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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Monday, May 22, 2006

Perseverance pays for young engineer

Daily News: 09/05/2006" By Ramani Kangaraarachchi

Success: The Electro Metal Pressings Private Ltd located in the Templeburge Industrial Estate in Panagoda led by its Chairman Chandanandana Diyunuge with a workforce of 125, works like a beehive from dawn to dusk.

Diyunuge has proved himself a very successful businessman through his engineering capabilities and he has set an example to Sri Lankan engineers by raising an investment within a short period to reach Rs. 400 million which sparked off from an initial investment of Rs. 20 million.

An old boy St Thomas' College, Matara, Diyunuge graduated from the Moratuwa University in 1998 and worked in several companies for four years to receive practical experience in the field.

"To my dismay I was not treated to my satisfaction in any of those places and this situation gave me lot of courage to start a business of my own and today I have made it a point to treat my people properly identifying their talents" he said.

It was in the year 2003 that Diyunuge started his company. He purchased a small factory at Panagoda in the present place which was engaged in manufacturing electrical light fittings from 1982 but by the time he purchased the business, it was not performing well.

However after the purchase he did a comprehensive study and drew a constructive plan which expanded it to the present standard.

Recollecting the beginning of his business he said " My university colleague Engineer Suresh Kumara joined me as my Managing Director.

We started only with 10 employees to manufacture high quality products using our expertise for the local market recognising and understanding customer needs with commitment and gradually could enter the export market. .

"Today the company has employed 125 people including 10 engineers and several other professionals. The company's annual export turnover is 2.2 million US dollars. I am confident that it will increase to four million US dollars by next year because we have invested on a large scale to introduce modern machinery and technology."

"We can increase the production by 20 times to meet the demand when we get the new machinery reinforcing us to be able to compete with the Rital brand in the global market. There will be more job opportunities and more accommodation is sought to expand the business with the expansion and new buildings that are coming up," he said.

EMP products are exported to India ,Zambia and Maldives at present. More than ten electrical engineering items required for local companies such as the CEB, Holcim and the plantation sector. It is the No. 1 local manufacturer with 45 per cent market share out of which 70 per cent local and 30 per cent export market.

India has become the biggest market for their panel boards as there is a construction boom. Asked about the challenges he has faced so far, Diyunuge said one bank has let the company down very badly at the beginning but another bank came forward to help them. Other than that there is a huge skilled and unskilled labour problem."

"We have continuous 'in house training programmes' for workers to educate them on technical know how. Another problem is that we have not been given BOI facilities although we are in the Industrial zone.

As a manufacturing company we support the country by saving foreign exchange that drained to other countries to import the same items earlier and providing employment and tailor made services to the people are our crowning achievements. But it is very unfair, that we have to pay duty at the Customs for export orders and for imported raw materials and components., Diyunage said.

The company is proud of its achievements during a short period. The secret behind his success is hard work and manufacturing only good quality products.

Diyunage's advice to the younger generation is to work hard without giving priority to too many holidays.

The company is also engaged in mini hydro projects and cable management systems.

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