Wished that queues at the supermarket/cinema/MRT station would move faster? That it would be easier to find a clean table at the food centre? That you could put in your food orders while queueing outside a busy restaurant, so that your food can be immediately served the moment you get a table?

Your wishes might be about to come true. And you could be part of a nation-wide effort to cultivate a self-service mindset!

Last November, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) launched the “We Are InDIYpendent” campaign to get more Singaporeans to adopt a Do-It-Yourself culture. You know, to choose DIY options – be it at the supermarket, the cinema and F&B outlets – over joining the queues at traditional check-out counters manned by staff.

At the launch of the “We Are InDIYpendent” campaign in November last year.

Singapore actor Suhaimi Yusof, Parl-Sec of MOE and MTI Low Yen Ling, Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say and DIY ambassador Michelle Chong at the launch of the “We Are InDIYpendent” campaign in November last year. (Image credit: MTI Singapore)

The self-service queue always moves faster than the traditional check-out counters! Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say checks out the self-service system at a FairPrice outlet.

The self-service queue always moves faster than the traditional check-out counters! Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say checks out the self-service system at a FairPrice outlet. (Image credit: MTI Singapore)

It completely makes sense. If doing something by myself is going to be faster, easier and allows more flexibility, why wait for someone to do it for me? You know, sometimes when I am at the food court or the food centre and see how busy the cleaners are, I feel like pitching in to help myself!

Two years ago, when Alvin was working on the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, we witnessed how efficient service staff and restaurants needed to be if they wanted to turn over tables faster and beat the competition. At a certain popular restaurant near his hotel, the workflow is like this:

1) take a queue number
2) study a large touchscreen menu outside the restaurant and place orders via a self-service system
3) wait for your number to flash on a screen (took at most 10 min despite a crowd)
4) be seated by a member of the waitstaff
5) waitstaff starts serving food (within less than 5 min of sitting down)
6) if you want more food, order it quickly via the automated system (iPads/tablets were also available at table)
7) finish up and pay the bill at the counter!

Because of the highly systematic workflow at this restaurant, despite it being peak hour and a large dinner crowd, tables were turned over pretty quickly as diners did not have long to wait for their orders to arrive. Waitstaff were not overwhelmed because they did not need to keep tending to diners personally – the automated ordering system took care of everything. In high-density Singapore where tempers run short during peak hour and F&B outlets want to serve as many patrons as possible, this DIY workflow is just the thing we need.

Where you come in:

This week, MTI has launched a nationwide online search for #DIYChampions led by DIY ambassador Michelle Chong. MTI will be crowdsourcing for the potential ambassadors on social channels, and will ultimately select a group of DIY Champions. Singaporeans can either volunteer themselves or nominate their friends to be part of this programme.

The selected DIY Champions will be given self-service challenges to do with their friends, driving advocacy in exchange for points. All of this would be all documented online for mass amplification. The champions will be rewarded with prizes and MTIwe will select one individual to be crowned the #DIYChampion of Champions.

Rewards include:
– Meet-and-greet session with celebrity ambassador, Michelle Chong
– Official certificate from MTI to recognize the successful completion of the #DIYChampions program
– Opportunity to be at the forefront of a national movement that encourages DIY
– Bragging rights amongst their peers
– Every ambassador will be rewarded with a reward pack (approx. $400 in value) at the end of the challenges
– The ultimate ambassador stands to win an additional top prizes (approx. $1,000 in value)

Would you make a good DIY Champion? Click here to head to MTI’s Facebook page and tell them why in the comments section to enter this awesome journey!

(Featured image credit: Golden Village Cinemas)