Firms operating in Singapore's service industry will now be given extra support in driving transformation and becoming manpower lean, with the new Service Industry Transformation Programme (SITP).

This was launched by Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo yesterday (11 September), at the inaugural Service Industry Transformation Conference, and announced in a joint press release by the Singapore Productivity Centre (SGPC) and Workforce Singapore (WSG).

A joint initiative by both organisations, the SITP will equip firms in the service industry with tools and techniques required in their transformation projects to overcome their manpower crunch by making the most of their current workforce, improving job quality to attract and retain talent, increase job satisfaction, and improve productivity and customer satisfaction.

The four-month long programme, which is part of the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme (LEDS), covers two tracks. First, there is the Service Design track where participating companies embark on service improvement projects.

By participating in this, firms will be involved in the expansion of certain job roles - for instance, the reskilling of retail cashiers to take on service ambassador roles, which thus increases staff satisfaction.

In the second track, Digitalisation, companies will adopt new technologies as part of their transformation project, such as implementing an RFID stock inventory system to improve the stock-taking process and inventory checks, which would give employees more time to engage with customers and provide higher-value services.

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Firms enrolled in the programme will be coached and trained by certified productivity consultants, who will identify areas of improvement, uncover growth opportunities, and implement a project to kickstart the firm's transformation.

This would include streamlining certain processes and reskilling employees to perform in higher-value-added roles.

Commenting on the importance of the SITP in today's economy, Michael Tan, Chief Executive Officer of SGPC, said: "As Singapore’s economy shifts increasing towards being services-centric, it is imperative that services enterprises accelerate their transformation to be lean, innovative and future ready.

"The SITP therefore is a timely initiative to help catalyst the process of transformation for the willing and able enterprises."

Tan Choon Shian, Chief Executive of WSG, added: "We are glad to partner SGPC on SITP in collaboration with the trade associations and chambers to drive transformation in the service industry. This will help SMEs to overcome manpower crunch whilst ensuring workers’ jobs are redesigned in tandem with the business remodelling."

He also encouraged more SMEs to take advantage of the SITP, as well as the full suite of programmes and assistance schemes under LEDS, to achieve success in their business and workforce transformation journey.

To find out more about the SITP, refer to the course information here