New initiative launched to give service industry a boost in evolving labour market

New initiative launched to give service industry a boost in evolving labour market

Firms in the service industry will get a leg up to further drive transformation and become manpower-lean with the new Service Industry Transformation Programme (SITP) launched on Wednesday (Sep 11) by Manpower Minister Josephine Teo. Farez Juraimi with the story. 

SINGAPORE: Firms in the service industry will get a leg up to further drive transformation and become manpower-lean with the new Service Industry Transformation Programme (SITP) launched on Wednesday (Sep 11) by Manpower Minister Josephine Teo. 

Co-developed by the Singapore Productivity Centre and Workforce Singapore, the programme will equip firms with tools to develop their service delivery model, as well as job redesign techniques needed to catalyse and start their business transformation.

This programme is part of the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme (LEDS), which helps enterprises adopt manpower-lean initiatives and drive business growth.

In her speech, Mrs Teo highlighted how some firms have already embarked on efforts to facilitate lean processes. She noted the usefulness of such a move amid the uncertainties that surround today's economy, including possible labour constraints. 

“Some people are naturally a little bit worried and they may even ask: ‘Why are we spending time thinking about transformation and jobs of the future, shouldn’t we instead be thinking about survival, and jobs of the present, not jobs of the future?’”

New initiative launched to help service industry in evolving labour market: Josephine Teo
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo speaking at the Service Industry Transformation Conference on Sep 11, 2019. (Photo: Eva Lee)

“We have to do both,” she said alluding to how Singapore is fundamentally labour-constrained.

“On the Government's part, please be assured that we will continue to support businesses in your transformation journeys. We are in this together,” said Mrs Teo.

The SITP will cover two tracks in helping firms optimise their deployment of the current workforce, and improve job quality to attract and retain more talents.

The four-month programme comprises a two-day workshop and nearly seven days of on-site training, plus individual company project guidance.

Companies embarking on transformation projects under the SITP will also receive funding support of up to 90 per cent.

Six firms have signed up since the programme was piloted in August, said Mrs Teo.

One of them is vegetarian food joint Greendot, which was established in 2011. It now has more than 10 outlets across Singapore. 

As the industry does not typically appeal to the younger generation, Greendot has hired more than 100 elderly workers. Though this may solve the manpower crunch, there are concerns over quality and service standards. 

Greendot's CEO, 30-year-old Fu Yong Hong said: "I don't want to see the elderly workers as staff that are here to clear and serve food. 

"How can we increase the value? Move from lower-value jobs to higher-value jobs by helping them to ease into our roles.”

Mr Fu also spoke of enhancing the customer experience, something he hopes to achieve through the programme. 

"We have been expanding over the years and I want to enhance the customer experience because some customers have told us that our ordering and queuing processes are a bit confusing," he said. 

“I hope to go through this programme to see how can we streamline the processes and let customers have a better experience at Greendot,” he added.

Source: CNA/nh(hs)

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