Lead story Main feature Quality column In brief Editor's note

"Engineering Your Efficiency"

n the first issue of Voicelink we discussed the benefits of the Trading Fund and the effects of untying. Now a year later, we thought it would be a good time to give you an update on our activities.

The untying process, which began last year and is continuing over a four-year period, places us in a competitive environment, modelling our activities along full commercial principles. "Untied" customers can choose to use our services or to consider an alternative supplier. The first phase took place last year when 9 customers, representing 25% of our business volume, were untied. A further 9 customers, representing another 25%, were untied on 1 August this year and the remaining 50% will be untied in the next two years.

With some of our major customers being untied in phase 2, there has certainly been no room for complacency. During the year we made every effort to improve work practices and provide value-added services to customers. Some of our key achievements include:

  • Last year, we reported cumulative productivity savings of 12.5% (31 March 1999) since the establishment of the Trading Fund in 1996. A further saving of 5% has been generated since then, bringing total productivity gains at 31 March 2000 to 17.5%. These savings are passed on directly to customers through price reductions.

  • New business gained far outweighs the limited amount of business lost, since Phase 1 untying last year. We lost about 1% of our business in revenue terms but grew more than 5% in new and existing business.

  • More than 80 works improvement and business process improvement teams have been hard at work. The resulting improvements save more than $18 million a year in recurrent costs.

  • Through ongoing initiatives to improve services to customers, we began offering longer-term Service Level Agreements at attractive prices. A number of new contracts ranging from between 3 to 5 years have been agreed with customers.

  • Improving customer services and enhancing productivity and a one-stop service culture, customer service training is now mandatory for all 3,000 front line staff.

We are of course very proud of our achievements in the past year. Needless to say, we are fully aware that we have to stay alert to bring you better, more comprehensive, cost-effective and efficient services in the future. Along the way, we are making every effort to ensure that we help to engineer your efficiency and meet your goals.

Customer Highlights

  • A 6-month integrated facilities management pilot scheme has been completed at the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital and the results have been presented to the Hospital Authority. This integrated model provides "one-stop shop" services with a single point of contact and responsibility for all the hospital's electrical and mechanical services.

  • Working in partnership with the Highways Department, an "Advance Warning System" using remote auto-dialling facilities, is being installed in Hong Kong's major subways and underpasses. During the trial, the system improved pedestrian and traffic flows in bad weather, ensuring easy and unrestricted access to public areas throughout Hong Kong.

  • Acting as project consultant, we are working with Customs and Excise Department to install a large-scale X-ray Vehicle Inspection System capable of scanning container trucks at the Lok Ma Chau Border crossing. This project will be completed in 2002.

  • This merge belt forms part of the state-of-the-art baggage handling system at the Hong Kong International AirportWe recently awarded a Contract to the Holland Institute of Traffic Technology (HITT) for the replacement and upgrade of the Marine Department's Vessel Traffic Services System. Incorporating the latest technology, the new system will greatly enhance the operational efficiency in the monitoring and control of marine traffic in Hong Kong's waters.

  • The Airport Sector Division recently won an international tender, for a three-year contract for the maintenance of the airport's baggage handling system. The system is one of the largest and most advanced in the world, capable of handling over 200,000 items of baggage a day over 24 kilometres of conveyor belt.

  • We completed the "IT in Education" and "Multi-media Learning Centres" projects for the Education Department with the fitting out of IT rooms at about 500 schools and the design and installation of computerised multi-media learning centres in another 100 schools. We have commenced similar installations in a further 200 educational institutions.

  • One of our smaller though more complex projects is the conversion of existing electronic parking meters to accept Mondex, Visa or Octopus cards. While the technologies are widely used, the challenge is to ensure that they will work as effectively in an outdoor and unattended environment.

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