were finalized that included 1) IBM Corporation 2) McDonell Douglas Information Systems and 3) General electric Information Services and a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) was made to them in June 1987. Their evaluation was based on following criteria Evaluation Criteria 1. IBM was the system integrator contractor with responsibility for all aspects of the system except what runs on the user s site. Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS). Database capabilities 2. On March 18 1988. The contract was signed between SNS and IBM on March 25. IBM had a similar system already in place in their headquarters which was moved and modified a little to be used as the TradeNet main Information Processing Engine. Forming of the Tradenet Project Team As the TradeNet project was formally initiated. After receipt of RFP. companies were again evaluated against the point number 3 of above mentioned criteria and at last IBM was awarded the project. Trade Development Board (TDB). Past experience in similar projects 3. IBM s partner in the project was Singapore based company. Contract IBM s sent Joe Huber as their Project Manager who started a detailed design study of current system before the contract can be made. All the original TradeNet project team members were moved to this company (total 5) except Ko Kheng Hwa.1. own and operate the system. The detail review took three months and IBM agreed to build the system as proposed with some minor modifications in original design. Port of Singapore Authority (PSA). Billing 3. Other enhancements Procurement TradeNet team developed a formal Request for Information (RFI) to determine which companies would be able to take up this project. Size of the vendor 2. and Singapore Telecoms decided to create a for-profit company to implement. Singapore Network Services Pte. 1988. IBM s Singapores office sent its two system Engineers to Tampa and then to London to study IBM s Tampa Engine to support the enhancements in Tampa Engine. Pte Ltd.) TradeNet Development TradeNet needed a system which would be able to process all EDIs and acts as a gateway to all applications/clients/customers connected to the TradeNet. Ltd (SNS) was officially formed. Computer Systems Advisors.

He developed an Engineering Change Procedure ECP to deal with all the changes. tested and rolled out and By June. This procedure helped keeping the changes to the system minimum and the team was able to work on its original scope. urgency and importance. That totals to average US$4000. 1989 all of the TradeNet modules were in place. According to this procedure every change has to be discussed thoroughly for its impacts on cost and schedule. TradeNet usage fees/charges One time Charges for a company to hook up to the system : US$ 375 Montly cost of dial up: US$ 15 Average Declaration cost: US$0. its usability. Results TradeNet proved to be a great success. These measure helped increase the impact and usability of Tradenet. This didn t include the investments made by other ministries. Every change request was also documented using this procedure. In next 6 months the remaining modiles were created.CSA as a subcontractor had the responsibility to write the technical modules for information exchange. 1989. SNS expected 25% of trade and 500 out of 2200 subscribers (users) of TradeNet in its first year of operation but by the end of 1st year TradeNet was already serving 850 subscribers and 45% of overall trade. Large companies had no problem in these investments but to facilitate smaller companies Singapore offered tax cuts for computer hardware purchased for small enterprises. TDB also opened convenience offices at TDB locations to provide TradeNet facilities on public computers on a modest fees. Change Management System Joe Huber foresaw a large number of change requests to be made due to the complex nature of the project and large number of stakeholders. Officially the TradeNet was operational. agencies and stakeholders to conceive. company had to have hardware and the software application that could hook up with TradeNet information engine. design. monitoring and user billing. Rollout The first transaction on TradeNet was made on January 1. Costs TradeNet development Costs TradeNet was developed with the direct capital cost of US$10 million. contract and support the system. Although at this phase only the basic information interchange and EDI processing was implemented.2 In addition to the above costs. That was due to the fact that the turnover/handling time with .

Third. The use of TradeNet proved so efficient that it was made mandatory in 1991. Subscribers of TradeNet system were benefited financially on large scale. As a result. Summary The TradeNet system allowed trade documents to be submitted electronically to principal governmental bodies. They included government agencies. the project brought together a diverse and relevant group of participants.TradeNet reduced from 3-4 days to 15-20 minutes. Seeing this level of adoptability. all of which had direct participation/ stake in Singapore's trade development. turnaround time was cut down from 1-4 days to 10-15 minutes. Second. . and voluntary associations. hierarchical organizations. First. the development team was given full authority and resources by the government. TradeNet succeeded for a number of reasons. TDB announced trade with TradeNet to be mandatory by 1991 instead of 1993 as planned. the project was reviewed and approved by the highest levels of government. companies.

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