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Revolutionizing Sri Lankan Businesses with IT Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Yasas Vishuddhi Abeywickrama, Australia Jan 19, 2004
Technology   Opinions
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Information Technology (IT) is becoming an essential in businesses now. The most successful companies in world have excellent computer systems, which is in fact the driving force behind their success. If Sri Lankan businesses are to compete with these global giants, they definitely need to have there IT system in place. This article discusses the way that Sri Lanka can go forward in businesses by using IT systems.

Sri Lankan business sector can be viewed in many categories. The Manufacturing sector still is a major part of it. This would be as it is in few years to come as well, which is an important factor to be considered in making IT a more usable thing in Sri Lankan business arena.

With lot of Sri Lankan youth taking in to IT, IT as a business in Sri Lanka should have a good future. It is obvious that countries like Sri Lanka can exploit the markets in US and Europe, which is already done by few companies. But it is definitely not enough. Considering the low labor cost, gain on time difference and the skilled youth we have, there is no reason we cannot go to the extent of Indian IT industry. This would have lot of advantages to the country. Government and private sector universities put out lot of IT graduates, to whom we should provide jobs. Sri Lankan youth are very skillful, which we should turn to our advantage. Most importantly, if we aim for the US/Europe market, we are going to get paid at the highest price for software developed at lowest cost!

Moving away from IT as a business itself, IT also can be used as great tool for our businesses in order to face the prevailing competitive global business situations. Under the manufacturing arena, the garment sector is the in the forefront in Sri Lankan economy.

To gain economies of scale, it is always good for companies to have a chain of garment factories, which we already see in Sri Lanka. Having a good IT network between them would give us various advantages. Minimizing wastage, planning human resource effectively and efficiently, minimizing stocks and thereby minimizing stock holding cost, communicating better with global customers and better planning with data available for forecasting are few that should be mentioned.

Pak Tak Knitting & Garment Factory Ltd in Hong Kong is an old garment business but it has implemented computer systems which has helped them to fight strongly in the market. John Cheng Kai Chun, Assistant Managing Director of Pak Tak, says, “More and more overseas clients are asking to use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) as a means to place their orders, which has made us realize that we need to follow the market trend and go in this direction. Therefore, starting in 1999, we implemented a full computerization programme for the company's entire business operation and used IT more in various business processes. We are also building a company website with a view to leveraging the Internet for business development."
Some systems that are applicable to the garment industry are,

•Sewing Room Automation System - UPS
•Sewing Room Real-time Control System
•Marking Room Automation System (CAD)
•Cutting Room Automation System (CAM)
•Garment/Textile Management Information Software/System (MIS)
•Factory Cleaning System

Computer Aided Designing (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) are applicable to business, which make production effective and efficient which ultimately would pay-off with above normal profits. These are implemented and used by best manufacturing companies around the world with the Japanese leading the way. Efficiency that the manufacturing sector could achieve with good computerized systems is immense.

In order to implement good Japanese systems such as Just-In-Time (JIT) and Total Quality Management (TQM), sound information systems are essential. Implementation of these would lead to several advantages, which it self would create competitive advantages for companies.

Tea is an area where our country does really well. Being a small country, we have a large market share in the global tea market. Ceylon tea, from Sri Lanka, is acclaimed as the best tea in the world and has inherent unique characteristics and reputations running through more than a century. Sri Lanka as the third biggest tea producing country globally, has a production share of 9% in the international sphere, and one of the world's leading exporters with a share of around 19% of the global demand. The total extent of land under tea cultivation has been assessed at approximately 187,309 hectares. Have we come to the highest level of achievement in Tea? The answer definitely is no. There might be various aspects that should be discussed in the light of this. But we should discuss this from an IT view point. Having a global network would be great to handle orders and get in to new customers. If big companies can come in to the field and have global networks for this purpose, the tea industry is going to get further ahead. Computerizing tea factories is not a reality as for now, but it would give advantages such as the things that came up in the case of Garments. Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) would give Sri Lanka the competitive advantage in Tea industry. Some systems are already being implemented to automate the plantations industry. One good example is ‘Harvest’ Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system developed by Microsoft. It is a total ERP solution for plantations such as tea, coffee, rubber, oil palm, cardamom, pepper, orchids, vineyards, horticulture and floriculture. Some achievements by using the system are,

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Sudharsun R | Feb 18th, 2004
first of all the government should be stable and we should have proper copyrights laws well implemented. this would created a secured envoirment for the businesses. we can't compete with india with the current trend of computer education. And the big companies here need to employ persons who are talented and not by influences. There are many other things needs to be corrected.

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