Oce makes Singapore its Asian 'control tower'

The document management vendor has opened an R&D center in the country to supervise its manufacturing in Asia.

SINGAPORE--Oce has made Singapore its Asian "control tower" to manage the company's research, manufacturing and logistics operations in the region.

The Dutch document management vendor has set up a new facility to supervise the company's manufacturing activities such as quality control and coordinate its supply base. Oce also intends to install a dedicated research and development team within the technology center, named Oce Technologies Asia.

Anton Schaaf, Oce's CTO said at its opening ceremony that Asia is playing a growing role in the company's operations.

Schaaf said in recent years, Oce transferred a large part of its production operations from the Netherlands to partners in Southeast Asia, so as to lower costs. Many of the company's suppliers are located in the region as well, he said.

Oce has had a sales presence in Singapore since 1976, and opened Oce Asia Hub in 2002, which coordinates operations with distributors in the region.

The company has started a scholarship program to recruit Asian engineering students to the Netherlands' Eindhoven University, followed by a three-year contract at Oce.

Schaaf said this is with the purpose of "further strengthening the ties between our company and the people of Asia".

An Oce spokesperson said the company is looking to hire some 30 electrical and mechanical engineers, and that it is "not really open to hiring from other parts of Asia as Oce is focusing completely on Singapore".

Manohar Kiatani, assistant managing director of the Singapore Economic Development Board said Oce's tapping the local engineering talent pool "will create exciting and high value jobs for our people, especially those with strong electrical and mechanical engineering abilities".

"It also reflects [Oce's] confidence in Singapore's R&D infrastructure and engineers," added Kiatani.

Kiatani, quoting figures from a 2007 study by printing consultancy Pira International, said Asia has two of the top three print markets in the world, as well as four of the seven fastest growing. The Pira study estimates the global print market would grow to US$721 billion in 2011, he added.

Oce currently employs some 1,000 people in the region and has a staff of 120 in Singapore. It provides document management and printing services to companies, such as wide format architectural prints, billboards, and prints books and bank statements in high volumes.