Construction sector faces manpower shortage

Published November 10, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

International Elevator & Equipment Inc. (IEE), the country’s number one supplier of elevators with a growing presence in the airconditioning market for its Japanese Mitsubishi Electric brand, has intensified training of manpower in partnership with schools as the sustained growth in the construction industry has created one good problem: lack of manpower.

Ramoncito A. Ocampo, IEE president, noted there has been no let-up in the country’s construction boom that they are now experiencing shortage in manpower supply.

“We have a problem with manpower supply,” Ocampo said during a press conference for their participation in the 30th Philconstruct show.

To augment supply, IEE is going to have three training shops for elevator, escalator and aircondition installers. They have built a training tower for elevator/escalator installers house in one building. Another training shop will be in operation by next year.

“We are investing in manpower because it is very important,” he said.

IEE has training modules for beginners and for experts on a per batch basis that they started three years ago. Before its personnel are deployed on site, they have to pass the actual exam to ensure quality and safety of projects.IEE, the country’s number one elevator supplier in the country for the past 40 years, is also expanding its partnership with Don Bosco school. Aside from merely supplying them with their vocational-technical graduates, IEE would like Don Bosco Cebu and Iloilo to use their training program in the school. Initially, some Don Bosco students are now learning how to assemble scaffolding for elevator installation. IEE has also donated equipment so students can learn how to install airconditioning units.

They would even offer to sponsor Don Bosco students from the provinces to train in Manila and employ them afterwards.

On top of the training, IEE has service centers strategically located all over the country that operate 24×7 where technicians arrive on site in 30 minutes.
IEE has also Japanese consultants while Mitsubishi Electric in Japan also sends people to the Philippine unit to help improve their services. “Our competitors cannot match us in that area: servicing,” he said.

Ocampo stressed the need for steady supply of manpower to sustain its 10 percent growth in sales last year higher than the industry’s 7-8 percent growth. The company sells rough 1,000 units of elevators a year and has 8,000 elevators under service maintenance.

Ocampo said they expect to continue its leadership with new contracts from Japanese-funded Build Build Build projects. This is on top of the robust demand from the private construction projects.

Itsuo Arakawa, IEE executive vice-president, said they are now negotiating for the supply of equipment for Japanese-funded projects under the Japan International Cooperation Agency where the general contractor is most likely a Japanese group.

In particular, he cited the North and South Philippine National Railway projects of the government where they are vying for the supply of elevators and escalators. The servicing of elevators inside MRT 3 stations has already been given back to them.

IEE has also introduced its Lossnay heat-exchange technology at the Philconstruct as one of the innovations that it brings to the Philippines. IEE has prided itself for more innovations to come up with more energy-efficient aircon, elevators and escalators.

Its airconditioning units, which are all using inverter motors, allow energy savings of as much as 40 percent depending on the surrounding conditions.

As market leader in the elevator market, IEE accounts for 30 percent market share. It competes with other branded products, including Chinese-made equipment. In the airconditioning business, Ocampo said they are trying to strengthen market presence because of stiff competition in this area.

Ocampo noted that the economy has been improving with or without the Build Build Build program of the government. “Construction is not slowing down, almost all companies are expanding the only problem is there is no more space that means they are earning,” he said.