Help­ing ser­vice firms boost busi­ness

They can tap new scheme to re­design jobs, be­come more man­power-lean: Min­is­ter

The Straits Times - - FRONT PAGE - Joanna Seow Man­power Cor­re­spon­dent [email protected]

Com­pa­nies in the ser­vice in­dus­try, which in­cludes re­tail­ers and food op­er­a­tors, can now get more help to trans­form their busi­nesses.

A new scheme will al­low these com­pa­nies to tap govern­ment sub­si­dies and pro­fes­sional guid­ance to im­prove the way they serve cus­tomers, stream­line and dig­i­talise op­er­a­tions, and re­design jobs to at­tract work­ers.

The Ser­vice In­dus­try Trans­for­ma­tion Pro­gramme aims to sup­port close to 180 com­pa­nies and 1,100 work­ers over two years.

This comes ahead of up­com­ing re­duc­tions in the for­eign worker quota for the ser­vice sec­tor over the next two years.

Ser­vice-sec­tor com­pa­nies can now get more help to trans­form their busi­nesses as they adapt to changing man­power needs and con­sumer de­mands.

They will be able to tap govern­ment sub­si­dies and pro­fes­sional guid­ance un­der the new Ser­vice In­dus­try Trans­for­ma­tion Pro­gramme (SITP) an­nounced by Man­power Min­is­ter Josephine Teo yes­ter­day.

Com­pa­nies can im­ple­ment up to two trans­for­ma­tion projects with the help of a cer­ti­fied pro­duc­tiv­ity con­sul­tant from the Sin­ga­pore Pro­duc­tiv­ity Cen­tre (SGPC) which, to­gether with Work­force Sin­ga­pore, aims to sup­port close to 180 com­pa­nies and 1,100 work­ers in the ser­vice in­dus­try over two years through the new scheme.

In her speech, Mrs Teo said that amid present eco­nomic un­cer­tain­ties, some em­ploy­ers might won­der if it is bet­ter to think about sur­vival and current jobs than about trans­for­ma­tion and jobs of the fu­ture.

But Sin­ga­pore is fun­da­men­tally labour-con­strained so firms need to be­come more man­power-lean

BET­TER USE OF RE­SOURCES We can take ad­van­tage of this time to put in new sys­tems and pro­cesses to bet­ter man­age costs in the longer term, to bet­ter our prod­uct and ser­vice of­fer­ings to cap­ture mar­ket share... By do­ing so, we end up also re­design­ing jobs to make bet­ter use of our man­power re­sources and also im­prove job sat­is­fac­tion ’’ for our work­ers. MAN­POWER MIN­IS­TER JOSEPHINE TEO, on how Sin­ga­pore is fun­da­men­tally labour-con­strained, so firms need to be­come more man­power-lean over the medium and long term.

over the medium and long term, she told about 200 busi­ness lead­ers at a ser­vice in­dus­try con­fer­ence.

“We can take ad­van­tage of this time to put in new sys­tems and pro­cesses to bet­ter man­age costs in the longer term, to bet­ter our prod­uct and ser­vice of­fer­ings to cap­ture mar­ket share,” she said.

“By do­ing so, we end up also re­design­ing jobs to make bet­ter use of our man­power re­sources and also im­prove job sat­is­fac­tion for our work­ers.”

In the light of this, the SITP aims to help busi­nesses im­prove the way they serve cus­tomers, stream­line and dig­i­talise op­er­a­tions, and re­design jobs to at­tract work­ers.

Un­der the scheme, com­pa­nies can send up to two rep­re­sen­ta­tives to at­tend a two-day work­shop on tech­niques such as ser­vice design, job re­design and cus­tomer jour­ney map­ping. A cer­ti­fied pro­duc­tiv­ity con­sul­tant from SGPC will also con­duct 61/ days of train­ing and help

2 com­pa­nies iden­tify ar­eas for im­prove­ment and growth, and guide them through im­ple­ment­ing projects over a four-month pe­riod.

Small and medium-sized en­ter­prises will need to pay $1,800 or $3,398 be­fore tax, de­pend­ing on whether they work on one or two projects. This is af­ter a 90 per cent govern­ment sub­sidy.

Larger com­pa­nies can re­ceive a 70 per cent sub­sidy and will pay $4,794 or $10,194 be­fore tax.

Com­pa­nies that are in­ter­ested to sign up can con­tact SGPC at joy­[email protected]

Six com­pa­nies have al­ready come on board since the pi­lot launch of the scheme last month, said Mrs Teo. She added that the Govern­ment hopes more firms will take ac­tion to trans­form so that the ser­vice sec­tor be­comes much more com­pet­i­tive.

This will also help com­pa­nies man­age the up­com­ing re­duc­tions to the De­pen­dency Ra­tio Ceil­ing for the ser­vice sec­tor, she said.

The proportion of for­eign work­ers a firm can em­ploy will be low­ered from 40 per cent to 38 per cent on Jan 1 next year, and to 35 per cent on Jan 1, 2021.

The SITP was launched at the in­au­gu­ral Ser­vice In­dus­try Trans­for­ma­tion Con­fer­ence at Grand Hy­att Sin­ga­pore, where 10 trade as­so­ci­a­tions and cham­bers rep­re­sent­ing more than 2,300 com­pa­nies like travel agen­cies, re­tail­ers and ho­tels also pledged to drive trans­for­ma­tion in the ser­vice in­dus­try.

Veg­e­tar­ian eatery Green­dot, which has a chain of out­lets, is keen to join the SITP to ben­e­fit from hav­ing some­one ex­ter­nal of­fer a fresh per­spec­tive on how to im­prove.

Co-founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive Fu Yong Hong, 30, said the com­pany has stream­lined pro­cesses and in­tro­duced an elec­tronic or­der­ing sys­tem since start­ing as a small stall in 2011.

He now wants to work on bet­ter train­ing older work­ers, who make up about half his work­force of 130, to go be­yond serv­ing and clear­ing food to do more higher-value work as ser­vice am­bas­sadors who can explain the com­pany’s vi­sion to cus­tomers.

He also aims to cre­ate a stronger cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence at his out­lets.

“I don’t want peo­ple to just eat and go, I hope we can pos­i­tively im­pact them to change their life­style and eat health­ier,” he said.

ST PHOTO: JA­SON QUAH

(From left) Man­power Min­is­ter Josephine Teo chat­ting with Madam Ong Poh Kee, 57, and Madam Chua Cher Kee, 75, both clean­ing am­bas­sadors at Fei Siong, about an eco-di­gester that turns food waste into wa­ter and car­bon diox­ide and helps lighten clean­ing work­ers’ load, at the con­fer­ence yes­ter­day.

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