Exclusive: How data is helping NEA improve hawker centre operations

By National Environment Agency

Singapore's National Environment Agency shares how it is using data analytics to improve hawker centre operations.

Image: Google Images

Singapore’s hawker centres aren’t just another dining option; they are an integral part of local food culture and while the city-state is powered by well-known Singaporean dishes such as Hainanese chicken rice, Malay mee rebus and Indian roti prata, the management of its hawker centres is powered on a different type of fuel - data.

With a greater use of data as the latest strategy, the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) Hawker Centres Division, along with the Transformation Department, are piloting the use of analytics and data dashboards to analyse hawker centre related data to improve hawker centre operations.

A data-driven Place Manager

By leveraging on the data dashboards, the NEA’s Hawker Centres Division and its officers, also known as ‘Place Managers’, are able to obtain greater insight on tenancy and facility issues related to the hawker centres they manage.

One way is through the data dashboard’s ability to instantaneously compute the number of cases of customer feedback received across various months, types of feedback, and display any co-relation with data obtained from a Place Manager’s inspections for a particular hawker centre. By allowing the data obtained from customer feedback and inspections to be examined in different ways quickly, the dashboard aids Place Managers to identify probable causes of the issues and promptly act on them.

Take for example, in addressing the cleanliness level of a hawker centre, an increased number of cases of feedback may be a result of an under-performing cleaning contractor or poor housekeeping and refuse management of stallholders.  In the past, significant time would have to be spent on generating spreadsheets and scrolling through various reports related to the performance of a hawker centre’s cleaning contractor, as well as stall inspection results.  Now, with this capability, such insights are obtained with just a single click.

Data to meet community needs

Singapore’s hawker centres are iconic communal dining spaces and an important part of its food heritage. Many of its stalls have been serving up delicious and affordable meals for the multiracial community in Singapore for generations, and a deeper understanding of its food mix data could help keep this culture intact.

With the data dashboards, NEA can more easily monitor the food mix in its hawker centres, and better ensure that the various food needs of the community continue to be met.  For example, with the dashboard’s ability to compute and display the various stall occupancy rates against the food mix data of hawker centres islandwide, NEA can quickly identify centres and take the opportunity when vacant stalls arise to improve the food mix.

NEA is dedicated to protect our culinary gems that we fondly call hawker centres. With the effective use of data as another arrow in our quiver of tools, we are confident that our hawker centres will continue to thrive well into Singapore’s future.