A Close Look at Certact Engineering’s Workforce and Business Transformation with NTUC

NTUC’s training and placement ecosystem can help companies transform and workers be gainfully employed.
By Ian Tan Hannhonn 25 Nov 2021
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Before 2020, Certact Engineering was a thriving precision engineering company.

Established in 1968, the company’s revenue was severely affected with the advent of COVID-19.

The pandemic forced the company to think out of the box; to explore how it could enhance its offerings, its technical capabilities, and its profit margin.

Beyond its business objectives, the company also needed to solve its shortage of manpower brought about by border restrictions to stem the spread of the virus.

Certact knew that it needed to transform itself to weather the pandemic.

In May 2020, after approaching NTUC, the company unionized itself with the Advanced Manufacturing Employees Union (AMEU).

Thereafter, the company, the union and NTUC Training & Transformation (T&T) Unit formed a company training committee (CTC) to outline the necessary skills and training Certact’s workforce would need.

NTUC T&T also helped Certact develop a five-year operations and technology roadmap (OTR) to help the company expand into new markets, diversify its offerings, innovate its processes, and build its talent pool – an initiative that would benefit workers like Rajangam Sekar.

A Worker in Need

Mr Rajangam was working in the manufacturing industry as a senior engineering manager before he was retrenched some two years ago.

The 56-year-old had been working in the same company for 20 over years.

Knowing that he still had much to offer any given employer, he went to NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) for help.

After fulfilling some training courses with NTUC LearningHub (LHUB), Mr Rajangam was able to secure a job with Certact Engineering through e2i’s Professional Conversion Programme.

He shared: “I did some learning at the NTUC LearningHub as well as some [additional] training courses before I joined Certact. I have now been with the company for over a year now, working as a Quality Assurance Manager,” he shared.

Mr Rajangam was but one of seven employees who were brought on board Certact through the help of e2i since the pandemic began.

Today, he works at Certact’s latest manufacturing facility, which has been developed to take on new markets and expand the company’s offerings.  

Transformation

Certact Engineering officially opened its new facility at 21 Kian Teck Drive on 25 November 2021.

The ribbon cutting ceremony was officiated by both Certact Engineering Manager Director Ellis Eng and NTUC Deputy Secretary-General Chee Hong Tat, who was event’s guest of honour.

The once precision machining company has now, with the help of the NTUC Enhanced Enterprise Development Support (NEEDS) funding, diversified its business offerings to include precision plastic engineering at the new facility.

Certact now has the capability to manufacture medical equipment components like COVID-19 ventilator parts, as well as data storage components. It has also digitalised most of its internal processes and adopted the use of automation and robotics.

Mr Chee drew parallels between the NTUC T&T and a toolkit that has different tools for different tasks. Like a toolkit, NTUC T&T provides specially tailored services depending on the companies’ needs.

He said: “The starting point is what is it that the company requires, and what will benefit the company and its workers? We will start from there and then we will see in the NTUC training and placement ecosystem, what are some of the tools and services that we can bring on board to help the company.”

Ms Eng said that since the company’s partnership with NTUC, Certact’s revenue has doubled, and it has also expanded its workforces by some 30 per cent.

On the adoption of automation, Ms Eng said: “The implementation of robotic manufacturing has helped us a lot. It has help raise our productivity and our [production] quality. Now, with the shortage of manpower, it has also lightened our workers’ burden and helped us meet our customers’ high expectations.”