Page 23 - EMAS 2021_24Sept
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By Vincent Sim, General Manager, Kärcher Singapore Private Limited
Singapore is entering its post Circuit Breaker period and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic on our economy is severe; our GDP
growth forecast for 2020 is now expected to contract by up to -7%. This is impacted by the necessary implementation of the Circuit Breaker measures which saw the closure of most workplaces and widespread dampening of retail activities (except essential services). Singapore’s export-oriented businesses were also not spared as wholesale trade, manufacturing and transportation were adversely affected by the slow- down in key regional and global markets.
The sustainability of the local cleaning industry has not been spared from this COVID-19 outbreak. Many service buyers such as shopping malls, public places and schools amongst many others, had to close their premises during the Circuit Breaker period. In addition, with the closure of borders, many foreign workers faced issues with housing and the prospect of making a choice between continuing to work in Singapore or returning to their home and families. Such disruptions will have an impact on service buyers and most importantly, the service providers in both short and long term.
Firstly, service buyers must adjust their expectations of the service providers. With a thinning pool of local cleaners and the loss of foreign cleaners, the supply of cleaners is under threat; and this may continue to be so
even after the pandemic. Collectively, service buyers and providers must work hand-in-hand to ensure that cleaners are employed and suitably remunerated during the Circuit Breaker period, thereby ensuring that these services can be maintained when businesses eventually reopen and when cleaning services are intensified.
Like many other industries in Singapore, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for business transformation, digitalization and a seismic change of mindset for all business owners. Businesses must reshape and gear towards automation and digitalization. From hawker stores to large scale retailers such as Zara and Harvey Norman, this pandemic highlights the need for speedy adoption of digitalizing their businesses. Through digitalization, businesses will be more equipped to improve work productivity and ultimately business sustainability. As such, it is important that companies in the environmental service/

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