HOME-GROWN sporting goods chain Sports Link may not be a big brand name, but the management understands the importance of service quality.
‘We envision that customer expectations will be higher and we believe in grooming our staff,’ said its deputy chief executive Teddy Lin, 31.
‘We are selling a lifestyle solution. There are, for example, a few feet types and ankle rotations, so there are different shoes for different feet types. So when the customer walks in, we will have to build a bond with him so that he will trust us to recommend products to him.’
Sports Link has 30 stores scattered across Singapore, mostly in suburban malls such as nex and Northpoint, selling a range of sporting apparel and footwear.
COMPANIES may be tempted to turn a blind eye to service quality since it is not something that is directly reflected on the balance sheet.
Yet consumers – especially those burnt by a bad experience – know all too well that service quality is a vital ingredient that will keep customers coming, and ensures that a business thrives.
For years, official bodies have been working with companies to lift service standards, and the bar has been getting higher as customers get more picky.
In 2005, the Customer-Centric Initiative (CCI) was launched to encourage firms to be committed to service excellence and to take the lead in raising service standards in their industry.
TO the average consumer, a couple of mouse-clicks is all it takes to get that pair of shoes (made in China, no doubt) delivered from a website to the doorstep.
But beneath the surface, an entire unseen sophisticated system ticks like clockwork to get the shoes to its new owners on time: ships, trucks, inventory science, storage space, scanners and of course, many hands are in between the mouseclick and that tearing open of the parcel.
Productivity and efficiency are in the crosshairs of every logistics company, which in Singapore, numbers more than 9,500.
But scrutinise them a little further and the prognosis is that while it is indeed productive, there is certainly room for improvement.
TECHNOLOGY makes the difference for the logistics sector, which demands efficiency and also needs a panacea for its manpower crunch.
Yet, a hard truth for many small and medium companies in the sector is that fancy gizmos and software – which quicken the turnaround at a warehouse or reduces glaring and costly human errors in the supply chain – do not come cheap.
That hard-to-square calculation crossed the mind of Benjamin Koh, CEO of third-party logistics provider Addicon Logistics Management. But however steep the pricetag, investment in technology was deemed necessary.
AN ACADEMIC and a business consultant are among 14 new members of the high-level National Productivity and Continuing Education Council, which oversees Singapore’s productivity drive.
When the 19-member council was formed in 2010, it comprised representatives from only the Government, businesses and unions.
Now it has 25 members, with more representatives of industries. They will serve a two-year term, from April 1 to March 31, 2014, said the council in a statement yesterday.
The new members include Associate Professor Hum Sin Hoon, deputy dean of the National University of Singapore’s Business School; and Mr Jeffrey Chua, partner and managing director for Singapore of The Boston Consulting Group.
As they are the backbone that holds up the country’s economy, it is important that the 154,100 SMEs here have well-oiled business continuity management (BCM) plans to help them get up and running quickly if they are affected by disasters like floods and fire.
Surveys of SMEs have shown they do not have plans in place although they are well aware of what it takes to be prepared for a disaster.
Back-up solutions provider Acronis observed that as high as 80 per cent of SMEs do not back up their data or have a disaster recovery plan.
Symantec’s 2011 Disaster Preparedness Survey among SMEs in the Asia-Pacific last month revealed that 59 per cent of them here put a plan in place only after experiencing downtime or a data loss incident.