Progressing with the times

Process redesign, business reengineering, social collaboration, and automation feature among the exciting tools available to reduce manual steps and wasted operating time and energy. With the crunch in foreign manpower, it is important that businesses (especially small and medium-sized enterprises) strategically harness these methods to gain a competitive edge over their competitors.

It is therefore heartening to see that the local hospitality industry — where service delivery is crucial to customer experience — has already embraced these productivity measures and reaped the rewards of enhanced efficiency.

Eight hotels in particular zeroed in on service innovation to make work easier, smarter and safer through process redefining, job redesigning, and technology development. The hotels who implemented these changes saved more than 55,000 man hours last year and guest satisfaction was noticeably higher!

Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa was bestowed the “Productivity Idea” Award for the year and was publicly recognised for its simple but effective idea of using industrial chilled water dispensers in place of multi-sited ice cube producing machines.

These new machines helped the hotel’s banquet service staff better meet the needs of guests in a labour efficient manner, cutting time previously wasted on filling and refilling jugs with ice cubes and water at multiple locations around the property.

Equarius Hotel and Beach Villas, Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre, and Hotel Michael were also accorded “Special Mention” for their productivity ideas. Work was made easier, smarter, and safer by removing unused room fixtures, adapting methods of bed making and bathrobe placing, and  covering gaps under vanity counters or in bed headboard frames to eliminate debris trapped in those gaps.

All these simple ideas led to the three hotels witnessing a marked improvement in guest satisfaction scores — not only was the waiting time shortened for room turnarounds, a higher quality of room cleanliness and enhanced customer experiences were provided by more motivated and spirited staff.

Four other hotels — Amara Singapore Hotel, Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Hotel, Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium, and Swissotel the Stamford — were also commended for their efforts at driving productivity through service innovation efforts such as computerising manpower management systems, equipping staff with multiple skills for cross-deployment, and streamlining shift systems.

Streamlined and shortened manual processes resulted in happier staff with enhanced freedom and ability to provide better customer service and, ultimately, more satisfied customers.

Such automated processes also led to a reduction in paperwork, greater efficiency, and a corresponding increase in manpower productivity.

It is very encouraging to note that many of these methods were simple and required little additional resources to implement. They were merely smart ideas that went a long way in making manual tasks easier, safer, and infinitely more efficient.

And that’s what we really need to raise productivity around here: smart ideas that are easy to execute!

If more businesses start thinking like this, it will be a win-win situation for all involved—employers, employees, and customers alike.

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Vince Chen

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