Under TRTA-II a benchmarking study on Cutlery & Knives Sector was completed, providing a brief sector competitive analysis. This sector is located in the Wazirabad region of Punjab. The report has been produced from findings and insights made during several visits to various companies using the Competitiveness Benchmarking System along with inputs from International and local experts. The sector comprises over 400 SMEs providing livelihood to more than 12,000 people with an export figure of over US$ 80 Million.
In view of benchmarking study the major impediments of the sector were identified as low levels of productivity, inadequate technology upgradation, poor performance management systems and shortage of skilled staff and labour. The sector, indeed, is facing acute labour shortage in grinding and polishing sections. Major reason has been health hazard environment leading to fatal diseases like lung cancer. The new generation is unlikely to adopt the work of their parents (grinding and polishing) and also workers are not in favor to engage their siblings into the unhealthy working environment with stagnant opportunities of growth. The polishing stage is the longest, requires the most number of workers, inefficient, environmentally harmful especially to workers’ health and causes the maximum number of injuries at the work place (health and safety).
In view of the above, TRTA II programme selected four cutlery manufacturing units on cost sharing basis to implement the technology upgradation intervention in their cutlery polishing sections. The beneficiary units have built new production halls or refurbished the existing ones to accommodate installation of polishing machines They have complied with the recommendations made by TRTA experts in terms of redesigning layouts to rearrange their equipment and machinery in order to maximize the efficiency and reduction of wastages due to non-value added activities like, travelling, work in process, workers’ sitting positions, etc. These activities took a substantial effort and cost on part of the companies.
Major benefits envisaged as a result of this technology upgradation are:
- Improve working environment in the polishing sections and attract new labour force into the cutlery & knives sector.
- Almost 6 times increase in production capacities of the cutlery units along with uniform product quality enabling them to carry out greater number of production orders thereby leading to more employment generation.
- Indigenize the cutlery polishing technology for the cutlery & knives sector.
A four member team of the Chinese supplier during the month of February, 2016, installed, commissioned and trained the personnel of model units on the new cutlery polishing machines. Pakistan Cutlery Association has been apprised on the new technology through the meetings with the Chinese engineers and through the demonstration sessions held at cutlery beneficiary units.
This is encouraging that Pakistan Cutlery Association (PCSUMEA) has developed a PC-1 through TUSDEC following the model of TRTA II programme to upgrade the technology in other cutlery manufacturing units of the sector making this intervention sustainable and impactful.