Automation helps ensure resilient supply chain for essential goods: President Halimah

SINGAPORE – FairPrice’s automation of its processes has increased efficiency and boosted productivity, and helped ensure the continuity of Singapore’s supply chain during the Covid-19 pandemic, President Halimah Yacob said on Thursday (May 6).

“The well-stocked supermarket aisles are a result of careful, long-term planning and investment in supply chain operations over the years. These would not have been possible without the hard work of dedicated and resourceful teams in the sector,” she said.

Madam Halimah was on a visit to FairPrice Group’s supply chain business unit in Joo Koon, where she met workers and saw how FairPrice uses data to predict and prevent problems that are likely to arise before they become major issues and disrupt the supply chain.

The Government will work with businesses and countries to ensure there is no disruption to the supply of food and essential products to Singapore, she said, adding that this was an issue of national security.

The President also expressed her appreciation to supply chain workers, who she said are often forgotten as essential front-liners.

Meanwhile, a FairPrice spokesman said the recent tightening of border restrictions on travellers from India as a result of its Covid-19 situation has not led to “any significant disruption overall” to FairPrice’s supplies.

The spokesman said the supermarket chain is diversifying its food sources and stockpiling essentials to provide a buffer for alternative supply sources, if needed.

“FairPrice sources from over 100 countries around the world, including India, which makes up less than 1 per cent of our total supply of food,” said the spokesman.

FairPrice has not seen “any significant changes in customer traffic” since tighter Covid-19 measures were announced on Tuesday, he added.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and would like to assure Singaporeans that we have sufficient stocks for daily essentials, affordably priced for everyone,” the spokesman said, in response to queries from The Straits Times.

“We would like to take this opportunity to remind shoppers to purchase only what they need… There is no need to stockpile items.”

Customers queueing to pay for their items at the FairPrice outlet in Tampines Mall on May 5, 2021. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

On Tuesday, the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19 announced a reduction in the number of people allowed to gather socially from eight to five. High-risk settings, such as indoor gyms and indoor fitness studios, must also close when the measures kick in on Saturday.

The tightening of measures early last year saw some panic buying and long queues in supermarkets, prompting chains like FairPrice to set limits on the purchase of essential items then.

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