THAL ENGG. LAUNCHES A NEW PROJECT
"Wiring Harness Plant" goes into production
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Jul 24 - 30, 2000
Whether fast, slow or bouncy in nature, if a batsman succeeds in staying at the wicket the runs come automatically and the score board keeps on moving. This criterion seems to be rightly applied to a great extent to the automobile industry in Pakistan.
The existence of automobile industry, though operating mostly with borrowed technology, it is inching ahead towards localization notwithstanding at a snail's pace. The volume of car plus light vehicles production is hardly 40,000-45,000 while the current deletion levels in car manufacturing also not so encouraging as it should be with an age of almost 3 decades in the auto sector. Suzuki claims to have achieved 68 per cent of local parts in its Mehran 800cc and 48 per cent in their 1000 cc model of Cultus. While other assemblers such as Toyota, Honda and Baleno are at 45 per cent in their 1300 cc models.
The Thal Engineering, a unit of Habib Group, has however taken a lead by setting up yet another unit in the engineering sector supporting localization process in our automobile industry. Thal Engineering has launched "Wiring Harness Plant" with internationally acceptable standards of production in technical collaboration with Furukawa Electric Company, Ohmi Electric Wire Company of Japan and Permintex Industries of Malaysia which are internationally known for their quality products.
Thal Engineering, which started operation in July 1966, is already manufacturing car air conditioners under a technology agreement with Denso Corporation of Japan.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of Wiring Harness Plant, Sohail P. Ahmed, leader of Thal Engineering team announced with a sense of achievement that Thal Engineering was the only company in Pakistan, which is manufacturing to international standards. The company is therefore seeking to export its products. Rafiq Habib, Chairman of the House of Habib and Dr. Akram Sheikh, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of Engineering Board (EDB) were also present on this occasion.
Sohail also introduced Mr. Arac and Mr. Sakaue, the technical partners from Furukawa Electric of Japan, Ohmi Electric Wire Co. of Japan and Permintex Industries of Malaysia respectively to the audience. Paying glowing tributes to the technical partners, Sohail described them as understanding, reliable, cooperative, flexible, trusting, willing and wanting to do more together.
Furukawa is amongst the top 5 wiring harness makers of the world. They make all kinds of wires, cables, aluminum and copper strips, coils, extrusions etc. They are in information technology equipment and electronic equipment as Fort Knox security systems and plastic products as well. They are like Vintage wine; they go back to 1884. Their paid up capital is yen 56 billion now starting with 20 m in 1920 about $ 430 million and have 9300 people working with them. Their sales in 1999-2000 were yen 516 billion. "They are a giant and we must learn to dance in step with the giants, Sohail remarked"
Permintex Industries are licensees of Furukawa in Malaysia and are the biggest manufacturers of wiring harness in Malaysia. They have diversified activities. It is a reflection of their skill and ability that Furukawa has in fact asked them to be our window for technical assistance as well as supplier of some parts, Sohail said.
These engineers from world's renowned companies visited the plant in pink weather times to evaluate our processes and systems and they awarded Thal Engineering 93 per cent points i.e. excellent, according to their standards. They described the quality of production as the best any stand-alone start up has had. Sohail told the audience that "we have improved upon even this excellent rating and will continue to do so as well have recently raised our sights to achieving 6 sigma or zero defect quality.
Thal Engineering is the only wiring harness manufacturer in Pakistan certified under ISO 9002.
Dr.Akram Sheikh while appreciating the efforts of Thal Engineering for strengthening the engineering base of the country said that vendor industry in Pakistan has to play its role in producing quality goods. He said a number of vendor industries have started producing quality goods which ultimately result in reducing price and increasing volume of production of our automobile industry. He said that there is a demand of 100,000 cars in Pakistan. In order to meet the demand locally we have to enhance the pace of deletion from 4-5 per cent per annum to 18-20 per cent to bring down prices of locally produced cars. In the face of WTO rules, our industry has to realize a certain stage of deletion to bring stability in quality and prices of local products to face the challenges in future. All this can be achieved if the public and private sector work together with dynamic approach, guidelines and policies.