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MALAYSIAN STRUCTURAL STEEL ASSOCIATION

Oasis Square
C-11-3A, Block C
No. 2, Jalan PJU 1A/7A
Ara Damansara, PJU 1A
47301 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan

Tel: (03) 7734 3377/ 3737
Fax: (03) 7734 3411

email:

New Outlook

COMING OUT OF THE SHADOWS


In April 2009 the Association held a workshop and the result was a plan of action drawn up by a Management Consultant to revitalise the Association, to emphasis its role in promoting the use of steel, and to underline the need for the Association to evolve into a new entity to reflect this enhanced and expanded role. This article is a brief review of that Business Plan.

The basic premise of the business plan is that the MSSA is the only platform with which the constructional steel group should be associated and that the Association should take a leadership role in translating knowledge into business opportunities. Further, it was felt that the Association should not limit itself to just structural steel but widen its role to constructional steel instead.

The workshop also developed a Vision for the association:


The MSSA VISION


“The Malaysian Structural Steel Association shall be the hub for the exchange of knowledge and opportunities to propagate the sustainable growth of steel construction.”

As Council member Y. Bhg. Datuk Ir. Dr. Ahmad Fikri Hussein (Kompakar Inc. Bhd) said, “To have immediate impact, let us look at the low hanging fruits”. Some things can be done now and some things need careful planning. To meet its long term vision, the Association will undertake Mission Elements to be realised by Strategic Imperatives implemented by eight Strategies and activities as outlined below:

1. To translate knowledge into opportunities: – MSSA will collaborate with the Construction Industry Research Institute of Malaysia (CREAM) and other research centres such as Universities to identify suitable areas for Research and Development (R&D) and to set up Seismic Technology Centres to translate research into potential business opportunities. Ir. Elias Ismail (Technology & Construction Innovation Development Division CIDB) reinforces this idea when he says “We have funds for research, studies – we can work together with universities to help the construction industry.” Further, a panel of consultants and experts will be engaged for members to consult.
2. To enhance the promotion of steel: – Steel is currently not the preferred option due to its price. The Association will promote steel more aggressively to government, consultants, developers and undergraduate who are seen as the second echelon of potential steel users. Amna A. Emir (Neuformation Architects Sdn Bhd) opined that “Steel should not be seen as having aesthetic value alone but as a new technology with economic, environment and social sustainability”.

To do this, road shows, exhibitions, newsletters and site visits will be used to promote steel, including conducting studies and participating in government dialogues to justify and showcase the use of steel to change policies and attitudes towards steel.

The report mentions that the Industrialised Building System (IBS) is a way that the MSSA could promote steel in a big way and that the MSSA should work with the CIDB to integrate steel with the IBS.
3. To accelerate capacity building: – This element is aimed at developing the talents, and capability of Malaysians in the steel industry by training and exposing them to new and improved ways of designing using steel. In line with this, “JKR can help the steel industry on policy if you can develop modules for schools”, commented Y. Bhg. Dato’ Sri Prof. Ir. Dr. Judin Hj. Abd. Karim (Jabatan Kerja Raya Malaysia). In addition, capacity building will help members gain exposure to soft skills including negotiation skills and understanding foreign cultures and ways of doing business to help in acquisitions, mergers and setting up of consortia.

Another comment stated that “MSSA’s interaction with fabricators will be an excellent idea – we need to see how we can work to produce skilled labour, gain tax exemption for foreign projects and on-the-job training for fresh graduates”, said Mr. Khor Boon Leong (Kencana Torsco Sdn Bhd).

As part of this process, MSSA will continue to conduct short courses and outreach programmes to reach members and potential members outside the Klang Valley with the support of government grants from MIDA. Prof. Dr. Azlan Adnan (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, UTM) commented that “MSSA must look into the marketing strategy of our courses”, which is certainly something that the MSSA could consider.

In collaboration with affiliates, one-day specialist seminars will be conducted and foreign speakers invited to focus on new technologies. There is also the possibility of organizing excellence awards to promote accreditation and recognition of companies and individuals.
4. To facilitate exports: – Generally, Malaysian companies lack capacity and capability to face the challenge of competing with foreign companies. The MSSA sees a role to help members expand their businesses by the use of workshops to expose members to legal set-ups of mergers, multi-disciplinary companies and consortia to boost capacity and capability.
5. Brand MSSA: – Branding is important to restate the role of the MSSA and to do this the MSSA must highlight the successes of its members and attract media coverage for MSSA activities. To this end, MSSA will contribute articles to the newsletters of associates as well as publish its own quarterly newsletter. To boost membership, it is intended to undertake a membership drive and hold events to allow members to network to share news, views and knowledge.
6. Leverage on government infrastructure: – As Ir. Keh Ching Ann (STAMsteel Sdn Bhd) says, “Many members like myself are not aware of government support – we need to network more”. As a specialised organisation, the MSSA can leverage the various government organizations to take full advantage of such government support from agencies such as CIDB, EPU, MATRADE, MIDA, SMIDEC, Universities, EXIM Bank and PSDC. This will help members not only financially but also in terms of networking, building capacity, market identification and information sharing.

Further, by organising international conferences and exhibitions, and by participating in similar events held overseas, the MSSA can assist members to develop and leverage export initiatives.
7. Conduct Feasibility Studies: – Feasibility Studies will help members determine the viability of projects both at home and abroad and translate the findings into business opportunities. In some cases such studies will be initiated by foreign clients for local companies to take up.
8. To develop a Resource Centre and Database: –There is abundant archive material on technical and non-technical areas including guidelines, standards, codes, economic reports and government long-term plans, all available in the Resource Centre. Further, the MSSA website is to be revamped to carry vital business information including steel prices, project and job opportunities, information about the successes and pitfalls of others, and how to get government agency support. This would help business men such as Mr. Tan Kian Ann (Max-Allied Construction Sdn Bhd) who says “For the moment, we have enough work – what we need is a reliable source of price information on steel.”

The MSSA wishes to conduct a full-scale survey of members to compile data on multi-disciplinary companies, to create a dossier of experts and to develop an image bank and gallery.


MSSA’S EIGHT STRATEGIC IMPERATIVES



To realise the mission elements, MSSA will adopt eight strategies. These are:

1. Translate R & D to business.
2. Enhance the promotion of steel.
3. Accelerate capacity building.
4. Facilitate setting up of multi-disciplinary
companies, consortia, mergers and acquisitions.
5. Brand MSSA.
6. Leverage on the infrastructure of government affiliates.
7. Conduct feasibility studies.
8. Create a database.


The Council consists of a dynamic team of members consisting of an impressive list of industry captains from the steel fraternity to steer the association on the right course. Three working groups have been set up and are tasked with the relevant strategies. These are the Technical (TWG), the Communication (CWG) and the Capacity Building (CBWG) working groups. As the report says “It is interesting to note that the TWG brings meritocracy & credibility to the MSSA, CWG brings impact while the CBWG brings revenue”.

To stay relevant, the MSSA must chart its progress carefully and by implementing the above Strategic Imperatives to realise the Mission Elements, the MSSA can become a potent force for promoting the use of steel in the Malaysian construction industry and further beyond our shores.

QUOTES


1. Y Bhg. Datuk Ir. Dr. Ahmad Fikri Hussein
Kompakar Inc. Bhd
“To have immediate impact, let us look at the lowhanging fruits.”
2. Ir. Elias Ismail
Technology & Construction Innovation Development Division
CIDB
“We have funds for research, studies – we can work together with universities to help the construction industry.”
3. Amna A. Emir
Neuformation Architects Sdn Bhd
“Steel should not be seen as aesthetic value alone but as a new technology with economic, environment and social sustainability.”
4. Y. Bhg. Dato’ Sri Prof. Ir. Dr. Judin Hj. Abd. Karim
Jabatan Kerja Raya Malaysia
“JKR can help the steel industry on policy if you can develop modules for schools.”
5. Mr. Khor Boon Leong
Kencana Torsco Sdn Bhd
MSSA’s interaction with fabricators will be an excellent idea – we need to see how we can work to produce skilled labour, tax exemption for foreign projects and on-the-job training for fresh graduates
6. Prof. Dr. Azlan Adnan
Fakulti Kejuruteraan Awam
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)
“MSSA must look into the marketing strategy of our courses.”
7. Ir. Keh Ching Ann
STAMsteel Sdn Bhd
“Many members like myself are not aware of government support – we need to network more.”
8. Mr. Tan Kian Ann
Max-Allied Construction Sdn Bhd
“For the moment, we have enough work – what we need is a reliable source of price information on steel.”
 
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