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February 2017

Roots Of An Orchid

Orchid Country Club was established in 1993 from humble origins. Then President of Singapore and NTUC Secretary-General, Mr Ong Teng Cheong, held an undying passion for two things: his avid love for the game of golf, and his benevolence for the working class, who painstakingly laid the foundations for Singapore’s prosperity as a nation. Believing that Singapore’s success is shared by all Singaporeans including the working class, Mr Ong founded Orchid Country Club to bring luxury – and in particular, golf – affordably to Singaporean workers; in his words, “golf will no longer be a game for the executives only.”

Orchid Country Club has come a long way since then. Apart from its three 9-hole courses, current facilities also include a 36-lane bowling alley, an Olympic sized swimming pool, karaoke suites and a gymnasium. Staying true to their modest vision of affordable accessibility, Orchid Country Club still boasts some of the most competitive rates among local country clubs, and has seen its membership numbers rise to over 3000 present-day.

With this growing customer base, inevitably comes growing demands in administrative and logistical management. To maintain the efficiency of its processes, Orchid Country Club has turned to Canon for their printing and imaging needs, utilizing the imageCLASS MF515x.

 

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Canon imageCLASS MF515x

Value-Add In Many Aspects

“Efficiency is the key to any organization.” Eunice Seoh, Orchid Country Club’s Head of Social & Recreation, mirrors the prevalent sentiment of modern business leaders with that statement. She proceeded to describe Canon’s role in that function, “With the new printer (imageCLASS MF515x), time spent in waiting and errors made are reduced. With the duplex printing and scanning function, it does help us save time and paper.”

Another benefit Orchid Country Club is reaping from the Canon imageCLASS MF515x is its ability to produce higher quality prints. Seoh recalled, “We used to have a simple printer that only provided basic functions such as print and scan. With the new Canon printer, we are able to produce better printed images and accept higher GSM papers, increasing the quality of our printing which allows my team to develop our own marketing material in-house.” Fewer printing errors and wastages, as well as being equipped to create in-house print materials, have also contributed to cumulative cost reductions.

Being in the hospitality industry, Seoh knows good service when she sees it, and readily acknowledges the swiftness and proficiency of Canon’s service staff. “The call centre has always been very polite and prompt. They will always come within the same day to attend to any issues with our printers. This makes our job much at ease.” It seems, for Orchid Country Club to provide quality frontline service, Canon’s backend support is vital as well.

Regardless of your field, every startup or SME boss can empathize with one another when it comes to the daunting concern of cost management. Another aspect of management is just as crucial – the handling of employee expectations and resultantly, productivity.

When one has to be prioritized over the other, it is unfortunate that worker satisfaction usually takes the hit as many measures for fostering worker motivation incur significant costs. Good news here, attaining both goals may not be as irreconcilable as believed, here are several inexpensive practices that can boost staff morale and build a cohesive and efficient company culture.

1. Introducing Work-Life Balance

To varying extents, every employee has ideal work-life integration on their wishlist. Rather than compromising on one for the other, bosses can reinforce to their staff the importance of other meaningful endeavours apart from career alone. For instance, Bring Your Family To Work days and open invitations for staff to bring their significant others to company functions involve family members directly in employees’ work lives.

Shared hobbies provide a great platform for building workplace cohesion, and bosses can show employees that they care about their outside interests. A book exchange would appeal to the readers in the workplace, whereas company-wide fitness activities would cater to the sportier staff members. Volunteering needs no financial investment, just that of time and manpower – employees will get to see a more human and sympathetic side to their bosses and fellow colleagues while doing good for the community.

2. Promoting A Greater Sense Of Ownership

A key component of a successful company culture is a joint mentality of ownership shared by every worker. This mindset instills a greater sense of purpose and psychological incentive for employees to perform their best at work. Bosses can organize frequent feedback sessions – as Google has done with the implementation of ‘Googlegeist’ – because “people want to have the ability to shape that (workplace) environment”, says Laszlo Beck, Senior Vice President of Google’s People Operations. Responsibilities such as brainstorming and planning for company outings can be outsourced to the staff as well; taking popular opinion into account would guarantee that outings are meaningful and enjoyable to many.

Lunch and learns not only bring employees together during lunch breaks, they also form a platform for individuals to share about what they value and hold pride in, such as their professional responsibilities and personal passions. Bitly’s office manager, Katie Curri, ensures that lunch and learns are a weekly tradition, and this routine has reaped the benefits of transparency, community and growth, “When you know who people are outside of work, it makes who they are at work so much richer.”

3. Respecting Employees As Individuals

Being a metaphorical cog in the machine would drain staff morale and productivity; bosses should see to it that every employee feels recognized and valued as individuals. Incorporate Massage celebrates every employee’s birthday and sends complementary gifts for newlyweds and new mothers among their staff. Founder and CEO Amelia Wilcox holds this belief, “Employees are the lifeblood of our operation. When people are loved, they will give more than you can imagine they could for you and your cause.”

A work anniversary highlights the direct relationship between worker and company, and is a notable milestone worth celebrating. A survey conducted by Globoforce showed that 89% of employees surveyed felt more proud of their contributions at work, having experienced a work anniversary event which resonated emotionally with them. Acknowledging personal milestones for each individual builds stronger loyalty to not just their work, but the company as well.

With patience and consistency in implementation, the practices above would go a long way in raising employee morale and cultivating a more positive and nurturing culture at work.

 

After years of experiencing constant growth, businesses in Singapore will be facing a slowing economy in 2017. With analysts trimming down Singapore’s forecasted growth rate for the third time to 1.4 percent, businesses, big or small will certainly feel the repercussions of global market forces. However, Canon Singapore’s Director & General Manager of Business Imaging Solutions, Vincent Low shares his views on some sources of economic optimism for the year ahead.

SME will power future economies

Despite Southeast Asia’s relatively small size compared to the rest of the world, it is likely that growth in the next decade will come from this region. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the Asia-Pacific contribute 20 percent to 50 percent of their respective nation’s gross domestic product growth, employ half the workforce and account for over 90 per cent of all enterprises. With this, SMEs would have a higher level of contribution to their home nation’s gross domestic product in 2017. Currently, SMEs in Southeast Asia specialise in low-technology, labour-intensive and low-risk tasks, while foreign multinationals typically occupy the higher value-added segments of the global value chain. In 2017, SMEs may embark and slowly explore a gradual shift away from low-technology, labour-intensive work to work of a higher value.

In order to do this well, they will need to look at investing in technology to drive productivity and eventually at cost reduction, and value driven solutions for continuous business process improvements to ensure that their business objectives are being met. For businesses that are looking at expanding overseas, 2017 will be an opportune time. Together with the implementation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC), which has forged closer integration among Asean’s economies by lowering barriers to trade, and the driving force of strong fundamentals, there is strong potential for significant investment opportunities for businesses in Singapore to pursue.

Flexible approach to work

The competition for skilled talents will intensify. Human capital is one of Singapore’s most important resource, but it is a very challenging task to manage it well. What employees across markets in the region will expect in 2017, is for companies they work for to catch up with the smart, user-friendly technology they use at home. For businesses that want to retain and attract top talent, businesses must accelerate the shift to a more ‘anytime, anywhere’ approach to work, where employees can choose the most user-friendly productivity tools and technology they want to use – be it inside or outside the office. Enterprises are increasingly investing in print and scanning solutions that enable them to marry the physical with digital, allowing them to scan physical documents and digitising these documents anywhere, as part of work processes. User authentication is a common feature in modern multi-functional printers. For example, at Mediacorp Pte Ltd in Singapore, identification (ID) cards or PIN numbers were required for staff to release print jobs. Administrators noticed that staff would often misplace their identification (ID) cards or forget their PIN numbers altogether, dragging productivity levels down. Now, employees can use existing employee cards or their normal corporate login and/or password to release print jobs. This means that employees no longer have to carry around a separate ID card or remember a different set of passwords — a boon to overall productivity. This will set a new standard in delivering personalised services to employees and allowing them to be the curator of their own work experiences.

Print security will increase in importance

Whilst cost will always be a primary reason for adopting new technologies, organisations are looking for more than just cost savings to drive business value. Third-party research found that security remains top of the agenda. 70 percent of organisations have suffered a print security breach, yet only 42 percent has placed significant effort into print security. The need for secure print solutions and services is heightened given the fact that over 71 percent of organisations reported at least a single print-related data breach in the past year. In 2017, businesses need to move toward a model that conducts legitimacy tests for every transaction, without sacrificing user experience. Anticipating and preparing for emerging cybersecurity threats is key to protecting consumers and businesses alike. In 2017, we need to beef up the way we understand the context of every activity, keep an activity log of every print activity, and recognise that it is not ‘if’ a business is hacked, but ‘when’. When print security is implemented properly and users know that they are tracked, it not only enhances the print environment, but also encourages responsible print behaviour from users and in turn, reduces printing costs.

While businesses approach a new year with trepidation and reservation about the challenges ahead, there are opportunities that can be grasped so long businesses adapt quickly and take these challenges as they come.

For more case studies and business solutions to power up your startup or SME, follow Canon Singapore and Vincent Low on LinkedIn.

Bringing a taste of rustic-ness into the One-North business district through homemade lemongrass tea and freshly plucked rambutans, a group of educators were invited to visit the new Canon Singapore office on 19th January 2017. This brought together 20 teachers from various secondary schools in Singapore to hear more about Canon’s green initiative, H3ROES, an environmental leadership programme which aims to nurture grounded youth leaders to take positive action for the Earth.

Beyond a conventional briefing on just what the H3ROES programme was about, focus was placed on building a deeper connection with teachers through this special visit and sharing about Canon’s commitment to H3ROES by meeting the folks behind the initiative, and the values the company holds through experiencing it from its people, work spaces and culture.

This commitment to H3ROES is in line with Canon’s corporate philosophy of kyosei – towards living and working together for the common good. Till date, more than 32 schools have indicated their interest in H3ROES 2017, and Canon welcomes more schools to join in this exclusive programme with the hope that more young H3ROES would be committed to love and to care for their environment through a holistic training in a nature-inspired location, also known as the Kampung Kampus, the home of Ground-Up Initiative (GUI).

The briefing took a break to share with teachers an exclusive tour of the Canon Singapore office which showcases Canon’s kyosei philosophy and sustainability efforts – from its open office concept and health and fitness corners, to the regular daily departmental greeting culture and the energy and paper saving practices of Canon’s printers and electricity.

Teachers also heard a personal testimony from Mdm Sarah Toh, a long-time supporter of H3ROES and a teacher with Chong Boon Secondary School, on how joining the H3ROES programme has made her a more environmentally-conscious individual and how her students had been impacted.

“I see the value of sharing and inculcating the values of caring for the environment and our community with our next generation.  By getting our hands dirty, our hearts will be more be engaged – and this is made possible with H3ROES,” says Mdm Toh.

H3ROESThe H3ROES initiative between Canon Singapore and GUI has been a partnership established since 2011, and its focus is placed on waste minimisation & management where H3ROES schools play a proactive role in sustaining their community outreach through H3ROES trained student leaders. The focus is on doing real community work beyond their schools by rallying peers to take purposeful action together.

Canon’s success with H3ROES has always been for the long haul, with a direct outreach to more than 270 student leaders from 49 unique schools while impacting more than five thousand students since 2011. H3ROES has been described as the “first two steps towards a long journey”, and since then, there have been great strides, such as in November 2016 when H3ROES set double records for the Singapore Book of Records in an attempt to promote advocacy for sustainability.

H3ROES is all in aim to return people to the fundamentals of working in unison with the environment and each other – for the common good – and Canon is proud to continue H3ROES in 2017. For more information, please contact Koo Hui Ying at info@wowkampung.com.

About Ground-Up Initiative
Ground-Up Initiative (GUI) is a non-profit organisation that nurtures its people by giving them space to discover their sense of purpose, empowering them to contribute effectively towards the stewardship of our world. Its flagship programme, Balik Kampung (Malay for “return to the village”) since 2008, attracted thousands of volunteers from all walks of life and of various nationalities.

Located in Yishun, north on the island city-state of Singapore, many have come to the Kampung Kampus to experience for themselves GUI’s approach in sustainable living and a hands-on culture.  Since end 2014, GUI has embarked to build the Kampung Kampus on a 2.6 hectares of land, towards a low-carbon footprint campus and pioneering a new way of learning, strengthening communities and nurturing more grounded leaders based on our “Thinker~Warrior~Farmer” philosophy.

Find out more about GUI at: www.groundupinitiative.org.