We caught up with Damien Kopp, Partner, NEXT Products and Platforms at NCS during the show day of FHA-Food & Beverage.
Can you share with us more about NCS?
NCS is a technology provider in Singapore with focus on APAC region. We are about 12,000 people strong, with a big contingent here in Singapore, but rapidly expanding in Australia, China, India and beyond as well.
At NCS NEXT, we imagine and deliver the next innovations, experiences and possibilities that will impact lives and advance communities.
Our Robotics team focuses on increasing efficiency with intelligent automation at scale. From fleet management of heterogeneous service robots, advanced robotic navigation software solutions to custom robots and AMR bases. We offer a suite of enterprise robotics solutions that facilitate the deployment, adoption, and management of robots at scale, safely and securely.
Tell me more about your new product launch?
We want to share a bit more about robots as a service (RaaS). It’s an offering to help small businesses to automate their business, particularly for the food and beverages industry, to automate restaurant operations, hospitality like hotels and for facility management and beyond. We are focused on helping businesses with the adoption of such technology in their environment, whether it’s the subscription aspect, the technology aspect, or the roll out. We provide end-to-end services to support business to roll out this kind of new technology in their facilities.
What are the challenges you currently see in the F&B Industry?
The Food & Beverage industry is facing a massive growth. It has grown by more than 20% on a year-on-year basis. And at the same time, we know there’s a huge manpower crunch, there are rising prices and a lot of operational challenges happening along the way. At the same time, we see service robots use have been growing for more than 30% on the same period. Therefore, we see an opportunity where service robots can really help to solve the manpower gap in the market today. This means businesses need to reinvent how they are doing their operations today, because adding a robot into some of the tasks in restaurants or hotels and facilities means rethinking a bit on how they operate day-to-day. While there’s an opportunity to fill the resource gap, there’s also an opportunity to change and transform to provide a different kind of experience to their guests and customers.
How would RaaS helps to solve some of the challenges in the F&B industry?
Unfortunately, we think that the current challenges are here to stay and will continue to grow. This also implies that the use of technology to solve this problem (whether it’s more automation, more data, more insights, more intelligence to run the day-to-day operations), is something that is here to stay. We as technology provider, sees it as a massive opportunity to help fill the gap, so we make use of IoT data, sensors, as well as digital platforms to help automate day-to-day operations, better serve customers, and at the same time, maintain the cost level, which is a huge challenge for the industry.
What do you think are the challenges faced by F&B and Hospitality industry while trying to adopt these technologies?
I think like any industry where there’s a lot of reliance today on human behaviors, that means that the biggest impact is really change, is understanding now how you blend that technology into your day-to-day operations because it does impact how people work, how they think, how they collaborate and how they communicate. When people start to realise that technology is here to assist and solve problems, not to replace people per se, I think that’s when the adoption will come in in that understanding and it’s a lot of explaining, it’s a lot of training for people to understand how technology can really help them in their day to day and is not here to work against them, which sometimes it can feel a bit like it.
What do you like about FHA-Food & Beverage?
We are quite excited by the opportunity it brings to the Food Technology sector because it’s an area that has been maybe a little bit overlooked for the past few years. We see the opportunity now in terms of bringing the tech in the day-to-day operations of these businesses. I must say, being a bit of a foodie myself, seeing all these great food providers and suppliers all over is quite exciting!