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Doing more with less
MARINA Bay Sands constantly invests in refreshing its offerings to keep the visitor experience fresh for its guests. This investment extends to its behind-the-scenes operations to ensure that its operations are as efficient as possible, and is aligned with its culture of "doing more with less".
"This motivates departments to not only make best use of existing systems, but to also innovate and improve operational efficiencies across work processes," says Ian Wilson, senior vice-president, hotel operations, Marina Bay Sands. The integrated resort (IR) has more than 9,500 team members, and its hotel is Singapore's largest with 2,561 rooms.
Marina Bay Sands' productivity and service strategic roadmap guides the company in its efforts to ramp up operational efficiencies and service quality. The roadmap is based on three main areas: data analytics, innovative technology and team member engagement.
"At the end of the day, improving operational efficiencies will give our team members more time to create unforgettable experiences, which in turn enhances Marina Bay Sands' reputation in the hospitality industry," says Mr Wilson.
Three of the company's productivity innovations were recognised at this year's Singapore Productivity Awards. The projects range from cashiering, management of receivable goods to forecasting demand and optimising the IR's limousine fleet.
The first project involved installing self-service banking kiosks. The kiosks are pre-programmed to dispense and collect floats to authorised team members, and eliminate the need for a cashier. The initiative has saved three headcount, and significantly reduced the process time for collections and deposits from six minutes to three minutes.
Another project saw Marina Bay Sands' use of RFID technology to reduce paperwork and enhance efficiency across several processes including dock scheduling, dock queuing, receiving, consolidation and distribution, as well as invoice processing.
The IR processes more than 250,000 invoices on an annual basis, with most procured goods being food items for its food and beverage outlets across its restaurants, hotel and convention centre. "It is essential that the logistical process including delivery and stocktaking operates efficiently and at the highest level," says Mr Wilson.
The company's supply chain & warehouse management system has helped the IR save four full-time employees, enabling them to be redeployed to more critical and meaningful job functions.
In the final project, Marina Bay Sands developed an in-house forecasting solution for the limousines it provides its guests. These are a combination of its own fleet of cars and rental cars. With the system, the hotel is now better able to eliminate waste by renting cars only when needed and schedule drivers more accurately. An analytics module was also developed to advise in near real-time on when to stand-down rental vehicles.
Team members can monitor daily productivity and service levels on the system's centralised management dashboards, which are refreshed every three hours. This allows for more pre-booked jobs and more back-to-back jobs for the drivers. The data analytics solution has allowed the IR to save about S$4 million on its limousine services annually.
"We were also able to achieve a 99.97 per cent availability of limousine cars for patrons over 120,000 transfers - a vast improvement compared to previous years," reveals Mr Wilson.
Looking ahead, the IR is exploring the use of robotics to take over repetitive tasks such as napkin folding.
A study conducted by Marina Bay Sands showed that a robot could potentially fold up to 800 napkins per hour, helping the company save the time of seven employees, who can be deployed to other high-value areas.
Says Mr Wilson: "We are looking at employing Robotic Process Automation to replace low-value work such as the moving of items from place to place, to enable our employees to work smarter and focus on more meaningful roles so as to provide better service to our guests."