Japanese Technology - Highest Service Standards - Quality Centred Productivity
Mr. Chinthaka Nugegodage, the General Manager of Okaya Lanka, speaks with the patient knowledge of a seasoned professional. He represents one of the oldest electronics manufacturers in the world, and currently spearheads their Sri Lankan operation.
Okaya Lanka (Pvt) Ltd was incorporated in the year 2008 and is fully owned by the Japanese electrical manufacturing giant, Okaya Electrical Industries. Okaya Lanka produces an integral part in everyday electronics; capacitors and inductors for noise reduction and suppression. While the higher technology focused operations and the R&D is carried out in Japan, Sri Lanka now manufactures the components that were once produced in China.
Starting with 200-300 employees, in a factory building acquired in the Katunayake Zone, Okaya Lanka grew to employ more than 1400 employees by 2016, a 24-hour work cycle and a turnover of USD 1.5 Million per month. In their continuous quest to increase productivity and efficiency, and to reduce dependency on human labour, the organisation took strategic steps to automate many of its functions, without dismissing any of its employees. However, the increased demand for electronics such as PCs, Laptops, Monitors and ACs during and after the pandemic, resulted in an increased demand for electronic components such as those manufactured by Okaya Lanka. This required the organisation to increase the carder by an additional 150 employees a month bringing the total up to 843 today. The mode of operations at Okaya has also been reset, enabling employees to enjoy two holidays a week along with 4 hours of daily overtime payments increasing their daily income, a move that has benefited the staff immensely.
Harnessing the talent
In addition to the monetary benefits, Okaya Lanka provides its employees with regular transport facilities and despite being expected to provide only a single meal as regulated by the BOI, Okaya Lanka has taken steps to provide all three meals without charging the employees. The accommodation facilities maintained by Okaya Lanka, houses 50% of the employee population, most of whom are from remote areas of the country. Mr.Nugegodage states that Sri Lanka has a huge talent pool of youth, for whom plenty of opportunities are available in the zones itself. Many of the young men who are employed at Okaya Lanka are NVQ trained technicians who have graduated from the Vocational Training Authority (VTA). In addition to the regular employees, Okaya Lanka also has created an opportunity for a special group of individuals to be a part of this million-dollar venture. Currently, disabled veterans at the Sri Lanka Signal Corps Unit based in Panagoda have been engaged in the manufacturing process of Induction coils for Okaya Lanka, which Mr.Nugegodage believes benefits both the organisation and the individuals involved.
Mr. Nugegodage mentioned the various support measures the EDB had extended over the years including invitations to participate in trade fairs and exhibitions and appreciated their efforts. He specifically mentioned one instance where the EDB certification helped in procuring Diesel fuel for the Generators by paying in USD ensuring the continued operations of the plant – a support that has always been available whenever we needed it.
Okaya lanka prides itself on the standards or quality and the service delivery of its operation. Inspired by the Japanese philosophy on industrial operations, Okaya Lanka has bound itself to a quality centred, precision and productivity driven operation. As a result, the organisation conforms to many international standards such as UL (C+US), CSA, VDE, CQC, KTC, NEMKO, SEMKO, DEMKO, FIMKO, SEV, ENEC 10 and ENEC 14 that allows Okaya Lanka to conduct business with a wide array of countries around the globe. Mr. Nugegodage also believes that Sri Lanka has much more potential as an exporter, if many of the local suppliers conformed to these, such as ROHS standards which is a requirement for all products such as packing material, stationary that come in contact with the main export product. The absence of such standards in local suppliers compels the exporters to import these non-core products when readying the core product for exporting.