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Kingslake prop to GRI’s next growth phase

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Effort to grow rubber exports fourfold by 2024

Global Rubber Industries (Pvt) Ltd. (GRI) has partnered with Kingslake, the manufacturing solutions experts, to lay the foundation for its next phase of growth. By leveraging Kingslake’s Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) solutions, the country’s leading manufacturer of specialized tires hopes to make a significant contribution to the rubber industry, a key export of the country.

For the past 150 years, Sri Lanka has been one of the world’s most sought-after primary sources for natural rubber and rubber-based products, having contributed $1 billion to the country’s export revenue in 2018 alone. With a revenue target of $4.4 billion set for 2024, all eyes are on specialist companies such as GRI to bolster their own production, advanced planning, and scheduling capabilities so as to stay on par with global players.

Additionally, as a member organization of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (SLEDB), GRI’s move to partner with Kingslake will help the local export economy stay competitive as a result.

With Siemens Opcenter APS, GRI will have decision-making support for overtime, order prioritization, split production batches, due date negotiation, and order processing clarity. With the new solution, the company will also have complete visibility and control to support better scheduling decisions.

More specifically, GRI will be able to make better and more strategic its Bill of Materials (BOM) level Planning, Make to Order (MTO) Planning, and Make to Stock (MTS) Planning; all of which are critical to a tangible enhancement of existing manufacturing processes.

“Work order modifications, time overruns, and material availability issues frequently disrupt the production schedule. GRI is looking to solve these challenges by seamlessly connecting our planners to the shop floor, enabling capacity-based production plans, and real-time schedule changes with Kingslake’s experience and scheduling APS software,” said Ananda Caldera, Executive Director of Global Rubber Industries (Pvt) Ltd.

“We have entrusted Kingslake’s interactive and multi-constraint scheduling APS software expertise to fortify and further digitize our operations,” said GRI’s Chief Information Officer, Tharaka De Alwis. “The availability of resources and additional constraints such as tooling and materials, needs to be taken into consideration during scheduling to ensure an accurate model of our environment. This is of vital importance given the aggressive investments we are making, and our vision to position Sri Lanka and GRI as a tire manufacturing hub.”

“Digitalization is changing everything, and manufacturers must be able react quickly and intelligently to unexpected changes, while also being able to respond to shorter lead times and satisfy customer demands,” said Duleep Fernando, CEO of Kingslake. “Through this partnership with Kingslake, GRI will be able to sequence production orders faster, make production planning more accurate, improve production master plans, and enhance inter-departmental and inter-factory communication.”

“Our systems have added immense value to the processes of a range of manufacturing companies, and subsequently their sectors which include tea, furniture, rubber-based products, complex electronics, fashion, gloves, packaging, plastics, molds, tools, electrical devices and glass,” he added. “We are certain that our digital solutions and expertise will reap greater dividends for GRI, and for Sri Lanka’s rubber export industry as a whole.”

Since its inception in 1994, Kingslake has focused on providing software to help mid-sized manufacturing companies grow. The company delivers state-of-the-art solutions built with a mix of best-of-breed ERP systems, specialized software solutions, and experienced dynamic consultants. Today Kingslake continues to build and deliver fit-for-purpose software that enables manufacturers to increase the visibility of their operations, be it customer service, inventory management, planning, procurement, manufacturing, engineering, HR, transport, or finance.

GRI was founded in 2002 and has expanded its business globally by taking high-grade Sri Lankan specialty tires to the world. The company produces radial agriculture tires, construction tires and material handling solid tires using locally produced natural rubber. GRI has sales offices and warehouses in nine countries, and a business presence in more than 50 countries.

In 2018, GRI opened an advanced manufacturing plant in Sri Lanka primarily to produce radial agricultural tires. In 2020, GRI also commenced construction of a new mixing facility in the Mirigama Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) in Sri Lanka and in 2021 laid the foundation to expand its advanced specialty tire plant.

 

 



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NCE highlights costs of Customs officers’ trade union action

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‘The recent actions taken by the Sri Lanka Customs Officers Union, including a two-day sick leave campaign and work-to-rule initiatives, have had profound implications across Sri Lanka’s business community, particularly affecting exporters and importers. These actions were initiated due to perceived grievances and unmet demands from the Customs Officers Union on various issues, the National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) is quoted as saying in a press release.

The release adds: ‘Jayantha Karunaratne, president of the National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka highlighted the significant disruptions caused by these actions. He emphasized that the work-to-rule approach has resulted in substantial delays in clearing imported goods at ports and checkpoints, causing disruptions in production schedules and logistical operations. These delays have particularly impacted exporters, who face stringent deadlines to fulfill international orders, leading to strained relationships with overseas buyers and potential financial penalties for missed deliveries.

‘Additionally, these disruptions have imposed additional costs on businesses. Importers have incurred demurrage charges due to extended delays in clearing shipments, impacting profitability and operational efficiency. For exporters handling perishable goods like seafood and fresh produce, delays have posed substantial challenges, sometimes resulting in significant financial losses and resource wastage from spoiled goods.

‘The NCE underscored Customs’ critical role in facilitating trade and economic activity in Sri Lanka, stressing that efficient and predictable Customs processes are crucial for maintaining the competitiveness of Sri Lankan businesses globally. Given that exports are pivotal to Sri Lanka’s economy, disruptions to Customs operations can have far-reaching impacts on economic growth, employment, and overall national prosperity.

‘Expressing serious concern about potential escalations, the NCE warned that prolonged strikes or ongoing disruptions could further destabilize business confidence and investor sentiment. They urged swift and constructive dialogue between the Customs Officers’ Union and relevant authorities to address grievances and find mutually beneficial solutions. Restoring normalcy and reliability to Customs operations, they emphasized, is imperative to support the resilience and growth of Sri Lanka’s export sector amid challenging global economic conditions.

‘In addition to operational disruptions, exporters are increasingly voicing frustration and concerns about Sri Lanka’s future business environment. Many are contemplating relocating operations to countries offering more stable and predictable trade conditions. This potential exodus poses significant economic risks, including job losses, reduced export revenues, and diminished investor confidence.

‘Shiham Marikar, Secretary General/CEO of NCE, stressed the urgent need for Sri Lanka to address these challenges promptly to retain and attract businesses. He emphasized the importance of creating a supportive environment for exporters characterized by efficient Customs processes, regulatory stability, and supportive government policies. Such an environment is crucial for retaining existing exporters and attracting new investments, thereby fostering economic growth and enhancing competitiveness in global markets.

‘Highlighting the competitive nature of the global economy, the NCE emphasized the necessity for Sri Lanka to maintain a reliable and efficient trade infrastructure to remain competitive internationally. Addressing exporter concerns and ensuring a stable business environment should be a top priority for policymakers and stakeholders alike.

‘It is crucial for the government to take swift action to prevent recurring disruptions caused by the Customs Officers’ Union. The recent disruptions have disproportionately affected Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which are the backbone of Sri Lanka’s economy. SMEs, operating with smaller margins and less flexibility, are particularly vulnerable to delays and uncertainties in trade operations.

‘These disruptions not only impact daily SME operations but also undermine their competitiveness in domestic and international markets. Many SMEs rely heavily on timely imports and efficient exports to sustain operations, making disruptions detrimental to their growth and viability. Prolonged instability in trade operations risks SMEs relocating or downsizing operations in Sri Lanka, posing significant threats to employment, economic growth, and overall stability.

‘The NCE urged the government to implement robust measures to prevent future disruptions, including constructive dialogue with Customs officers and reforms enhancing Customs efficiency and predictability. Creating a stable and supportive business environment is crucial for protecting SMEs and fostering their growth, thereby contributing to Sri Lanka’s economic resilience and prosperity’.

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Elevating customer experiences, Sampath Bank partners with Royal Colombo Golf Club

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The team from Royal Colombo Golf Club, including Amrith De Soysa – Captain, Gehan Siribaddanan – Vice Captain, Ms. Geera Gajamugan – Director of Administration and Shiran D. Rahuman – Manager of Marketing & Membership Services, stands on the left. De Soysa is seen receiving the main sponsorship from Ms, Ayodhya Iddawela – Managing Director of Sampath Bank PLC, surrounded by Tharaka Ranwala, SDGM – Marketing, Customer Care and Card Centre, Pujitha Rajapaksa, Chief Manager – Marketing and Shantha Kalawitigoda, Manager – Events & Activations.

Sampath Bank is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the prestigious July Monthly Medal Event at the Royal Colombo Golf Club (RCGC), scheduled for the 12th and 13th of July 2024. The sponsorship was formalised during a cheque-handing ceremony on the 10th of July, marking a significant collaboration between Sampath Bank and the RCGC.

The July Monthly Medal Event is a highlight on the golfing calendar, attracting over 300 golfers from across the country. The event will be held over two days, culminating in an award ceremony on the second day. Sampath Bank’s involvement acknowledges its commitment to fostering customer satisfaction and providing exceptional experiences for its valued customers.

Participants in the event will enjoy a variety of activities, including a golf practice session with coaching, the main golf tournament, and an exclusive Cheese & Wine evening on the first day for Sampath Bank customers. Following the two-day tournament, there will be a grand award ceremony and a cocktail event to honour the winners. This initiative not only promotes golf but also provides a unique platform for high-net-worth individuals to engage in a distinguished social setting.

Commenting on the sponsorship, Tharaka Ranwala, Senior Deputy General Manager Marketing, Customer Care & Card Centre, said, “Sampath Bank has always been a strong supporter of all sports, though golf has traditionally been less highlighted, despite its popularity among elite and high-net-worth customers within the banking industry. Sponsoring this event aligns perfectly with our new vision and strategy, which emphasises a greater focus on corporate customers and high-net-worth individuals. Although this is our first partnership with the Royal Colombo Golf Club, we bring extensive experience from our previous collaborations with the Tamil Golf Association’s events in the UK and Canada.”

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Asiri Hospitals and NITF sign landmark agreement to provide tangible healthcare benefits for all Agrahara members

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Asiri Group of Hospitals, trusted for high standards in patient-centered care has signed a landmark agreement with the National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF), to provide comprehensive concessions to all government employees through the Agrahara Medical Insurance scheme.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Dr. Manjula Karunaratne, Director/Group CEO of Asiri Hospitals, and Gamani N. Liyanarachchi, CEO of NITF, during a ceremony held recently.

The event was attended by several distinguished participants from both organizations. Representing NITF were Sagala Abhayawickrama, Chairperson, Samil Thushara, AGM Operations, Nimali Pathirana, AGM Insurance, Prathibha Welikanna, Asst. Manager Legal, Nuwan Dissanayake, Asst. Manager Marketing, Dammika Weerakoon, Acting AGM Finance.

Asiri Hospitals was represented by Nihal Ratnayake, Director Operations Asiri Central Hospital, Indresh Fernando, Chief Process Officer, Bhathiya Jayasinghe, Group Head, Business Development, Dhananjaya Bandara Dela, Head of Business Development, Government Sector.

The enduring partnership aims to offer tangible healthcare benefits and the renowned comprehensive healthcare services offered by Asiri Hospitals to all NITF Agrahara members. It marks a major milestone in Asiri Hospitals’ commitment to build long-term collaborations that benefits the community. It also reaffirms Asiri Hospitals’ position as a trusted healthcare provider ensuring healthcare is more accessible, affordable, while uplifting the living standards of the public service.

Importantly, Agrahara members are eligible to seek treatment from any hospital in the Asiri group or its laboratories. The agreement also introduces a cashless admission scheme for NITF members, simplifying the process and enabling seamless access to Asiri Hospitals’ services without the need for upfront payments. Members can benefit from waived admission fees, reducing the financial burden for those seeking medical care. Room rates are also heavily discounted.

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