May Day Awards 2018: Plaque of Commendation (Gold). MTQ Engineering is led by the belief that investing in its staff will always be key to overcoming challenges.
The marine industry is still struggling to recover from the slump caused by declining oil prices. MTQ Engineering, a solution provider for oilfield equipment and drilling contractor companies, has not been spared either.
Believing that its staff is the key to overcoming the challenges, they have been investing in them in various ways.
Redesigning Jobs for Mature Workers
MTQ had practiced re-employing its workers up to the age of 67 and beyond, long before the re-employment age was increased.
Managing Director Vincent Tan explained: “Being an older company, making best use of experienced manpower is a necessity and an advantage. Matured workers have the benefit of years of practical knowledge and experience which help to minimise errors and ensure a smooth operational flow.”
Established in 1969, MTQ has many employees that have stayed on in the company for more than 30 years.
To help older workers reduce mistakes, MTQ recently tapped on WorkPro’s Job Redesign Grant to implement drafting softwares that enable them to visualise the jobs’ specifications through 3D drawings.
In a bid to raise the productivity of its workers, MTQ utilised the Inclusive Growth Programme by NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) in 2012 to convert the traditional hand-welding process into a machine handling process. Once the Automated Welding Machine is programmed, minimal supervision will be needed.
MTQ also sent management representatives for the Operations Management and Innovation programme by Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) and Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in 2014. The methodology that was taught helped employees to review operations, identify issues and make improvements.
Working with SIMTech in 2015, MTQ implemented a Job Management System, which made use of code scanners to track job progress instead of manual sign offs, bringing greater accountability and accuracy. It benefited about 80 per cent of its 95 employees.
“The industry outlook is still very tough but improving… with the investment in training and processes, we will be well-placed to benefit from the industry’s recovery,” said Vincent.
Beyond adopting technologies and upskilling its workers, MTQ showed empathy during the rough patch in the industry when companies were cutting back on remuneration.
After hearing the ground sentiments from the Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Employees’ Union in 2015, MTQ agreed to give a nominal wage increase for rank-and-file workers and pay an annual wage supplement.