Harnek Singh, Past President, Asia Pacific Quality Organisation TITLE: Continual Productivity Improvement in-spite resource constraints 

Title: Continual Productivity Improvement in-spite resource constraints 



The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and organisations need to transform their businesses to cope and manage with these uncertainties and changes. With scarcity of resource, businesses will need to adapt and be agile yet remain productive to weather the storm of continued disruption and challenges posed in the evolving new normal. 


Continual productivity improvement will depend on combination of effective systems, efficient employees, equipment and processes. This would include adapting to new ways of working, reviewing and strengthening management systems, adopting and adapting standards to be future ready and resilience, in addition to accelerating digital transformation, upskilling, reskilling and robust work force engagement, to remain productive and be in business.  


Productivity is the lifeline of businesses. The more a business is able to earn relative to the resources it invests in materials and labour, the more profitable and sustainable the business will be. However, continual productivity improvements efforts as a norm take time and cost money. Additionally, every company must balance these short-term expenses against the long-term savings the improvements provide. Businesses are urged to budget carefully when implementing productivity improvements, and prioritise low-cost changes over more-expensive improvements, whenever feasible.



Harnek Singh is Past President, Asia Pacific Quality Organisation (2016 to 2019)  and Past Chair, Global Performance Excellence Awards (2018 to 2019).  He possesses a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and Diplomas in Aeronautical Engineering (Operational Technology) and Personnel Management and retired as Vice - President & Director, Business Excellence, ST Engineering Ltd in October 2016.

He was responsible for sustaining relevancy of Business Excellence and various Management System Standards and Productivity within the ST Group as Head, Quality Management Development, than at the ST Engineering Group. Prior to joining ST Group he was Officer Commanding at Maintenance Centre, Paya Lebar Airbase, RSAF and was appointed Head, Productivity Development Unit at the Ministry of Defence HQ to help steer productivity and quality in Mindef HQ and the Singapore Armed Forces. Harnek is current chair of the National, Quality & Core Business Processes Technical Committee and is member of QSSC, Singapore Standard’s Council, and has been an Expert Trainer and Consultant for APO COE for Business Excellence for last 12 years. He is Adviser, Organisational Excellence, MOE, and   Chair, Nanyang Institute of Management’s Academic and Exams Board.    


Harnek is a Singapore Business Excellence Initiative Lead Assessor, a Baldrige trained & Global Performance Excellence Award Examiner, has led many Singapore Quality Award and SQA Special Commendation, Singapore Quality Class, SQC for PEOs and BE Niche Awards (Service Excellence, Innovation Excellence, People Excellence) and certifications assessments.

He has also been involved as an International Assessor and in training BE to stakeholders, National BE Assessors and BE Consultants in Singapore, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Fiji, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Iran, Pakistan, Vietnam, China, Saudi Arabia, Mongolia, Malaysia, UAE and is a technical expert for Asia Productivity Organisation, an UNIDO International Consultant for Business Excellence and Productivity.

He was Honorary Secretary, Singapore Productivity Association’s Governing Council and now serve as member of its Management Committee. He served on the Judging Panel for the PS21 Public Sector Transformation Awards, Service Excellence Awards Committee, and is currently an Academician at the International Academy for Quality Inc.


Harnek has received numerous awards, commendations and special recognitions for his work in Quality, Productivity and Business Excellence from AirForce, Ministry of Defence, ST Engineering, Singapore Public Sector since 1985. 

Harnek is first and only recipient of special award presented by PSB (now ESG) for promoting and managing team excellence and productivity in Singapore in 1998. And was first recipient of the inaugural Singapore Business Excellence Initiative " Gold Jacket " in 2015 for his contribution to BE locally, regionally and internationally, and as School Advisory Management Committee Board Member he was awarded the Service to Education Award 2018.by Ministry of Education Singapore.

In 2018 he was bestowed the International Sudomo Quality Leadership Award by Indonesian Quality Management Association and is recipient of the APQO Harrington / Ishikawa Award 2019.