Guiding SWOT analysis


Feb 16 - 22, 2004





I was among the lucky ones to get a chance to take a technical stroll at the wonderful engineering exhibition held at Expo center in Karachi recently.

One can find expression of achievements and emotions for advancement wherever you go. What was interesting was the willingness to take challenge and risks. The areas under display varied from Aluminum and Alloys products, Steel products, Stainless steel surgical instruments, Die and Mould steels, Electrical appliances, Automotive sector, Business support centers, Machine tools manufacturer, weighing Scales, textile out fits specially the stitching machines which were like robots making patterns at a speed unbelievable. Computers and their cousins and there were stalls calling for hair transplants using one follicle (but people including me were some what shy in going near them although there were lot of questions in mind).


Replacing Steel with Aluminum alloy product. Previously all the locally produced cars wheel rims on which you put tires were made of steel which has special deep drawing quality so that it can be formed into sections in cold conditions. This steel was locally produced at Pakistan Steel and was named after Baluchistan Wheels as BWL grade, the special property was high elongation values so that it could be formed, along with strength thickness of steel sheet from which wheel rims are produced is about four millimeter thick. With advancement taking place number of car manufacturers are going in for Aluminum alloys wheel rims shown below, having similar properties and lesser weight as compares to steel. This will help in lower fuel consumption.

Interestingly these wheels were being produced out of a process called Die casting process in which molten Aluminum is poured into dies have similar shape to that of wheel rim, although in die casting there can be more defects as compared to steel but the quality control during manufacturing was being maintained by local producers. So cost will be the deciding dimension and the competition would be severe.

Also the Dies or Moulds whatever you may like to call them is mostly produced out of Steel called H-13, hot working tool steel made by Peoples Steel Mills a major special steel producer of the country in Public Sector as per international specifications. It is learnt that the prospect of exporting Die Steels are bright another foreign exchange earner. If you look at the profile of this industry (Peoples Steel) you will find that all Leaf Springs (kamanis) are produced at this plant through Vacuum Degassing process (Very clean way of Making steel) and the post Heat treatment is all done by local manufacturers in Karachi, Lahore etc. In fact our transporters knowing the good quality of Spring Steel tries to overload heavily. One of the company manufacturing shock absorbers with a beautiful slogan given below.

One is amazed to find that automotive parts are being exported one of the joint doing this is being run by Ex F-16 fighter pilot (he is showing his take off skills). Then there are parts of Tractors so wonderfully being produced here through a process called Forging (not forgery) in Punjab, Sindh etc again all steel made by Special Steel plant.

There are joints producing parts for Aircraft industry so that you can have safe journey.

With rapid growth in consumption of Steel, re-rollers from Punjab are trying to set big Mills in Karachi, with Pakistan Steel Mills going in for expansion and Saudis planning to set up a Million tonne capacity plant the field is ripe for such ventures. Go forward my countrymen, Sky is the limit.

Developing shipping industry: One area that is slow in moving is the building of Ship Industry in Pakistan, once Karachi Shipyard & Engineering works was the hub of Ship building but now the vibrations are missing. There is need for Re-engineering in this field. One of the limitation is non availability of Wide Steel Plates i.e. two meters or more in width as this is not produced by Pakistan Steel or Peoples Steel Mill. Since the cost of investment is high probably fifty million dollars, investment from private sector is lacking. What needs to be done is that the end users like shipyard, Pakistan Navy, Pipe manufacturers, People and Pakistan Steel Mills, Heavy Mechanical Complex even some Asian company like Hyundai or some Japanese Mitsubishi or Chinese giants can be invited to join hands together and put the wide Strip Rolling Mill not only in national interest but in Commercial interest also. The decision needs to be taken at President of Pakistan's Level.



Finally: Some bold decisions have to be taken to give Engineering industry a boost, before godfather WTO walks in a couple of years time. Giants like Heavy Mechanical Complexes needs to be revisited, restructured, merged, and survival and development of Special Steel manufacturers be ensured for better future.

Quality Metallurgical Engineering graduates from Engineering institutions specially in Sindh, Karachi in particular should be produced for growth of future and present metallurgical based industries. Dawood College of Engineering & Technology be handed over to joint venture of Pakistan and Peoples Steel Mill for better education and job placement, so far there is no effort in this direction.

To take up all these issues the President needs to Call a Brain Storming session and take bold decisions make Engineering industry an Economical arm, also the role of dormant Engineering Development board needs to be looked into. Why can't it bring American Giants like General Electric, etc in Pakistan like India is doing? This needs debriefing also.

Further the engineering goods manufacturers should read the book "Wealth of nations" by Adam Smith and remember that the fastest growing religion today is Globalization which is also called as economic integration of nations. The word restriction will go in the interest of better market system and survival will mean producing quality product at most economical price leading to individual excellence. For this the cost of energy will have to be brought down, how can it be done by importing gas from Iran or Turkmenistan or building Kalabaghdam or building Nuclear power plant, it is for Pakistani Adam Smith (Mr. Shaukat Aziz to decide) and he better do it fast, lest the Indian with better economic package flood our market and make us Red Indians.

Also there is need to cut the cost of production down, operating with Zero defect level and making Customer Satisfaction as Job # 1.

One of the America's great gun (Eisenhower known as IKE here) once said "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed" Can this be discussed in the Indo-Pak talks as unfinished agenda.