Montreux Patisserie puts all the right ingredients with the help of e2i’s Inclusive Growth Programme to overcome productivity challenges and make life better for its workers.
Mdm Law Siew Leng, 51, has been working for local company Montreux Patisserie Pte Ltd for the past seven years. Her job includes making curry puffs and pies, among other pastries.
She and her team of seven used to make 1,000 pastries an hour manually, from making the dough to baking. It used to be tiring and stressful trying to meet the daily demands.
The quality was also often inconsistent and there was plenty of wastage.
Things have changed, thanks to the Inclusive Growth Programme (IGP) by NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) which helped the company automate for higher productivity.
With a machine that takes care of dough-making to filling, Mdm Law and her team are now able to make more than twice the amount of pastries in the same amount of time compared to the previous process. Her team has since decreased to five workers.
All she needs to do now is to ensure that the machine processes work smoothly and there is no wastage. Besides curry puffs, the automated machine can also make other kinds of pastries with various fillings.
e2i organised a learning journey to Montreux Patisserie on 29 June 2017 for a group of Manpower Ministry and e2i officials to find out more on how automation has helped companies, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises like Montreux Patisserie.
Besides the automated pastry machine, the family-run business has through IGP also adopted numerous automation projects. These projects help to increase productivity, which helps its low-wage workers with better wages. The simpler and less physically demanding tasks are also enabling its mature workers.
Mdm Law is one of the 15 low-wage employees at the company. Out of that group, 11 of them are above 50 years old and 10 of them are females.
Second Minister for Manpower Mrs Josephine Teo, who was part of the team that went on the learning journey, said: “The company took a big leap to transform their business by investing in technology to improve their work processes and to reduce the number of man hours needed for pastry production.
“I’m glad they now have these new machines to make their employees’ jobs easier, safer and smarter. Their willingness to share the technology they have adopted with the rest of the industry is also commendable. I hope this would spur more companies to sign up with e2i to transform and grow.”
Montreux Patisserie Managing Director Lee Chit Shung said that e2i has helped them to simplify the processes in his company.
He added: “They will also share their industry knowledge with us after seeing many other companies – they know our challenges and what we need to overcome them.”
Mr Lee said that on the whole, growth and productivity in his company have increased three-fold since the help of e2i and automation. They currently have the capability to produce 85,000 curry puffs a day, but the machine only runs three times a week due to weak market demand.
He added that even though workers might be apprehensive of automation at first, it is the job of employers to convince and train them.
He stressed: “If we want our products to be consistent, we must train our staff properly. We cannot have the negative mindset of not training them because they might leave us for our competitors. I would always tell my fellow industry bosses that we cannot have this mentality.”
Mr Lee said that his company has always been open to sharing its practices with the industry, even though they may be his competitors.
He explained: “If we are the only one growing, how much of growth can we command if the market demand is not there? If the whole industry grows together, the market and consumers will grow too eventually.”
The company plans to export its products overseas by 2020.
This article was featured on 6 July 2017 on NTUC U Portal. Find out more about e2i’s Inclusive Growth Programme.
Story by: Shukry Rashid, NTUC This Week