Automating to make work easier

February 2018

This year’s Annual Airport Celebration (AAC) saw Smarte Carte, a trolley services provider, named Changi Airport Group’s ‘Service Partner of the Year’, in recognition of its commitment to excellent customer service and emphasis on productivity initiatives.  The annual event recognises individuals and partner organisations working at Changi Airport for going beyond their call of duty, and showing acts of kindness to passengers and visitors.   

In the last few years, Smarte Carte has introduced a series of productivity initiatives to improve efficiency and to make work lighter for its staff.

 “We pay close attention to the training and skills upgrading of staff to ensure that they can continue to contribute in a meaningful way as operations become increasingly dynamic. We realised that to help our employees, automation is a natural choice, since our workers’ profiles are slightly older.  With automation, they can perform the job more easily.  Add on skills upgrading, and it ‘future-proofs’ them further,” said Mr Anthony Lim, General Manager.

Besides leveraging smart capabilities to serve passengers better, Smarte Carte firmly believes that staff are very important assets, so emphasis is placed on taking care of each and every one of them.

“Our company cares for the welfare of our employees and so a lot of effort goes into communicating with them. We observe what would be useful to them and provide them with it. For example, we gave them each a pouch to hold their water bottles. These small gifts are significant to them and are a form of motivation. To enhance staff well-being, we also introduced new medical outpatient benefits, as such Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which has been very well received by staff. This encourages them to continue working with the company and in Changi Airport.”

Of the 30 individual and group awards presented to airport staff at the AAC, Smarte Carte staff had won three of the individual awards.  Two of them shared their stories with Changi Journeys


A little empathy that went a long way

Among the award recipients was Mr Mohammad Noor bin Abdullah.  The 56-year-old trolley supervisor was recognised with the Outstanding Custodial (Bronze) award for helping a passenger in need.  He had noticed an exhausted-looking father with an infant in arms and pushing a trolley at the same time.  Mr Mohammad approached the passenger to offer help, getting him hot water to make milk for the infant and helped to push his trolley to the taxi stand after that.  The passenger was touched and wrote a compliments note to Changi Airport to express his appreciation.

The trolley supervisor has been working at Changi Airport for 30 years, and joined Smarte Carte four years ago when it took over as the trolley services operator.  When asked about what he does on a day- to-day basis, he said, “I manage a team of 14 staff. We make sure that there are enough trolleys for passengers who are departing or arriving.  We use machines to help us in our work.” 

“Most of our staff are happy to learn how to operate the machines, and we teach them.  When I notice any of our staff looking tired, I will help them to push the trolleys.  Everyone can do with a bit of understanding, especially for those who are older in age.”

Mr Mohammad added that what he enjoys about the work at Changi is the opportunity to interact with travellers all over the world. He lets in that he regularly shares tips with travellers about where to go and what to see around the island.  His favourite destinations are Sentosa, Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Zoo. 

Finders not keepers

Another Smarte Carte award recipient is 78-year-old Tan Hun Kiang.  Mr Tan had received the same award as Mr Mohammad Noor.  He was lauded for his honesty in returning the numerous lost items he had found, such as mobile phones and cash amounting to $6,100 on one occasion.  With 17 years of service as a Trolley Service Officer under his belt, he was all calm and composed when asked about his job, belying his passion and pride to be able to make a difference to the passengers at Changi Airport.   

“I am happy that I can share my experience with new staff who join us.  I remember when I first started out on this job, I had to figure out how best to handle the trolleys myself. But now, we share with each other the tips and tricks to make work lighter for everyone.”

When asked why he chooses to work even at his age, he replied proudly, “It’s good to be able to work!  I get bored when I stay at home all day.  Coming to work, I get some exercise and also have a steady income stream.  The company also gives us extra incentives such as Giant vouchers, I am happy about that.” 

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