Poh Yihao shares why he chose to embark on the Master of Engineering programme at SIT despite the challenges of juggling work and study.
Yihao is a postgraduate student reading the Master of Engineering programme. (SIT Photo: Keng Photography/Tan Eng Keng)
Poh Yihao approaches life with an engineering mindset – prototype, test and refine. For Yihao, his years of studies were akin to a prototype. He very much wanted to find out if the knowledge he had acquired was sufficient, relevant or effective in a work environment. With that thought in mind, Yihao signed up for the Industrial Masters programme at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). The programme requires him to research an industry problem and propose a solution. “I get to kill two birds with one stone, as I can apply my knowledge to tackle actual issues at work and, at the same time, continue to refine my skills,” Yihao said.
“How can I improve things?”
Yihao is currently working at CKE Manufacturing Pte Ltd (CKE) as an Assistant Quality Engineer (Digitalisation & Quality Operations) while pursuing his Master of Engineering (MEng). When Yihao first joined CKE, he noticed that the company was tracking their products using traditional barcodes. This method is time-consuming and lacks real-time updates, affecting efficiency and accuracy. CKE also practised the ‘first-in-first-out’ rule for its products, which may result in uneven production workload and long queues in production schedules.
With a desire to enhance existing work processes and systems, Yihao, together with CKE and SIT, developed a prototype to track products using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and cloud computing. Individual RFID tags allow CKE to track various products’ life cycles. Once the tracking is done, the data is uploaded instantaneously to a storage cloud server, and the information can be pulled out to a user-friendly dashboard for analysis anytime.
Yihao (centre) with his SIT supervisor Associate Professor David Lin (left), and employer Mr Kwan Lifeng (right), Business Development Manager, CKE. (SIT Photo: Keng Photography/Tan Eng Keng)
“The key benefit of such smart systems is that they can help production planners and managers make informed choices based on the data collected from RFID tags. This means better production schedules, fewer delays, and overall improved efficiency,” Yihao said. The collaboration between CKE and SIT has taught Yihao the value of technology in boosting productivity, so that staff can focus on more critical roles like sales, planning and management. Yihao’s research and prototype proved effective and were well-received by his employer.
How Furthering His Studies Has Helped
Yihao is an advocate of lifelong learning, be it through work experiences or formal studies. He cited the example of a module in his MEng programme, which exposed him to robotics systems. This knowledge proved invaluable when Yihao was assigned to operate a complex piece of machinery known as a coordinate measuring machine. “The lab sessions in SIT were beneficial and practical, as I was able to apply what I learned to work and operate the machine safely and efficiently,” Yihao said.
In addition, Yihao was able to deploy techniques such as data analysis taught in school to other areas of engineering. When these solutions are adapted and applied to different contexts, it leads to broader technological advancements. In the case of Yihao’s project, the methods used for production optimisation could potentially find their way to fields ranging from logistics to healthcare.
Yihao looks forward to making an impact at his workplace through his postgraduate research project. (SIT Photo: Keng Photography/Tan Eng Keng)
While many people may applaud Yihao for his perseverance and commitment, the path to balancing work and studies proved to be challenging. “My job naturally takes precedence, so I often find myself allocating a significant portion of my energy to work responsibilities before focusing on my studies. Sometimes, work commitments require my full attention, and this can affect my study schedule,” Yihao shared. Despite the demands of having to balance work and study, Yihao sees benefits in this dual role as it helps him bridge the gap between theory and practice. In fact, he enjoys the adrenaline as it helps him stay sharp.
“Yihao's dedication to giving his best in his postgraduate studies and work is truly commendable. He uses the challenges to sharpen his understanding of the field and his skill set, a testament to his unwavering determination to contribute to industry transformation,” said Associate Professor David Lin, Yihao’s supervisor at SIT.
Yihao hopes to play a meaningful role in shaping the future of technology and design. Through his Industrial Masters programme, he aims to polish his skills by mastering the various aspects of engineering and gaining as much experience as possible.
Albert Einstein's words, 'Once you stop learning, you start dying’, is a life motto for Yihao. “Just like how working out at the gym strengthens muscles – our brain gets stronger the more we use it. Seize every opportunity to learn, for life never ceases teaching us lessons.”
SIT’s Industrial Postgraduate programmes are tailored for individuals and companies focused on developing talents to innovate and advance knowledge at the forefront of professional practice. Under the joint supervision of an academic and industry expert, students will get hands-on training in combining industry-focused research with management knowledge to solve critical business problems. Our programmes aim to enable students to customise knowledge acquisition to meet their personal developmental needs and their organisation’s business goals.
For more information, visit https://www.singaporetech.edu.sg/postgraduate/research or email email@example.com.
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