Customer service associate learning new skills at packaging factory

Mr Gordon Li, a customer service associate of logistics company UBTS, has been redeployed to baking goods retailer Phoon Huat's packaging factory. PHOTO: UBTS
Mr Gordon Li, a customer service associate of logistics company UBTS, has been redeployed to baking goods retailer Phoon Huat's packaging factory. PHOTO: UBTS

While some industries find that they have excess manpower as operations slow down owing to coronavirus crisis measures, others have a lack of staff because customer demands have increased.

This is where redeployment can help. Staff in companies that have slowed down can find new roles and learn fresh skills in the process.

One person who has been redeployed is Mr Gordon Li, 32, a customer service associate at the airport division of logistics company UBTS.

He used to provide front-line customer service, helping passengers to check in at the airport, but Mr Li now finds himself working at a packaging factory under baking goods retailer Phoon Huat.

Mr Li said: "I wanted the exposure to a different industry and to experience a totally different work environment."

He added that his new job involves logistics and has to be done with efficiency, as the goods need to be delivered within tight timeframes.

The exposure has given him a chance to learn a variety of skills in logistics and food processing.

"I have learnt to keep myself safe, working in an environment with heavy machinery and vehicles, as well as the importance of food safety and the protocols of handling raw food ingredients by wearing the necessary personal hygiene equipment such as gloves, boots and head covers," he said.

"Under the patient guidance of Phoon Huat's production staff and supervisors, I also picked up many techniques for packing the food products in the most efficient way possible."

 
 

Under the SGUnited Jobs initiative, UBTS had offered its airport customer service staff the option of being redeployed to temporary jobs with hiring companies when airline networks shut down.

Of the 32 staff who took up this option, some went to Phoon Huat's factory, and others to retail outlets to help with crowd control and temperature screening.

UBTS senior manager Kelvin Gerard Soh said: "Many staff who opted in for this programme cited concerns over the economic outlook in Singapore, and wanted to work in any sort of job that would give them a different kind of exposure and practical experience. They were willing to consider functions that were outside their comfort zone, while allowing them to remain in gainful employment."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2020, with the headline 'Customer service associate learning new skills at packaging factory'. Subscribe