NTUC FairPrice is a household name synonymous with quality products at affordable prices, but not everyone is aware of how hard work it should perform in managing a retail business that offers over half a million customers every day.
From the origin of the product right up to the front door, these are 5 behind the scenes secrets that NTUC FairPrice has developed to make customers happy.
1. Procurement from multiple suppliers
Do not you hate it when a product is sold out? As a reseller selling over 15,000 products, NTUC FairPrice knows how painful it is when a customer can not quickly get the needs he needs.
Some challenges that this supermarket has survived are national shortages of eggs, rice, N95 masks, toilet paper and even mosquito repellents!
Prevent 15,000 possible situations of stock exhaustion, the supermarket sources of different suppliers in various countries, which also helps to moderate prices in the event that a supplier decides to play punk and charge taxes.
Secret tipWith over 140 stores across Singapore, NTUC FairPrice guarantees that there is always a nearby outlet to provide you with your daily essentials!
2. Build a giant distribution center
If you want a shop without leaving Singapore, just take the MRT (with lower public transport prices as of December 30, 2016) at Joo Koon station.
At first glance, you'll see a huge FairPrice Hub with shops, restaurants and the Warehouse Club that sells bulk items to save that extra dollar.
If you walk behind the shops and past the parking lot, you'll notice an even larger building called the Benoi Distribution Center.
For fans of the supply chain, this 6-storey center has a storage capacity of over 52,000 pallets for dry goods that will eventually reach the 140 sales points of the island.
With this increased capacity, NTUC FairPrice can store multiple varieties of products to deliver to stores so customers can have more choices.
Secret tip: The first 2 hours of parking at FairPrice Hub are free.
3. Use of automation for fast order fulfillment
The Benoi Distribution Center can process up to 120,000 cartons per day or 200 cartons per man hour (twice that of a conventional distribution center based on manual labor).
This means that stores can receive goods faster to minimize inventory depletion and continue to transport a wide variety of products to choose from.
Here are some robots and automated systems that NTUC FairPrice has included as a help.
The ASRS allows you to automatically store and pick up product pallets from 19 levels of storage racks.
High-bay shelving and stacking cranes with intelligent control do the hard work so that employees do not have to risk their lives by stacking such tall pallets with forklifts and manual cranes.
ASRS can receive up to 380 pallets of goods per hour (compared to 120 pallets per hour for conventional systems).
With multiple levels of storage space by geographical area, ASRS increases the use of land with its higher density.
In addition to ASRS, there are 84 CaddyPick couriers working together with staff to process up to 120,000 cartons per day (based on 12 hours of normal operations).
Staff members refer to an output order displayed on the screen on each CaddyPick. From there, they select the desired products from the shelving for CaddyPick supports, which then automatically switch to the next shelf.
The optimal picking routes are planned by the system to reduce the time that goes back and forth from one shelf to another.
With the help of CaddyPick technology, each staff doubled their productivity to 200 cartons at the time.
The CaddyPick also independently consolidates the recyclable packaging material to be sent to recycling centers, allowing staff to focus on other tasks.
The Operations Executive Lim Shih Yung shared how in the past the recovery of items for deliveries was highly manual and laborious. It was difficult to find staff and the team had many human mistakes to solve.
But with technology, he and his colleagues were able to move to more experienced roles in managing warehouse operations.
The environment is also safer as with automation, there are fewer forklift movements and material handling inside the distribution center.
Did you know: According to Labor leader Chan Chun Sing, who is also vice president of the Future Economy Committee (CFE), many new jobs created in the information-communications sector will be found in data-related areas, which may be views as a new resource to create new competitive advantages for Singapore, new businesses and jobs for Singapore.
4. Review the customer's experience continuously
Since 1983, NTUC FairPrice has launched various technologies to improve the customer experience with multiple options to conveniently purchase and pay for products.
Lately, NTUC FairPrice has introduced new self-checkout machines that accept coins and bills.
Secret tip: If you hate paying taxes to banks to convert your currency baggage, use your coins in these new checkout machines.
5. Help customers save the earth
To help you do your part for our land, NTUC FairPrice is the first supermarket chain in Singapore to transport environmentally friendly cooking oil.
The FairPrice Premium Cooking Oil brand and FairPrice vegetable oil are produced from certified sources in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
Secret tip: You can also get fruit and vegetables at a cheaper price under NTUC FairPrice's "Great Taste, Less Waste" campaign if you're not fussy about how they look.
A customer, Ms. Chan, has religiously purchased at least one "Grande gusto, meno rifiuti" fruit bag a week.
He says: "I can prepare at least 4 to 5 servings of fruit with a single $ 2 bag. It is very convenient and I would rather buy these fruits at a lower price than to see them thrown away because they can still be eaten".
The hidden secrets of FairPrice supermarkets
There are many more secrets that NTUC FairPrice has in store to make customers happy. In the end, it is a matter of ensuring that Singapore has convenient access to quality and cost-effective products.
Featured Image Credit: Labor Beat
The Labor Movement wants to help Singaporeans get better jobs and grow Singapore's competitive edge to be prepared for the future, while ensuring Singapore citizens have access to quality products and services at affordable prices through the social enterprises of NTUC.