Ang Suan, 60, has been with Hong Seafood for more than three decades. Currently a director with the seafood distributor, she is one of the senior employees in the company. About half of the staff strength are above 40.
Most of them are long serving and experienced but still using conventional methodologies. About two and a half years ago, Mdm Ang recognised that change was needed to stay dynamic in the business. She embarked on an organisation-wide review.
Mdm Ang knew she had to update her management and market knowledge and get the buy-in from her people. Looking for solutions, she eventually found her way to the Labour Movement.
“The U SME – Singapore University of Social Sciences Executive Development Programme which I attended since last year was targeted at SME bosses, conducted in Mandarin and funded by NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute). I learned about the latest trends in business model, technology, contracts and finance.
“We have also enrolled our management staff into the Operations Management Innovation Programme conducted by Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology in collaboration with NTUC LearningHub. The trainers adapted the course structure to better suit the learning style of our staff. We hope the course will help them change their mindsets and better understand the benefits of upskilling and productivity improvements,” she said.
Attracting Fresh Talent
Another priority for Hong Seafood is to attract young talents who are educated and technology-savvy for their marketing, administrative and logistics roles. Mdm Ang’s 27-year-old daughter, Shell Chi, is assisting her with the recruitment process.
The Nanyang Technological University economics graduate’s interest took a turn after she enrolled in the advanced diploma in food technology. In 2015, she joined Hong Seafood as a business development executive.
“As a young professional myself, I think the company image and employee benefits are important to my peers looking for a job. That is why we have just completed a round of branding exercise and staff feedback survey,” said Shell.
Hong Seafood is also using technologies such as the warehouse management system and the customer relationship management system to reduce menial tasks and streamline processes with various touchpoints.
It is now exploring with NTUC U SME and e2i on how it can redesign jobs and take part in the Inclusive Growth Programme.
“It will take time to see tangible results but we have so far managed to have a leaner operation, reducing delivery trucks from 13 to eight, while maintaining the same sales turnover. There have also been less human errors. In time, I hope we will be able to expand our services and better serve our customers,” shared Mdm Ang.