The Minister for Manpower has said that Singapore firms need to improve their productivity and should not rely on low cost foreign workers. If they are unproductive and cannot survive, they have to move out of Singapore.
There has been talk about improving productivity for the past two decades. How far have we gone in this area? What can be done to have a sustainable improvement in productivity?
Let us identify some of the issues to be addressed:
a) Many organisations improved their productivity by pushing the work on to their customers. Many government agencies adopt this approach and pushes the burden to the citizens. For example, by asking the taxpayers to do e-filing, the work is done in a less productive way and take more time by the taxpayer who are not familiar with the website.
b) Many problems are not solved effectively because of the fine lines that are drawn between one agency and another. Much effort is spent on identifying who should be dealing with the problem, rather than how the problem can be dealt more effectively.
c) There is excessive emphasis on security and audit, which cause a lot of unproductive work. Most people want to play safe, and forget that these measures add to the cost, especially in paying consultants who exaggerate the risks.
If these issues can be addressed, we can reduce a lot of wasted work. The easiest and most effective way to productivity is to cut down waste.
Please share your views.
Tan Kin Lian
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