Projects That Push Productivity

The Million Hours Challenge began in November 2018 to rally public officers to review and improve processes to save time and create better experiences for citizens and businesses. The projects implemented in 2019 are expected to save around 4 million hours annually for our citizens, businesses and public officers. Over a year on, here’s a look at the projects initiated by several agencies that have changed the way public officers work and serve citizens.

Procurement Chatbot answering common enquires.

Procurement Chatbot

Agency: Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)

The URA introduced a Procurement Chatbot in November 2018 (in beta testing) to provide advisory services to line departments on procurement matters. Officers can self-service any time to find quick answers to common procurement queries, bringing about greater convenience. With the Procurement Chatbot, the number of enquiries is reduced, which frees up time for the procurement team to focus on other key areas and initiatives.

With about 700 visits a year and at 10 minutes per visit, the time saved is estimated to be about 7,000 minutes or 116 hours.

Time savings: 116 hours per year

Smart rostering software customised for complex manpower deployment.

Smart Rostering System

Agency: Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI)

The MCI’s Media Division upgraded from using a manual rostering sheet (made with Microsoft Excel) to a smart rostering software customised for complex manpower deployment. Officers can update their availability on-the-go via their digital devices (e.g., iOS, Android apps, web interface).

The software automates the daily deployment of officers and makes it more efficient by:

  • Matching relevant duties to officers according to language proficiencies
  • Allowing duties to be evenly distributed between officers so that officers get adequate rest before their next duty
  • Ensuring officers are not repeatedly rostered for the same type of duty every day so they are exposed to a wide range of duties
  • Accommodating a month-long view of the entire roster, with a revamped user interface
  • Allowing completed rosters in Excel to be exported on-demand via mobile apps

The project is now being studied by other agencies such as the Maritime and Port Authority, Singapore Customs and Singapore Police Force for use in their field operations.

Time savings: 156 hours per year

Smart facilities management in schools

Smart Facilities Management in Schools

Agency: Ministry of Education

1. Building Management System: Enables two pilot schools to remotely control and monitor key mechanical and electrical equipment. This reduces the workload of operations staff who patrol the school compound to ensure lights, fans, air-conditioners and other equipment are switched off. 

2. Toilet sensors: People counters and ammonia sensors transform routine cleaning to on-demand cleaning for the contract cleaners in four pilot schools.

3. Cleaning robots: Automates the cleaning of large floors, such as those in halls, corridors and foyers, so that cleaners in the four pilot schools can focus on other areas.

4. Facilities management fault reporting mobile app: Helps school operations staff to report building defects on the go. The app was launched in 112 schools, and will be rolled out to the remaining schools by mid-2020.

Time savings: 17,000 hours per year

Simplifying financial assistance with AI FAST

Simplifying Financial Assistance

Agency: Institute of Technical Education (ITE)

The ITE’s Automated & Intelligent Financial Assistance System Technology (AI FAST) simplifies the processing of more than 22,400 financial aid applications by students.

Previous processes took 1,100 man-days with students submitting documents offline. AI FAST lowered this by 750 man-days, a reduction of close to 70%.

This productivity gain was achieved through the use of an intelligent automated system. Optical Character Reading technology verifies income documents (Income Tax or Central Provident Fund statements) for eligibility for financial assistance. The system also automatically tracks various donor funds and assigns the fund with the lowest utilisation rate to match the applications received, so that all donors’ funds are utilised effectively.

The system relieves administrators of having to manually track fund utilisation and fund balances, and doing monthly reconciliations with the General Ledger. Overall, AI FAST has achieved annual cost savings of close to $250,000 and 750 man-days.

Time savings: 5,250 hours per year

To find out more, go to (intranet link) and click through to Million Hours Challenge under Campaigns, or email
    Feb 26, 2020
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