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  • Six local enterprises awarded the inaugural Singapore Productivity Awards

Six local enterprises awarded the inaugural Singapore Productivity Awards

  • Winners of the 2014 Singapore Productivity Awards hail from the hospitality, F&B, logistics and retail sectors
  • Winning companies implemented productivity initiatives to boost revenue and incentivise employees' morale

30 October 2014 [Singapore] - The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) revealed the winners of the inaugural Singapore Productivity Awards today. The awards recognise locally-based enterprises that have made significant progress in raising their productivity. The Singapore Productivity Awards is a new initiative by SBF, with the Singapore National Employers Federation as a strategic partner.

Leaders from Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium, LF Logistics Services, Neo Group Limited, Pan Asia Logistics Singapore Pte Ltd, Select Group Limited and Sheng Siong Group Limited received their awards from Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the 20th Business Excellence Awards and inaugural Singapore Productivity Awards dinner.

This event marks the closing of the National Productivity Month 2014, a nation-wide initiative co-organised by SBF and SNEF to showcase and share ideas on how companies can improve productivity.

Each of the six winners of the Singapore Productivity Awards demonstrated leadership and innovative business practices that contributed towards raising labour productivity. The assessment process for the Awards is based on a simplified version of SPRING Singapore's Business Excellence framework. 

Winners of the 2014 Singapore Productivity Awards

1) Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium had over the past few years completed several productivity projects, covering job redesign, process improvement, cross deployment and multiskilling. 

2) LF Logistics Services continues to fine-tune technologies, such as the Automated Storage & Retrieval System and the Put-to-Light location guiding system. 

3) Neo Group Limited, an events catering company, upgraded its Buffet Catering Management System, installed Mobile Data Terminals in each delivery vehicle and has introduced various new kitchen automation technologies. 

4) Pan Asia Logistics Singapore Pte Ltd focused on improving the customer experience by offering tailor-made solutions, providing additional customer touch-points for better engagement and developing innovative value-added services.

5) Select Group Limited adopted several technological systems in its food catering business such as the introduction of central kitchens, including kitchen and food processing technologies, IT systems and an automation project. It also leveraged outsourcing and streamlined its menus. 

6)  Sheng Siong Group Limited employed user-friendly IT solutions to improve its operations. This includes a vegetable processing system and a purchasing/ administration system which have resulted in significant savings in time and labour. 

Mr S.S. Teo, SBF Chairman said "SBF extends our heartiest congratulations to the winners of the inaugural Singapore Productivity Awards. The objective of the Awards is to recognise locally-based enterprises that have exhibited excellence in their productivity journeys. These six winners have demonstrated exemplary performance and commitment in leading a productivity-led culture, embracing technology and innovation, engaging employees, as well as sharing the benefits of productivity growth with their staff. Productivity is a continual journey for all businesses and enterprises have to constantly challenge themselves to improve productivity levels. These six winners can serve as productivity role models to other companies in their industry."

Held from 7 to 30 October 2014, the National Productivity Month saw over 11,000 business leaders and executives participating in 15 events under seven industry categories: manufacturing, healthcare, retail, food services, accounting, hospitality and construction. The events included conferences, overseas study trips, exhibitions showcasing various products, processes or technology solutions to help businesses enhance productivity. Over the month, some of these solutions included game changing applications such as drones to serve food, a prototype robotic tiling machine for automated floor tiling and use of facial recognition technology to facilitate self-check-ins at hotel establishments.

Judging process of the Singapore Productivity Awards

The Singapore Productivity Award winners were first shortlisted by calculating the labour productivity scores of some 6,000 local enterprises1. This assessment process is based on a simplified version of SPRING Singapore's Business Excellence framework. Further quantitative and qualitative productivity data was then examined, including profit margins, capital productivity, leadership/ planning initiatives and innovations programmes.

The Singapore Productivity Award winners were selected by a committee consisting of representatives from: Singapore Business Federation, Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, DP Information Group, Restaurant Association of Singapore, Singapore National Employers Federation, Singapore Hotel Association, Singapore Retailers Association, Singapore Productivity Council, Singapore Tourism Board and SPRING Singapore.

1 The information for these companies was obtained from the Singapore 1000 and SME 1000 Ranked companies

Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium

Over the past few years, the hotel has completed 13 productivity projects covering job redesign, process improvement, cross deployment, and multiskilling. One of the projects is the cross training and upskilling of employees, so staff in the Security and Bell Desk departments can cover each other's duties. The second is the Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) uniform distribution system that issues and collects uniforms faster, reducing error margins and enabling the hotel to better deploy employees to other areas of the hotel. The third is an electronic guest request system, where the hotel operator enters guests' requests into an electronic system for efficient and effective follow up. In addition to more effective distribution of resources and reinvestment in manpower, these productivity initiatives also led to a more compelling employer brand, enhanced employee engagement and reduced employee turnover.

"An increased focus on our people strategy to employ a diversified and localised workforce led to improved productivity at the Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium. With the implementation of 13 projects, we have seen strong growth in employee engagement and the employment of people with disabilities to support the Singaporean core. We now continue to constantly challenge the status quo in driving productivity to the next level, taking advantage of technology advances and upskilling our people." said Ms Anne Johnston, General Manager, Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium.

LF Logistics Services (the logistics division of Li & Fung or a Li & Fung Company)

Enhancing productivity is not new for LF Logistics. As the supply chain partners of choice for the Footwear & Apparel, FMCG, Food & Beverage, and Retail industries, it has been at the forefront of automotive technology adoption. Its team of in-house engineers continues to fine-tune technologies, such as the Automated Storage & Retrieval System, which uses robotics to increase efficiency and reduce handling damage or the Put-To-Light system, which intuitively directs workers to the right location to retrieve an item, by lighting the appropriate section of the warehouse.

"At LF Logistics our operations-centric approach puts continuous productivity improvement at the centre of our business. We examine our operations on a daily basis and look for innovative ways to implement the right systems and technologies, to improve productivity and efficiency, not only to meet but also exceed our customers' expectations," said Mr Thean Siak Sin, Senior Vice President, LF Logistics.

Neo Group Limited

This events caterer has an integrated Buffet Catering Management System, which processes each sales transaction including order-taking, client confirmation, food preparation, delivery planning and payment collection. Although this was first implemented more than a decade ago, the company upgraded the system five years back, resulting in nearly zero error and increasing capability from two planners handling 100 orders to three planners now processing 1,000 orders. To guide their drivers to plan the best route, Neo Group installed Mobile Data Terminals in their vehicles a year ago. The device also enables photo taking of the event's set up and real time uploading of such photos.

20 years ago, the Company bought a Japan-made rotary fryer to prepare main courses. This rotary fryer has an output of 300kg of rice or noodles per hour with one staff, compared to manual frying which yields 80kg. On top of that, the Company brought in various new kitchen automation technologies, such as vegetable cutter from Japan which can increase production by 6 times using the same amount of time and manpower. Other machines include a deep fry machine, oil filtration system and many others.

"I have worked in the kitchen for some 12 years, and I know what it is like to be working in an environment which is physically demanding. I wanted to improve the working condition for my staff - from the cooks to planners and drivers. This is why we have implemented the various new technologies and systems in the past, and will continue to do so in the future. In addition to boosting business performance and productivity for the company, it has improved staff morale and retention rate tremendously," said Mr Neo Kah Kiat, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Neo Group Limited.

Pan Asia Logistics Singapore Pte Ltd

Pan Asia Logistics Singapore Pte Ltd prides itself on improving the customer experience through offering tailor-made solutions, providing more customer touch-points for better engagement and developing innovative value-added solutions and services. One of the many solutions is the implementation of the mini-load Automated Storage & Retrieval System, which is a high density, high speed storage system that reduces the storage space by 50% and increases operational efficiency by 3-4 times compared to conventional storage systems. Realising that a productive company needs a productive workforce, Pan Asia Logistics has put in place a holistic HR strategy to train, motivate and reward employees. This includes upskilling courses, wellness development programmes and initiatives to encourage the mind-set for continuous creativity and innovation, to improve productivity and performance. Pan Asia Logistics' initiatives have resulted in a 70% increase in productivity, in terms of speed, accuracy and response time to better serve its customers.

"Productivity is a journey, not a destination. Therefore, Pan Asia Logistics' productivity initiatives are part and parcel of our ongoing process that never ends. We are constantly adapting to the changing market environment and customer demands to develop and deliver improved solutions to ensure the company's long term sustainability," said Mr Gerald Tan, CEO Pan Asia Logistics Singapore.

Select Group Limited

This food catering enterprise adopted several technological systems in its central kitchens, including kitchen and food processing technologies, IT systems and an automation project for one of its food outlets, the Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert. Implemented in 2011, this resulted in an increase in sales revenue from $1 million in 2010 to $10 million in 2013. Select Group outsources high volume sauces and the preparation of vegetables, saving 80 hours of manual work per day, allowing kitchen staff to be deployed to higher value added jobs. In mid 2014, Select Group streamlined menus for two Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert outlets, reducing 85 items to 58 of the more popular items. This resulted in faster preparation times, decreased waiting times, faster seat turn around and an increase in revenue by some 20%.

"Five years ago, we did a study trip to Japan, and saw many companies operating efficiently on a skeleton crew. We started looking seriously at how we could improve our operations in a similar manner across departments and train our staff accordingly. The results of our previous productivity efforts have been clear, with increased revenues, savings in time and improved customer experience. Moving forward, we will move to a new headquarters in Senoko Road next year. This will allow the company to benefit from greater economies of scale and the convenience of co-locating its central kitchens, manufacturing and laboratory facilities," explained Mr Vincent Tan, Managing Director Select Group Limited.

Sheng Siong Group Limited

This home-grown supermarket has employed various user-friendly IT solutions to improve operations over the last 1-2 years. The first was a more effective vegetable processing system that assists operators in trimming, packing and labelling the produce. This saves an estimated 180 hours of manual work per day. Sheng Siong became the first supermarket in Singapore to computerise the purchasing and administration system at the Jurong Fishery Port. PDAs are used to key in details such as items bought, weight and price, which expedites purchase orders and invoices. This connects seamlessly with digital weighing machines to prevent miscommunication or mislabeling. This system saves an estimated 45 hours of manual work per day. In its distribution centre, a Pick-to-Light System was implemented, to improve the warehouse's picking efficiency and accuracy. Other new technologies include solar panels that provide 15-20% of electricity required and electronic shelf labelling for rapid updates of prices at its chain stores.

"We are in the service industry, thus, to us, productivity is about how we work together seamlessly as a team, with clear objectives and targets. Our company leverages on technology to simplify and streamline the work processes, keeps communication channels open and smooth, and shares the fruits of our labour with our colleagues. With everyone knowing and playing their part, cohesion is strengthened and therefore, productivity is further enhanced. I believe this is how we keep on boosting productivity," said Mr Lim Hock Che,, CEO, Sheng Siong Group Limited.

Speech by Minster Tharman Shanmugaratnam

Singapore Productivity Award Winner – Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium represented by their General Manager, Ms Anne Johnston

Singapore Productivity Award Winner – LF Logistics represented by their Senior Vice President, Mr Thean Siak Sin

Singapore Productivity Award Winner – Neo Group Limited represented by their Founder, Chairman & CEO, Mr Neo Kah Kiat

Singapore Productivity Award Winner – Pan Asia Logistics Singapore represented by their CEO, Mr Gerald Tan

Singapore Productivity Award Winner – Select Group Limited represented by their Managing Director, Mr Vincent Tan

Singapore Productivity Award Winner – Sheng Siong Group Limited represented by their CEO, Mr Lim Hock Chee

Winners of the inaugural Singapore Productivity Awards with DPM & Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam (fourth from left)

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