Past Work: EDG Project Proposal Submission for Warehouse Management System (WMS)
Updated: Nov 4, 2021
[Author’s Note: While this article offers a convenient template for companies to use for their EDG applications, the true spirit of providing this freely online is to encourage more companies to take up the grant support. In addition, I hope this article provides some ideas for companies to adopt initiatives to enhance their capabilities.]
According to the Enterprise Singapore website, the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) is a "single grant that integrates support for businesses in their growth and transformation. The EDG provides more complete help to companies who wish to upgrade, innovate, venture overseas, or are ready to embark on any combination of these strategies."
I had worked on several EDG-supported projects in the past. To me, it is one of the most important and generous grants that companies should look into if they are planning to implement any growth-related projects. Of course, this covers many areas such as IT, process, or people that may make your company more productive for example. The grant is attractive because it funds up to 70% of qualifying costs for SMEs. The maximum support level will be raised from 70% to 80% from 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020. For firms that are most severely impacted by COVID-19, the maximum support level can be further raised to 90% on a case-by-case basis. Do note the keywords 'qualifying costs'. If you spent $100K on a project, you WILL NOT get back $70K-$90K. You may probably get back $30K-$40K. I will talk more about grant support in my future articles.
Kudos to Enterprise Singapore for making the grant application process relatively straight forward. There are application forms to be filled and documents to be submitted. All these can be done conveniently online using CorpPass. There is one document that many companies may struggle with, and that is the project proposal or business plan. This is a critical document that is used to evaluate whether your project will be supported under this grant. Many of the information can be extracted from the vendor proposal such as scope, cost and timeline. However, this document will need to further describe your company's growth plan, the existing challenges and how the implementation of the project can help you overcome these challenges and achieve your business goals. Enterprise Singapore provided a guideline to prepare this document and it can be found here.
In this post, I am providing a template for the project proposal or business plan. This is an actual business plan written for a company for its EDG application. The application is for the implementation of a Warehouse Management System (WMS). A WMS system is a relatively common system and can be supported by another grant Productivity Solution Grant (PSG). However under the PSG, you can only be supported on pre-scoped packages by pre-approved vendors. The scope is typically smaller. Hence when I looked at the overall scope required for this particular WMS and also what large-scale benefits it could bring to the company and its workforce, I decided to go for the higher EDG.
For non-disclosure and in respect of company confidentiality, I will be masking some words and images. Let's begin!
The Cover Page
This is the cover page of the document. It basically provides what this document is about, the project title and the date of submission. The company logo is typically added for the purpose of easy identification and branding. You may have noticed how I positioned this project as an enhancement to workforce productivity & customer experience. This is in line with the objective of the EDG. The worker outcomes is part of the qualifying requirements. Worker outcomes include an increase in wage increment, job creation, job re-design, or training for existing staff.
Page 1 - The Content Page
Over here, you can see in summary the various sections of this document. This content page is straight forward and can be easily generated automatically by Microsoft Word.
Page 2 - Introduction & Background
In the first part of the business plan, I typically described the state of the industry and then zoom in to the company. I will talk about the key strategy, business goals and what it aims to achieve in the next couple of years.
Page 3 - Impetus
This section talks about the impetus of this project. I typically use a known concept or business model to frame the driving force behind this project. This allows the reader to see the big picture, where this project stands and appreciate the key thinking that goes into the project.
Page 4 & 5 - Company Challenges
As part of the impetus explanation, the document moves to the description of the challenges faced by the company. The implementation of the project, in this case the WMS, must aim to overcome these challenges.
Page 6 -Implementation of the WMS
In this section, we talked about the system. We start off by using the prior concept to describe how and which part of the value chain it can enhance for the company. There is a 'before' and 'after' diagram which clearly shows the areas of enhancement.
Page 7 & 8 - Key Deliverables of the WMS
We move on to the deliverables of this project. This is what the system must deliver as required by the company (or client of the appointed vendor). I usually extract this part from the Request for Proposal (RFP) document that I sent to potential vendors to understand my requirement and submit their proposals.
Each sub-system deliverables are clearly described in the section. Some of you may worry that you may not know how to create these requirements when preparing this list. Fret not. Most importantly, be clear on what you are trying to achieve. There are also many references and templates that you can find on the internet.
Page 9 - The Proposed Vendor to Implement the Project
In this section, we provide the name and details of the proposed vendor or vendors to implement this project. Justification for the selection of these vendors are also provided in this section.
Page 10 - Project Solution
This section described how and what the vendor intends to implement for this project to meet the client requirements. In the case of this WMS project, a high-level architecture map and timeline are provided. All these details can be extracted from the vendor's proposal documents.
Page 11 - Project Cost
The cost breakdown of this project is included in this section. It is important to get your vendor to categorize the cost of the project into 'Professional Service', 'Hardware', 'Software' and 'Training' etc. This is in line with the cost template during the submission process. You will also need to provide the cost for different vendors, if you have more than one.
Page 12 - Additional Documents to Seek More information
If the reader (or evaluator) will like to seek more information, they can refer to other documents for the details. They are listed here. These documents are also submitted as part of the submission process.
Page 13 - Company Project Team Details
There will be a project management team from the company for the implementation of any project. This team works closely with the vendor to ensure the project meets its objectives, timeline and stay within cost. The details of the project members together with their roles are spelled out here. Do note that the project manager and members will be entitled to salary support as part of the EDG.
Page 14 & 15 - Impact of the Project
In the last part of the document, we described the positive impacts that the project can bring to the company. It is divided into two parts. The first part is the quantitative impacts which are the benefits that can be measured. Do note that as worker outcome is a key requirement of the EDG, it is imperative that some measurable benefits to the workers are provided here.
The second part is the qualitative impacts. These are the intangible benefits that the project can bring to the company.
Page 16 - Contribution to the Industry
In the larger scheme of things, Enterprise Singapore hopes all our industries can grow with their support and assistance. Hence this last paragraph provides what this project can help to inspire and contribute to the sector that the company is in.
I hope this article provides some useful tips to draft the supposedly most difficult portion of your EDG submission. Some of you may argue that keying in the numbers during submission may be the toughest! Nevertheless, I hope that many of you can leverage on this excellent grant to propel your company to higher growth and greater success!
If you are an SME, and if there is any area you may want some help, or an opinion, or just simply a chat, do drop me a message!