In this edition, we travelled to Toa Payoh, to witness real life robot moving around to collect plates and cups! We are chronicling Singapore’s fantastic journey of robotising and digitalising the national economy. Upon reaching the food court which is beside UOB and OCBC bank, we ordered food and began our delicious lunch!
A lady approached us, she provided a nostalgic feedback that touched our lives, she said the robot reminded her of the good old days where Singapore had courtesy campaigns, she found that the robot is encouraging people to return the trays into the robot's body, and it was very convenient to her as the robot moved up to her. In Summary, we notice despite the robot lacked arms to pick up the trays, it was nevertheless very productive as people responded well and learn a valuable courtesy lesson!
Hawker centres are using robots to save manpower! Yes, this is true and it is fascinating! Our team went to one of the hawker Centre to investigate. As you can see from the pictures below that the entire hawker centre is using this red coloured self-payment kiosk which is a type of robot or productivity boosting machinery that collects payment and deliver the change of dollars or coins automatically.
We bought some food, interviewed some hawkers and gathered valuable insight and feedback. The hawkers could now better concentrate on their food quality, cut down on the need for an additional manpower to collect and change money. The machine is a pretty simple one but yet it is a productivity robot capable of eradicating the need for a foreign worker to collect money and every stall in this hawker centre is equipped with one machine. We see an ocean of red kiosks in the whole hawker centre.
We called up Ci Yuan Community Club to find out more on this as there are logos of this government community club on the screen of every self-payment kiosks. The community club staff were polite and they explained to us about their cooperation with a food management company that has been successful in helping the hawkers to transform. The food management company name is called Fei Siong Food Management Pte Ltd.
On further research, we discovered that the Hawker Centre has also been equipped with a free wifi zone from stalls #01-38 to #01-43. We are simply amazed by the rapid transformation of a hawker centre’s productivity and innovation. Certainly, a free wifi zone in a traditional hawker centre is almost unheard of. Indeed this is a revolutionary and innovative fresh idea.
The Ci Yuan Community Club and Fei Siong Food Management Pte Ltd’s productivity initiative has been an encouraging one. The hawkers are opened to the self-payment kiosk and they said this has helped them to reduce manpower and also helped them to increase their productivity and quality of food. It has also lessened the long queue in some stalls.
If the hawkers who are the smallest scale in the SMEs sector could make good use of robots to increase their productivity and quality, how much more can larger SMEs benefit from relevant robots or high-tech productivity machines! May all our SMEs march towards greater innovation and automation!
No more retail service staff needed (complete eradication of retail service staff)! This is true now and the varieties of robots that reduce manpower are increasing! For this segment of our productivity and innovation knowledge base for July, we are investigating on robots that can replace service staff and reduce the need for foreign manpower. We are sure if you visit a few fruit juice stalls in shopping malls, you would be able to see them hiring some foreigners. Now we are not saying hiring foreigners are bad. But we are simply exploring and investigating on alternative manpower solution since we are already constrained by foreign manpower quota. We either move on or we give up, which the latter option is never for real entrepreneurs.
Our team travelled to Sim Ling tower and Novena Square to investigate these robotic vending machines, we bought orange juice and interviewed buyers. Below are the pictures taken, left column of pictures are taken at Sim Ling Tower and right column of pictures are taken at Novena Square
Robotics fresh orange juice vending machine may look simple but in actual fact, it is a complicated machine. The machine needs to produce fresh orange juice and the steps may seem very simple but actually is a much-complicated robotics machine than a simple vending machine that delivers canned drinks. At Sim Ling Tower, we thought nobody will buy fresh orange juice from that machine as there we are many soft drink machines on the ground floor of Sim Ling Tower that in competition with it. However, within 10 mins, a man walked towards the machine and bought a cup of fresh orange juice. We interviewed the man, and he gave a thumb up and said it is fresh and taste good. Thus, we too on the persuasion of the man, we bought ourselves some fresh orange juice and to be honest, it is amazing. We cannot imagine that the day whereby fresh juice or fresh food could be served without a service staff had arrived. Yes, the day had arrived.
The robotics fresh orange juice vending machine is an encouraging example of innovation that leads to higher productivity. We must be prepared for the future where increasing different types of robots will appear in the market to eradicate certain types of manpower. This is the reality, we must be prepared for changes and disruption.
Productivity & Innovation Portal Editor
Charles Chandar graduated with a MBA (Master of Business Administration) from Harvard University (Harvard Business School).