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Lightening the load

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CBM's Mr Yazid (left) says the company's tablet app makes it easy to snap photographs of actions taken and upload them into the system so that everyone - including clients - can see what has been done. Mr Poh of Systematic, a CBM subsidiary, notices a major change when CBM came in, as it has the means to make the "very hefty investment" required for the new laundry system that features more automation than before.

OVER two decades in CBM, Mohamad Yazid bin Jasnay, 39, has seen workloads lighten in many ways.

When he joined as a cleaner in 1998, the company was using bulky scrubbing machines that weighed some 40 to 50 kilograms, he recalls.

Manoeuvring them across the floor was tough work. But these were replaced by lighter, faster machines with multiple functions.

Mr Yazid rose swiftly to become a team leader and supervisor, passing through several more roles to reach his current position as operations manager in the environmental division. Last year, his division went paperless with a tablet-based app.

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This is in stark contrast to Mr Yazid's time as a supervisor in 2000: "I had to do a lot of paperwork."

He recalls sheafs of schedules, reports, and recorded responses to complaints. Previously, he had to prepare reports of some 10 to 20 pages for clients at the end of each month; now, reports can simply be extracted from the computer system.

"It's good for us also," he adds. "At least we do things with evidence."

The tablet app makes it easy to snap photographs of actions taken and upload them into the system so that everyone - including clients - can see what has been done.

Admittedly, adjusting to the new system took a while for the older staff under his management, says Mr Yazid. "The first time, it was quite difficult for my 'aunties' and 'uncles'."

But it helped that the software vendor came down to help train the team, he adds.

Training has also been central to the transformation of Systematic Holdings, a laundry company that became a subsidiary of CBM in 2015.

Systematic is in the midst of introducing a new laundry system that features more automation than before.

Many of the workers in the current laundry plant are older women, some close to 70 years old, observes Systematic assistant general manager Poh Weeyong, 37. "They are reluctant to change."

He has had to persuade them that the changes will mean less manual work for them and a better working environment. Retraining has begun, which he hopes will help them get used to the new system.

Having been with Systematic for two decades, Mr Poh noticed a major change when CBM came in, with the means to make the "very hefty investment" required for the new system.

Other investments include a fleet management system introduced late last year, for Systematic's fleet of 23 vehicles which handle pick-ups and deliveries of laundry.

The system monitors where the vehicles are in real-time, and can reroute them for greater efficiency.

Mr Poh estimates that this has brought about diesel savings of 30 per cent.

Systematic is also working on going paperless. Currently, hard-copy delivery orders and collection sheets require three or four carbon copies.

The firm may also expand its use of RFID tags, which make it easier to track laundered items. Now used for uniforms at two clients' sites, the tags might soon be used for linen as well.

With CBM's backing, "we now have greater means to make these investments", says Mr Poh.

Brought to you by The Future Economy Council

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