KUALA LUMPUR: Since the beginning of Malaysia’s total lockdown on Tuesday (Jun 1), a salt producer in Selangor has lower its manufacturing line from over 18 forms of merchandise to a most of 10.
Mr Seow Jun Ze, the enterprise improvement supervisor of Qingli Sdn Bhd, stated the corporate determined to give attention to quicker shifting gadgets which have increased shopper demand.
“We’re down at least 38 to 40 per cent from normal production, and even for the 10 product lines, the required lead time for orders is much longer now,” he stated.
The salt producer’s state of affairs shouldn’t be distinctive, as manufacturers and employers throughout the nation grapple with decreased outputs as a results of decrease manpower mandated by COVID-19 restrictions.
The whole lockdown was introduced by the Prime Minister’s Office on May 28 in gentle of surging COVID-19 case numbers and deaths. The subsequent day, 9,020 new daily cases have been reported, the very best every day toll because the begin of the pandemic.
A 60 per cent restrict on manpower capacity was introduced as a part of the standard operating procedures for permitted service and manufacturing sectors.
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To adjust to the working manpower restrict, Asia Brands Berhad, a material producer as properly as garment producer and retailer, has to rotate employees’ shifts to guarantee everybody will get a activate the road.
Its chairman Tan Thian Poh stated these within the administrative aspect work at home as a lot as potential.
“The manpower limit does cut into our production output, especially since we were facing labour shortages over two years back when the government cut foreign worker intake,” Mr Tan, who presently chairs the Federation of Malaysian Fashion, Textile and Apparel (FMFTA), stated.
“The retail and consumer fashion units are not running right now per government orders, but we also manufacture non-woven fabric and personal protective equipment (PPE) and fabric masks,” he added.
The manufacturers agreed that the workforce capacity restrict was needed to deliver the instances down within the brief time period.
“I think manufacturers understand, and are willing to bite the bullet to help flatten the infection numbers’ curve as much as possible, so it’s okay if in the short term, you pay full wages even though the worker might only be working half the normal time,” FMFTA’s Mr Tan stated.
But if the lockdown dragged additional, he stated, enterprise homeowners would have to prioritise their firms’ survival. Some would possibly resort to letting go of workers who can be surplus to the manpower restrict.
Mr Shamsuddin Bahardin, council secretary for the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF), stated an estimated 30 per cent of the commerce organisation’s members have been allowed to function throughout the two-week lockdown.
He added that the organisation disseminates the federal government’s SOPs to their members, together with recommendation to strictly adhere to them.
“The advisories also warned member companies that failure to follow the SOPs would result in automatic stop-work orders and strict, unappealable penalties,” he stated.
The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers does the identical as properly, its president Soh Thian Lai stated.
“Employers are required to conduct stringent health checks on their employees before they enter the factory premise for work everyday including checking their MySejahtera (contact tracing app) risk status,” he stated.
The commerce organisations referred to as for the federal government to present help to firms not allowed to function throughout the whole lockdown.
Proposed help would have included an automated mortgage moratorium for enterprise loans, together with power help for electrical and fuel utilities throughout the whole lockdown interval, Mr Soh stated.
Mr Shamsuddin listed wage subsidy, focused credit score facility for micro, small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and moratorium on penalties to varied authorities businesses as amongst measures that will ease among the stress on employers.
IMPETUS FOR AUTOMATION
The pandemic and the lockdowns are an “opportunity in a crisis” second for each the personal sector and authorities to reduce their dependence on unskilled international labour and shift to increased worth, know-how and knowledge-based manufacturing, stated Sunway University Business School economist Yeah Kim Leng.
“While the pandemic is a push factor for industrialists to adopt labour-saving technologies, the government could accelerate this structural transformation with bigger ‘carrots’ like low-cost financing and support for research and development and technology adoption,” stated.
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For Mr Tan, the textile producer, the advantages of automation are simple.
“Automation is the future, but it needs to be a holistic solution,” he stated.
He stated his firm had already begun the transition course of into automated manufacturing, however money and time are the constraints holding again different smaller ones.
The upfront prices for financing new, extra superior machines have been prohibitive for manufacturers and corporations with out deep pockets, he added.
To assist overcome the latter downside, Mr Tan urged that the international employee levies that firms had been paying to the federal government be used as a seed fund to assist SMEs pursue automation.
“We’ve been talking about automation for nearly a decade, but what was lacking then was the will,” Mr Tan stated.