FairPrice staff from HQ get taste of working in supermarts, distribution centre

Getting a taste of quality checks at NTUC.ST VIDEO: TIFFANY TAY
Mr Seah Kian Peng (right) and Mr Bobby Chin (centre) sorting and distributing mandarin oranges as they participate in the One FairPrice Family Programme.
Mr Seah Kian Peng (right) and Mr Bobby Chin (centre) sorting and distributing mandarin oranges as they participate in the One FairPrice Family Programme.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - The top brass at FairPrice rolled up their sleeves on Thursday (Jan 26) to help with in-store operations as part of an initiative to give the supermarket chain's corporate employees a taste of the frontlines.

Under the One FairPrice Family Programme, launched last November, all 800 employees based at FairPrice's headquarters are encouraged to work at least three days a year at one of its supermarkets or the distribution centre.

Two of the days must be during festive peak periods, such as the lead up to Christmas and Chinese New Year, to help with additional manpower needs. Duties include attending to customers, bagging groceries and retrieving trolleys.

FairPrice chief executive Seah Kian Peng and chairman Bobby Chin played their part at the FairPrice at Toa Payoh HDB Hub on Thursday (Jan 26), performing quality checks on mandarin oranges being sold for the coming festivities.


Mr Seah Kian Peng (right) and Mr Bobby Chin (centre) sorting and distributing mandarin oranges as they participate in the One FairPrice Family Programme.  ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Mr Seah said that being attached to the stores helps office staff to stay connected with frontline colleagues, and facilitates a better understanding of the organisation's different functions and customers' needs.

Nearly half of FairPrice's corporate staff have participated in the programme to date, including Mr Alfred Ho, a senior executive who works in internal auditing at the company's headquarters in Joo Koon.

Mr Ho, 31, who manned the mandarin orange booth at Lot 1 shopping mall's FairPrice supermarket on Tuesday and Wednesday, told The Straits Times that standing on his feet all day and dealing with demanding customers was a different challenge than the desk work he is used to doing.

"Frontline jobs are not easy. I just helped out for two days and already feel exhausted," said Mr Ho.

"Having a better understanding of what our colleagues at the branches do helps us to provide better support when it comes to problem solving," he said.