Last updated: 13 March 2023

Published on: 27 May 2021


Out with the old, and in with the new! Go digital with the help of IMDA’s Environmental Services Industry Digital Plan.

By Jill Arul

When we toss our trash in the bins, we don’t usually think about where it goes next. Likewise, during major local events like the annual F1 race in pre-pandemic times, the clean-up in the portable toilets is the last thing on our minds. Yet, Singapore has established a global reputation as a clean and green nation—often depicted without a trace of litter or chewing gum stains on its streets. Through the efforts of environmental service workers like waste collectors and cleaners, the Republic strives to remain among the world’s cleanest cities.

The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic has proven that environmental services are, in fact, essential services. Regular waste disposal and constant surface disinfection are now part and parcel of our defence against the virus.

Given the heightened demand for environmental services, digitalisation is needed to ensure that no company gets left behind when the dust finally settles. In collaboration with the National Environment Agency (NEA), the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has refreshed the Environmental Services Industry Digital Plan (IDP). This provides SMEs with a step-by-step guide on the digital solutions they can adopt and suitable training for employees at each stage of their growth.

The refreshed IDP now includes pest management as a sub-sector in addition to cleaning and waste management, and highlights solutions like blockchain, robotics and augmented or virtual reality to improve productivity. In essence, the Environmental Services IDP aims to equip the industry’s workforce with transferable digital skills that will allow them to move across sub-sectors easily, addressing current manpower concerns.

In this article, find out how SMEs like V8 Environmental and LS 2 Services made use of solutions from categories featured in the refreshed IDP for a seamless and squeaky clean digital transformation.

Waste not, want not

From manufacturing to event management, behind any business is the essential dirty work of dealing with waste. Specialising in both liquid and solid waste management, V8 Environmental offers waste collection services and the provision of bins to various industries, as well as the rental of portable toilets.

As the company grew over the last 30 years, it became increasingly more difficult to track its fleet of drivers. With managers unable to know precisely where drivers were, each driver was only able to complete about three trips a day, with tracking done manually through calls or texts.

With their new digital fleet management solution, managers are now aware of the fleet’s whereabouts instantly and exactly—helping V8 Environmental optimise their fleet routes and allowing drivers to easily complete up to five trips a day.

The solution also comes with an advanced driver assistance system that connects to cameras installed on the body of the vehicles—allowing both drivers and managers to see all around the vehicle, making operating and parking safer and easier.

“It was not so difficult for the drivers to learn how to use the system and now they are so used to it that they cannot work without it. It has definitely made their work easier and safer.”

Eileen Yeo, V8 Environmental’s Business Development Manager

With the Advanced Driver Assistance System, V8 Environmental’s drivers can more confidently and safely operate large vehicles like hooklifts.

Tossing tedious tasks away

Over the last 27 years, LS 2 Services has established itself as one of Singapore’s leading cleaning and conservancy companies, offering services like commercial cleaning, road and beach cleaning, antimicrobial shield coating and waste management. But even after almost three decades of working with a wide range of clientele, LS 2 Services continue to look for new ways to upgrade their practices.

Given Singapore’s clean and green reputation, expectations for environmental services are perennially sky-high. However, in LS 2’s experience, prevailing misconceptions about the industry often prevent younger people from entering the field—resulting in manpower constraints and spurring companies to adapt. 

With the changing needs of the industry, it is critical to provide our workers with the necessary technologies and training,” explained Tan Wei Ying, LS 2 Services’ Corporate Service Director.

“This has given us the chance to upskill our workforce and enhance our technological know-how, helping our workers to be more efficient, and improving their work environment.”

Tan Wei Ying, LS 2 Services’ Corporate Service Director

TravelTech could potentially reduce the number of people deployed at checkpoints while also shortening the time it takes for travel clearance.

With a smaller workforce, it is essential to be as efficient as possible so staff are not overworked, and more can be done in a shorter time. To this end, LS 2 was able to benefit from implementing solutions that are also featured in IMDA’s Environmental Services IDP, such as robots and machines that could automate tedious tasks and free workers up for other jobs.

Currently used at Singapore Management University (SMU), LS 2’s autonomous scrubber cleans up spaces much faster than a person, allowing staff to program the robot and move on to perform other tasks that cannot be automated.

Another helpful digital improvement is their new smart compactors: large bins that automatically compress the waste contents and are equipped with sensors that send an alert to a worker’s phone when it is full. This helps the staff  save time and effort by not having to check each bin as frequently and be able to take on other tasks.

If your company is facing a challenge that can be solved by adopting digital solutions, or if you are looking to improve productivity and reduce costs, like V8 Environmental and LS 2 Services, there are many ways your business can reap the benefits of digitalisation .

Visit the Environmental Services IDP web page for a guide on the best digital solutions for your company. You can even tap on the Productivity Solutions Grant to adopt pre-approved digital solutions with support at up to 80 percent of the cost! For more information on how you can strengthen your business with digitalisation, check out IMDA’s SMEs Go Digital web page today.

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