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Keeping things moving despite uncertainty

As a provider of essential services, integrated port services provider Royal Greyhound helps ensure shipments and supplies are undisrupted

Charles Reed, Chief Executive Officer.jpg
Charles George St John Reed, CEO and managing director of Royal Greyhound.

From life-saving medical supplies to fresh food imports, having trade and supply chains flowing smoothly is critical in keeping the economy going and saving lives in times of crisis. Royal Greyhound is one company that is playing an integral part in this process — as an essential logistics and business process outsourcing (BPO) company, it specialises in a broad range of services, from wharf and lashing operations to manpower supply.

Established in 1980, the company has a long-term partnership contract with PSA Singapore, and has handled over 60 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) — a container unit in container ships and terminals — over the years.

"The long-term contract with PSA Singapore is a testament of Royal Greyhound’s ability as well as our confidence in the growth of the Singapore port industry," says Mr Charles George St John Reed, chief executive officer and managing director of Royal Greyhound. "Logistics is the cornerstone of the economy, and Royal Greyhound is a part of that cornerstone. In the last few months, not only have we been maintaining operations, we’ve been growing operations as well."

The logistics sector is one of the few that is getting stronger even as the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic upends supply chains and severely impacts global shipping and operations. 

Remaining resilient

Photo: Royal Greyhound

Director Joe Meyer explains that Royal Greyhound's strategy for maintaining service standards and staff performance hinges on the Fish! Philosophy; a workplace management technique modelled after practices at the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle. By focusing on four practices — choosing your attitude, finding ways to enjoy work, being present, and making someone's day — the 40-year-old company has maintained high energy levels among its people, ensuring that its workers carry out their duties efficiently during this crisis.

The company also gives out "circuit breaker bonuses", incentivising staff to reach their productivity and key performance indicator goals, and therefore help them maintain their focus and motivation to perform their best during this challenging period.

Royal Greyhound also recognises the importance of being well-prepared for any contingency. As early as three months ago, teams were split and social distancing was introduced to ensure that their 800-strong workforce stays healthy. A pandemic management centre was also created, allowing quicker contact tracing when needed.

As a business, the company emphasises the need to be disciplined and stay agile at all times for changes. While approximately 80 per cent of its workers have to work on-site, non-essential staff began working from home as soon as it was possible to do so. The transition was seamless, thanks to its regular use of telecommuting and cloud-based system software, and mobile phone applications in its day-to-day operations.

Hiring more workers

While many companies may be looking to ease their operational and financial load, Royal Greyhound has done the opposite. It understands that this is an opportune moment for the logistics industry to flourish despite the difficult times. "More people are looking at what they’re doing today to determine if it is essential or not, and what we’re finding is that interest in working for our company has gone up by about three times in the last four weeks," says Mr Charles.

The company is currently reaching out through various online platforms, including Facebook and its website, to hire more workers. It also uses video conferencing and digital solutions in its hiring processes to onboard new staff as safely and efficiently as possible.

Expanding its reach

Photo: Royal Greyhound

Seeing the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity for growth, the BPO company is seeking expansion opportunities in the rest of the region. Executive director Grace How shares that Royal Greyhound is in the process of setting up a training centre in Brunei and looking at spending its BPO operations in both the Philippines as well as Malaysia. These moves aid it in reaching out and partnering with other organisations in industries like banking and healthcare, and adding value to business processes in these sectors.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has been difficult for everyone, Mr Charles remains confident that trade and supply chain logistics is an industry that has proven itself to be more essential than ever. He believes the sector will continue to thrive during, and beyond, this difficult period.

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