The latest population statistics reveal that India ranks second, globally, in terms of the availability of skilled manpower. But a detailed analysis indicates that handling modern equipment is not yet India’s strong point. Surface mount technology (SMT) is one such crucial sector where India lags behind. In order to address this drawback, Kang Young Bong, managing director of YB Techsolutions Pvt Ltd, explains to Baishakhi Dutta of the Electronicsforu.com Network how the company has planned to hold SMT training courses and workshops. This can enable businesses to develop the skilled workforce they need. Excerpts follow…
EB: How is the lack of skilled manpower affecting Indian industry?
Lack of skilled manpower is a serious challenge for Indian manufacturers. While India strives to Make in India, increasing labour wages are threatening to erode India’s competitive advantage in producing goods and services at low cost. Foreign investors are shifting from China to India due to high salaries in China. If the situation is the same in India, it will be difficult to survive here too.
I have done a process review (audit) of more than 15 companies and have discovered that the SMT skills are poor. The only solution I can see to correct this situation is to conduct training programmes to upgrade the skills of the SMT workforce, and provide process consulting to correct procedures at the manufacturing plants.
EB: Do explain your firm’s business model.
Currently, we are providing SMT consulting services to product manufacturing companies that have SMT lines. Through the consulting programme, we aim to improve the productivity, quality and the process of these lines. So, whatever training is required for the workforce to improve productivity and quality, we provide that. Apart from providing consulting solutions, we also offer SMT training services.
EB: What benefits can companies expect from this consulting service?
First, we do the process review of the existing SMT line to check its current status. Then we target certain productivity improvements (like increasing capacity), quality improvements (in PPM), machine maintenance training and manpower skilling-up. After making this plan, we give a proposal to the company. Basically, our entire SMT consulting and training programme is for a period of one year (this is if our client wants to achieve the first target of improving productivity). Otherwise, we decide on the length of the training period depending on the customer’s requirement.
EB: Who are your current customers?
Right now, we are providing yearly consulting to two companies for SMT process improvement and skilling-up manpower. Here, we have achieved single digit quality PPM (parts per million) and productivity has improved by more than 30 per cent. We have done process review audits for more than 15 companies all over India.
EB: What is the payment structure for this service?
The two companies that we are currently dealing with have an annual contract with us. We do not follow any fixed monetary structure, as such.
However, we follow a prepayment method which takes place on a monthly basis.
If the conditions at the plant are really bad, we need to visit that company more. Once we get a grip on the situation, we slowly decrease the number of our visits. However, the entire monetary structure depends on the situation at a company’s manufacturing floor.
EB: Do you opt for annual contracts only or do you have a flexible model?
It depends on the company, and for how long they want our service. We prepare the contract accordingly.
EB: Do you provide SMT training too? How does that work?
We are planning to open a training centre. The Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA), along with MeitY, is coming up with an MCCIA Electronic Cluster Foundation (MECF). The cluster will be in Pune and should be ready by next year, i.e., 2020. We are a part of that foundation, and will set up a training centre in the cluster to provide SMT training.
YB Techsolutions will decide on the curriculum, trainers and all the necessary details pertaining to the SMT training. Apart from the centre at Pune, we are looking for investors to set up SMT training centres elsewhere too.
EB: Are there any criteria set for those who want to apply for the training course?
Companies or individuals can directly get in touch with MECF when the training centre opens, to check if they match the entry criteria.
EB: What will be the duration of these training programmes?
We have prepared qualification packs for the technician level and the engineer level.
For the technician level, individuals will be trained to operate all sorts of machines in an SMT line. This is a 100-hour training programme during which we will teach participants how to operate the machinery, i.e., from loader to unloader.
However, at the engineer level, we will train participants on how to operate and manage all the machines in an SMT line. The training for the engineer level will be over a period of 200 hours.
EB: Will certificates be offered after completing the training?
Yes, certification will be provided by the Electronics Sector Skill Council of India (ESSCI) on successfully completing the training.
EB: Are you tying up with companies only? Or can individuals approach you too?
Once we open the training centre, we would be first looking at individuals to apply for the training. Going forward, we will open up our facilities to organisations also.
EB: Are you the only player in this domain, with such an offering? Or are there others too?
At present, there are training companies in India that provide such training. However, the difference is that such trainers provide only single machine training. We are the only trainers who will be providing training that covers the complete SMT line. In that aspect, we do not have any competitors as of now.
EB: Do you think SMT training can be made a part of the college and university curriculum?
Yes, definitely. Korea also has SMT training in the college curriculum.
In fact, once our training facility gets ready, we intend to tie up with various colleges and universities first. We strongly believe that such training should be imparted at the academic level only, so that once these students are out there in the job market, every organisation gets an opportunity to take skilled manpower on board. Once we hit this market, then we will be tying up with the industry. So, our priority is definitely academic institutions first.