THE building and construction industry in the country is still going strong, but there is still much room for growth in terms of the usage of timber - certified or otherwise - in development projects, despite its natural and aesthetic benefits.
CTCS Worldwide Sdn Bhd (CWSB), for one, is looking to be a key driver paving the way for change.
The reason why its activities are important is simple: Sustainability.
A subsidiary company wholly owned by the Malaysia Timber Industry Board (MTIB), CWSB was incorporated on Jan 23,2019 to not only promote the use of certified timber, but to also include more bumiputra entrepreneurs in the building and construction industry by securing opportunities and penetrating both domestic and international markets.
The company, which started life as the fully-funded Certified Timber, Credible Supplier programme in 2013 working towards these objectives, will also be looking at project markets within the government and government-linked companies with strategic marketing, branding, design, capacity building and product quality control.
Its vision is to become a sustainable and proactive organisation by providing a competitive edge for bumiputra vendors and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to be able to offer competitive pricing, in turn becoming more credible and sustainable.
CWSB will act on behalf of SMEs, especially bumiputra entrepreneurs, in securing contracts or procurements for certified timber supply in the building and construction industry; coordinate, promote and lead such entrepreneurs in project implementations and support them in terms of product design and specifications.
Among its products and services include interior design, wardrobe and kitchen cabinets, furniture, building materials and accessories and glue-laminated timber (glulam).
CWSB’s main approach has been to gain opportunities in the interior design business with building and housing developers. With this approach, CWSB will introduce smaller bumiputra companies that specialise in designing interior spaces for homes or businesses, in order to ease the path forward for the growth of these small companies into the building and construction industry.
Most bumiputra companies that are involved in special contracts and renovation works usually excel in the carpentry of wardrobes and kitchen cabinets. Therefore, CWSB aims to promote more of these specialties into the industry by securing more contracts for such built-in products.
As it is with wardrobes and kitchen cabinets, medium-sized bumiputra companies are involved in the making of furniture and its components. With these products, CWSB will encourage bumiputra furniture makers into the direction of supplying design-based and custom-made furniture.
When it comes to building materials and accessories - including doors, door frames, floorings, window frames, roofing, rafters and other related products - there are existing bumiputra companies already producing these products, but CWSB also aims to recruit more companies into producing these products.
As for glulam, a structural engineered wood element commonly used for beams and columns in residential and commercial applications, its acceptance has increased in the industry, especially in buildings and housing projects, which is why CWSB sees this as an opportunity to expose more bumiputra entrepreneurs into producing related products into the industry. As a result, this will create a more diversified group of bumiputra entrepreneurs.
Among the initiatives that CWSB has embarked on recently is wood carving-related products produced by bumiputra makers, which are being repackaged and promoted as a collection or as a series that can be showcased and presented as high-end art-deco products.
Currently, CWSB is working with wood carvers from Temerloh and Langkawi to bring their works into the mainstream market.
Another initiative that CWSB is working on is retailing timber-related products via online platforms. These products include smaller items produced by bumiputra entrepreneurs with limited resources in promoting or packaging their products, by also grouping and selling them as a whole set or series.
Moreover, CWSB has been engaging with bumiputra entrepreneurs in producing timber-based industrialised building system systems for small and affordable houses. Discussions between CWSB, entrepreneurs and stakeholders have commenced since the beginning of 2020.
Although still in its planning phase, CWSB envisions this to be a good focus in research and development (R&D) activities, as well as a new focus in increasing bumiputra participation in the timber-based industry
A more ambitious initiative that CWSB has taken on is the timber-based supply-chain ecosystem set-up, which is currently being planned and discussed between CWSB and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, together with a number of industry players.
This initiative is aimed at directly assisting bumiputra entrepreneurs in having a more established and drawn ecosystem, so that they can benefit from a well-equipped design centre for R&D purposes; a factory for small-scale production; warehousing and logistics facilities, as well as a marketing and promotions centre.