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SMEs turn to digital apps to raise productivity

Businesses in Singapore are turning to digital applications to help drive productivity, with some food & beverage firms reporting improved efficiency and lower manpower costs.

SINGAPORE: Businesses in Singapore are turning to digital applications to help drive productivity, with some food & beverage firms saying this has helped to improve efficiency and trim manpower costs.

Meanwhile, local telecom operator SingTel has stepped in with business solutions providing the platform and connectivity for such services to run.

Local cafe Han's orders its fresh ingredients from online website fnbmarket.com. The supplier receives and confirms the order in real time, and delivers it by the next day. Han's says digitising the ordering process has helped to reduce its reliance on manpower and trim costs.

“From the expansion from 16 to 26 outlets, our back end support staff remains as four people. So with this, we're seeing monthly manpower cost savings of up to S$40 000," said Gan Yee Chin, general manager of Han’s.

The e-market place was created by local software developer Bizmann, with some 250 food & beverage firms signing up since it was launched last year. Bizmann says this has helped make the ordering process much easier than before.

“In the traditional way, the restaurants, when they need to make orders, will either make telephone calls or fax over purchase order to suppliers," said Ken Loke, CEO of Bizmann System.

"But often, they wouldn't know whether the suppliers have received the fax, so they have to follow up with a lot of phone calls. All this unproductive time would be eliminated if companies have taken on this portal."

SingTel is stepping in to provide the network infrastructure for the systems to run.

“The way we go about doing that is, working with our software partners, we host their solution on their cloud so that when an SME wants to have an application, they don't have to buy the software and build it on their own,” said Andrew Lim, managing director of business group at group enterprise at SingTel.

“They can buy it as a service on a per licence, per user basis ... and they can buy different small applications at different times. Where SingTel value-adds is the ability for us to help them integrate all these solutions together."

SingTel is also working with other software developers that cater to the retail sector with plans to further extend its support in education too. The telco estimates that SMEs can save costs in the adoption of such technology of up to 96 per cent. 

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