ENABLING every passenger to navigate Changi Airport easily is the goal of a wayfinding team under the Arrival Experience, Airport Operations department in the Changi Airport Group (CAG).
Spearheading this task is Mr Su Guojie, 33, a manager in the four-member team that attends to environmental graphics and digital signage to ensure that a consistent wayfinding language is articulated across Changi Airport.
“Our role is to provide a holistic and meaningful wayfinding experience for our passengers and ensure that our airport signage system grows in tandem with advancing technologies so as to remain relevant and competitive in this digital age,” he says.
Mr Su — who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geography from the National University of Singapore — loves that his job involves both operation and planning duties as they keep him fully engaged with opportunities to learn and grow every day.
He starts a typical work day by clearing administrative matters before diving into his projects and reviewing the proposals and work that his teammates are engaged in.
Mr Su also arranges catch-up sessions with vendors and contractors to discuss ways to improve the airport’s signage systems. These “kopi sessions” give him valuable insights into the prototyping phase, he says.
Things sometimes do not run like clockwork as there are times when his team receives an urgent work request and has to re-arrange and juggle some of the work priorities.
Once, there was an incident where the team needed to retrofit structures to enable flight information screens to be mounted. External variables such as the lack of vendors and limited permissible work area of some structures impeded their progress. Any delay in the work could hold up the completion of the main project.
Mr Su says: “We were fortunate to receive support from other colleagues who helped to identify the experts of such work and establish the right methodology to engage every vendor. As a result, we were able to bring down our cost significantly and mitigate risks.
“Eventually the work was completed without a hitch and the main project was delivered on time.”
In pursuit of excellence
Mr Su appreciates the open culture at CAG, which makes him feel at ease and comfortable about sharing his concerns with his superiors.
“Throughout my three years in this company, I have been given opportunities to experiment and run autonomously with some projects. I appreciate the support from the company and my superiors,” he says.
Over the years, Mr Su has been sent on various work trips to gain exposure to plausible transformative design work and technologies that the wayfinding team could implement in Changi Airport.
“During the trip, I learnt to keep an open mind to developments in the arts and sciences. While some products may at first seem irrelevant or specific to a particular industry, they can be adapted and shaped to meet our needs,” he recalls.
Another memorable learning experience was being part of a consultancy project to evaluate and propose practical solutions to improve the ease of wayfinding of an airport in another country.
The intense four-day session involved getting acquainted with the circulation patterns of the site, socio-cultural norms of the place, passengers travelling through the airport, and readjusting some of the team’s wayfinding norms to suit the context of the overseas airport.
What keeps him inspired are not just the challenges at work, but also the drive of his colleagues who excel in their work, and other interesting developments such as the industry’s recent focus on increasing productivity and innovation. These have opened up new ways of managing the airport and aviation businesses.
“Since 2014, teams have been formed to look specifically at marrying transformative technologies and processes with our regular work processes to achieve better yield, and to rethink the way we deliver our services to our passengers and partners.
“The whole airport community works in unison to ensure that a passenger’s journey is smooth and stress-free. This strong sense of purpose creates an invigorating pulse that enlivens the workplace, giving me a sense of heightened positivity,” he adds.