Posted: March 31, 2014
Procter Gamble (PG) announced the opening of its newest research facility, the Singapore Innovation Center at Biopolis.
Housing 254 advanced research laboratories, the Center will be an international innovation center for PG’s global hair care, skin care, fragrances, fabric care, home care and health and grooming products, combining the latest in technologies with deep consumer insights to drive innovation for consumers across the world.
PG’s Singapore Innovation Center was inaugurated by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance; Kirk Wagar, U.S. ambassador to Singapore; Leo Yip, chairman of the Singapore Economic Development Board; Lim Chuan Poh, chairman of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR); and Dr. Loo Choon Yong, chairman of JTC Corporation, together with senior PG executives.
Speaking at the opening, Kathleen Fish, chief technology officer for PG, said, “Innovation has always been, and continues to be, our lifeblood. We are inspired every day to deliver innovations that create and redefine product categories. The new Singapore Innovation Center unites PG’s best-in-class RD and consumer research capabilities to generate new product formulations, advanced packaging and prototypes—uniquely designed to deliver superior value for consumers in Asia and the rest of the world.”
PG’s innovation process begins with gaining new insights at the Center’s model consumer home, where scientists engage with consumers to discover unmet needs. Then laboratories conduct advanced biochemical, molecular and genomics research in 18 fields of study for some of PG’s billion-dollar brands such as Pantene and SK-II.
Fulfilling Asian women’s quest for radiant skin is one of the key focus areas of the Innovation Center’s skin care research. Scientists at the Center are using advanced imaging analysis to discover a scientific basis for radiant, glowing skin. And in another development, all of PG’s hair conditioner technology for brands including Head Shoulders and Pantene will be designed at the Singapore Innovation Center. And at the Wella Salon, experts will conduct product testing of hair color products for applications in different markets around the world.
Research and innovation at the Center extends to producing prototypes and packaging innovations to enable quicker testing, reformulation and launch of products for consumers. The Center’s pilot manufacturing plant will produce small batches of products for rapid, small-scale consumer testing, and advanced prototype packaging designs will also be developed using some of the latest commercial, multi-material 3D printers used in the industry.
With the ability to mix a perfume 40 times faster than conventional methods, a fragrance compounding robot at the Center helps scientists accelerate the product development cycle of skin care for leading global fashion brands, as well as the company’s beauty and home care products.
And keeping with PG’s sustainability goals, the Innovation Center is a zero waste site where waste is reused, recycled or is used for energy recovery instead of being sent directly to landfills. A silver LEED certified and Green Mark building, the Center uses renewable power that is generated within the facility.
Asia continues to be a key market for PG, serving more than two billion consumers with a portfolio of 25 brands, including 22 billion-dollar brands. Globally, PG invests more than $2 billion each year in RD and more than $350 million in consumer understanding.
“We are delighted that PG has chosen to locate their strategic innovation center in Singapore. Today’s opening is testament to Singapore’s success in developing a world-class consumer businesses industry—one where companies like PG can tap on our industry and innovation capabilities to create home personal care products that meet the unique needs of Asian consumers,” said Leo Yip, chairman of the Singapore EDB.
At the heart of the Center’s innovation capabilities are its 500 employees comprising researchers, engineers and PhDs. PG also aims to develop next generation capabilities and the future generation of innovators in Singapore.
The Innovation Center will leverage PG’s master research collaboration agreement with A*STAR to combine PG’s deep consumer understanding with A*STAR’s state-of-the-art expertise in multi-disciplinary sciences and promote knowledge sharing. The agreement is one of PG’s largest public-sector research partnerships and will accelerate collaborations with Singapore research, medical and educational institutions for five years and generate up to S$60 million in joint funding.
“A*STAR welcomes PG to Biopolis, and we are pleased to partner with PG in its innovation drive to better serve consumers in Asia and beyond. From the start of our partnership eight years ago, to our master research collaboration agreement in 2010 to our newest multi-million, multi-year agreement in 2013, we have been rapidly growing our partnership with PG to more RD institutions, hospitals and academe. This is a testament to how private companies can leverage the research capabilities of A*STAR and Singapore through open innovation. It also attests to Singapore’s position as Asia’s innovation capital,” said Lim Chuan Poh, chairman of A*STAR.