AMONG the busy production floors at its base in Hulu Langat, Selangor, sits Proguard Tecnologies (M) Sdn Bhd’s lab. Chief operation officer Datuk Lee Ngai Mun calls this “the heart of the company”.
Proguard has invested heavily, about RM2mil, in machinery, tools and manpower to ensure that its lab is in tiptop condition.
“We have six quality assurance staff. We run the lab 24-hours. If our machines need to be upgraded, we will spend the money,” he says.
Over the last two years, the company has spent about 10% of its turnover on its research and development efforts to ensure that it moves faster than its competitors.
As Lee manoeuvres through the lab, he points out the various machines in the lab, noting their price tags and function. From cold chambers and ovens to test the durability of its helmets under extreme weather conditions to UV testing machines, none of these come cheap. He rattles off “RM220,000” for this and “RM280,000” for that.
Maintenance does not come cheap too.
“The UV testing machine, we only test two to three times a year. The lamp can only be used five times. Each time, we test it for 14 days. Each bulb is RM1,200,” he says.
But the company is willing to spend if need be because he believes there is a need to keep improving on its products and processes to upgrade its quality. Additionally, he opines that “cheap things are not good and good things are not cheap”.
“We recently upgraded our mould department, we brought in two more machines. We spent about RM600,000. We also brought in two extra injection machines last month,” he shares.
Lee is clearly passionate about product development and automation.
“We are also using robot arms in our production. One robot arm is RM60,000!
“But automation has helped increase our efficiency by 20%. Last time, our people have to sit and take out the helmets from the machine and do everything. Now, the robot arm will take out helmets and move them to the assembly line,” he says with a hearty laugh.
Proguard will continue to look into other technologies which it can incorporate into its manufacturing line to increase productivity as it races to cope with growing demand.
This is an investment that Lee deems as necessary and does not stinge on. — By Joy Lee
Wearing a hat of the right size