Lanka Harness – Preserving Life through Precision (Precision driving safety)
Mission Towards Ensuring Zero Fatalities in Automobile Accidents
When we get into a car, we are often focused on the destination. We rarely spare a thought for security for we trust it to be equipped with the best. We trust that the vehicle has been built with the passengers’ safety in mind. To this end, some of the world’s leading vehicle brands have entrusted Lanka Harness with the responsibility of manufacturing essential safety components. This is not a trust that the company takes lightly as their only vision is “To see the day of zero fatalities caused by automobile accidents.”
A journey of excellence
Established by Dr. Rohan Pallewatte in early 2003, under the guidance of Ito Springs in Japan, the Lanka Harness company began manufacturing harnesses for vehicle sun visors and seat belts to Japan for Toyota and Mitsubishi vehicles. Within a few short years, the quality of their craft gained the attention of Takata-Tao, Japan who requested Lanka Harness to manufacture impact sensor switches for seat belts and airbags, as well as battery clamps. With their dedication to excellence, Lanka Harness quickly gained the confidence of Takata and was able to expand their supply chain to 17 distribution centres worldwide. Their clientele now stretches from Romania to SouthEast Asia, to North America and even Brazil.
Such is the precision and quality of Lanka Harness that their products can be found in many of the world’s leading car brands including Subaru, Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Volvo, SAAB, BMW, Aston Martin, Chevrolet, Opel, Renault, Aston Martin, and Volkswagen.
Whilst the Export Development Board (EDB) of Sri Lanka has been of assistance and support in innumerable measures, the value of the company has also been recognised numerous times by the Ceylon National Chamber of Industries during their Achiever Awards for Industrial and Service Excellence. The EDB has extended market development and promotional support continuously by extending global market exposure and facilitating company participation in international fairs. This, in addition to the EDB, has been instrumental in resolving procedural and policy related issues throughout Lanka Harness' journey of excellence.
An absolute promise of safety
Given the grave importance of their products to the safety of a vehicle, clients initially took their time to monitor Lanka Harness’s work. This resulted in a slow but steady progression for the company. Overtime, Lanka Harness managed to distinguish themselves by achieving minimal defect rates. Using the benchmark of 1 part to 1 million defect rates, last year the company successfully recorded only 0.13 margin of error. The manufacturer is regularly audited by international car manufacturers such as Toyota and maintains strict conformity to safety and quality guidelines. Among such are ISO 90001:2015, ISO 14001 :2015, ISO 45001: 2018. Even more impressive is that Lanka Harness recently became the first Sri Lankan automobile component manufacturer to receive the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) 16949 certification for its management system.
Lanka Harness is proud of their contribution to uplifting the economy of Sri Lanka. In 2018 they achieved a turnover of USD700 million. The Covid-19 pandemic posed many challenges to this automobile component manufacturer and its global operations. The sudden worldwide lockdown and the subsequent decline in vehicular demand had a knock-on effect on the industry and the travel restrictions affected freight transportation where certain countries banned sea freight compelling exporters to switch to air freight. The unpredictability of global trade regulations taught them to be flexible, adaptable, and resilient. The challenges continue as the fuel prices continue to hike worldwide and are creating an adverse effect on all industries.
Uncompromised commitment to quality
However, the company is optimistic and is targeting a USD 800 million turnover by 2023. To this end Lanka Harness is in the process of growing the employee cadre and expanding the floor space of their existing 5,000 sq meter factory located in the Biyagama Free Trade Zone.
Their achievement of the IATF 16949 Certificate has presented Lanka Harness the recognition to step further afield into the luxury high-end vehicle market, with the hopes of approaching brands such as Lamborghini and Bugatti in the near future. The manufacturer is also keen to expand their product portfolio as customer confidence in them grows.
The success of the company can be attributed to the dedication and hands-on approach of its founder Dr. Rohan Pallewatta, who is committed to being involved in monitoring the quality of the end products and progress of the company. He has established stringent procedures and record keeping processes to this end. He also extends his enthusiasm to building strong relationships with clients and partners, which has helped build a loyal customer base. Although the design and planning is largely carried out by the Japanese parent company, they value and trust the feedback given from this Sri Lankan manufacturer.
His work ethic is infectious and can clearly be seen in the culture of trust that pervades the organisation. To motivate their team, the company provides both financial and non-financial benefits. This appreciation of employees was clearly evident during the pandemic, when despite factory lockdowns, the company continued to pay 100% of staff salaries and bonuses. The employee welfare activities were extended to providing care packages to employees who became Covid positive. The workforce has in turn shown their gratitude by continuous loyalty which has resulted in low labour turnover. This has helped build employees' commitment to their duties and responsibilities and loyalty to the company, resulting in a more efficient and effective running of the organisation.