Grass-Cutting: Labor-intensive JOB or Skill-Based PROFESSION?

On 24th June, I had the opportunity of witnessing the Robocutter in action. It has nothing to do with the Transformers movie, but it did transform the lives of a number of workers in the landscaping industry!

As part of Minister Lim Swee Say’s push to make jobs easier, smarter and safer, companies like Ho Eng Huat Construction Pte Ltd have been given grants (of up to 50%) to purchase machinery under the Inclusive Growth Programme (IGP).

This video helps explain how the company and the workers have benefited:

This is how grass-cutting in my neighborhood usually happens:


I will often try to avoid these workers because I’m afraid the blades will fly off and hit me. Irrational fear, I know. But better to be safe than sorry. And they tend to work in groups as well because grass-cutting is a labor-intensive task.

But look how they are all covered up on such a hot day – from the face masks to the PCK-boots! On top of that, they will always have to be on the lookout for people passing by (in which case they will halt the grass-cutting and let the people pass first). It is definitely tedious.

However, the Robocutter is set to change things. I witnessed first-hand how workers can now shed all that protective gear and even stand in the shade to operate the machines like they would a remote-controlled car!


They can even operate the Robocutter from a height. Here’s Minister Lim Swee Say (in white) lifted way up high by the Leguan 160 – another investment by the same construction company.

Minister Lim Swee Say

The Robocutter caused quite a stir recently as netizens speculated if the cut grass was the work of aliens. Hur hur!



Alien jokes aside, the Robocutter really helps improve productivity levels, and instead of the 5 workers each site usually requires, the company now needs to send only 2. Such adoption of technology can help ease the pressure that companies are facing from the labor crunch. As work gets done faster, the company can bid for more jobs. Competitors which refuse to take this route will lose their competitive edge fast.

Other machines, such as the Toro, will still require the worker to be on board. I do think it gets the job done, but the Robocutter takes the cake as the worker can be standing under some shade instead of being under the hot sun.

Minister Lim Swee Say

Ultimately, with wages going up by 12.7% for this company’s workers, coupled with the productivity gains, it is a win-win-win situation for the worker, the company, and the customer! And if I may add, I definitely feel more secure being in close proximity to these machines. At the very least, the machine parts don’t look like they’d fall out or fly off like the regular blades would. 😀