Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC) built in 1970, with the financial and technical assistance of China at a strategic location of Taxila about 30 Kilometers north of capital Islamabad, is known as a symbol of Pak-China Friendship. Spanned over 730 acres of land the HMC also known as a gigantic mechanical enterprise as well as The Mother Industry of Pakistan was built to provide stimulus to the indigenization of local industries and substitute imports where thousands of employees are employed. The complex houses a purpose-built walled colony for its employees, which has all the basic amenities like schools, health care unit, mosques, shopping markets, community center, officers club, sports grounds etc.
Since inception the HMC has made momentous contributions in setting up Sugar and Cement plants on turnkey basis right from design to commissioning.
Apart from sugar and cement sectors the HMC has played key role in manufacturing equipment for chemical, petro-chemical and power plants. HMC expertise in designing and producing pressure vessels, heat exchangers, overhead cranes, road rollers, steel bridges, railways equipment and equipment for many other important industries are unmatchable in the country.
Heavy Mechanical Complex once a subsidiary of State Engineering Corporation was a leading engineering goods manufacturing industry in Pakistan. Despite holding largest designing, manufacturing, fabrication, machining, forging and casting facilities the enterprise business witnessed a declining trend in the past. Resultantly, in 2015, HMC sale orders touched its lowest point due to the loss of competitive edge in the market.
In 2016, the Board of Directors decided to revamp the whole structure of the HMC by introducing new management, bringing cultural, structural and technological changes; to transform the HMC into a vibrant, self-sustained and modern business enterprise.
To revive HMC business, a comprehensive study was conducted in 2018 to prepare a workable business plan to turn around. The new Business Plan envisaged two staged way forward; a short term three years plan to achieve sustainability and a long term eight years plan to modernize, rehabilitate, and expand the entity to diversify its industrial manufacturing in the fields of agriculture, power plants and construction industry. Implementing the new business plan for HMC, in the start of 2019, the Board of Directors inducted top management including Chief Financial Officer and Director Human Resources & Administration having dynamic industry exposure vis-à-vis acumen to lead the organization. The management subsequently started the process to filling up middle management that depleted due to voluntary separation schemes offered by government at different times to reduce the financial burden which rather proved damaging by creating voids.
To meet the short-term plan by 2022, the Board of Directors is committed to provide required support and fiscal sustainability is envisioned to be achieved on completion of short-term plan. Revamping of Foundry and Forge Division by replacing the energy inefficient Furnaces and refurbishing the out of action continuous Billet Caster Plant is set to be completed by 2021 followed by setting up a Bar Rolling Mill to realize financial sustainability for the ensuing businesses.
Marketing has always been a weak area for any public sector business organization, to shift the focus from orthodox marketing techniques the reform process for the marketing department to reach out to new clients and keep the business afloat on latest trends is in progress. Likewise, the design department which provides one of the largest facilities in Pakistan equipped with latest hardware and software was not being utilized to its full potential. To optimize its utilization and generate revenue, the design center is being turned into a separate business unit.
In addition to above measures a diversification by capturing new business vistas, other than the HMC primary business sectors of sugar and cement industries that have come to a saturation point, is a main goal of HMC. HMC foresees a great potential for turbine manufacturing and establishing its set up. Vigorous efforts are underway to form a Joint Venture with a foreign company in the field. Recently, MoUs with European and Chinese companies have been signed to launch future Joint Ventures.
To harness the potential of engineers, researchers and university academia a Research and Development Centre has also been established. The management is reaching out to universities and technical institutes to offer its R&D Centre for joint research endeavours in scientific and industrial fields, particularly in clean energy.
Current reforms process and commitment of new management is bringing positive changes. The lost customers’ base is being regained, commercial orders of boilers up to 140 Ton / hour capacity, steel structures, bridges, sugar mills and hydel steel structures are under manufacturing process. Negotiations for multibillion EPC projects are also underway with various private and public sector groups. With the focused aim and continuous efforts HMC by the year 2022 and 2028 is all set to achieve its short- and long-term objectives and live up to its image “The Mother Industry of Pakistan”, that surely will play a vital role in self-reliance and nation’s building.
By Engineer Zaheer Shah
The writer is Managing Director of Heavy Mechanical Complex.