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Raising productivity has made work more meaningful

Mr Kiong says that raising productivity is a must for hotels, given the economic conditions facing the hospitality sector.

THE push for productivity has permeated all aspects of operations in Village Hotel Bugis.

It has relooked its housekeeping and room check-in processes, outsourced some functions and tapped into technology to boost efficiency.

Arthur Kiong, CEO of Far East Hospitality, said that raising productivity is a must for hotels, given the economic conditions facing the hospitality sector. Far East Hospitality manages Village Hotel Bugis.

"On the back of rising manpower cost and an ageing workforce, we realised that productivity is key to enabling employees to focus on elevating the level of service provided," he said.

The impetus for Village Hotel Bugis to become leaner came in 2012 when the government started tightening the supply of foreign labour.

Since then, it has introduced a range of measures to streamline work processes and reduce man hours.

Carpets in the rooms have been changed to hard flooring which is relatively easier to clean. Food and beverage operations have been outsourced to external vendors which benefit from economies of scale.

The hotel has also re-evaluated the ways that its serves customers. For example, to cater to the growing market of families with young children, the hotel converted some of its rooms into Family Kids Rooms which come with an extra bed for children. Family Kids Rooms are also connected to another room for caregivers or grandparents.

"We not only improved our efficiency in managing this type of business but have also seen an increase in the bookings. This is an example of increasing productivity through simple innovation," said Mr Kiong

The hotel will continue to introduce new productivity boosting measures. Its linen operations department will use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to count, sort and track items. Guests can soon pick up mini bar items from a pantry hub so that staff do not have to replenish these items in the rooms.

Mr Kiong said that besides reducing cost, being more productive also frees staff members up to do more meaningful work such as serving their customers better.

"It is imperative for leaders in hospitality to not only ensure that operations are run effectively, but also adopt technology to enable our staff members to do more meaningful, higher-value work," he said.

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