- Ansell Managing Director and CEO Neil Salmon says SL is a global leadership location with 6,000-strong workforce important part and key contributor to global growth as sales top $ 2 b mark in FY21 with over 20% growth
- Lankan talent developing latest and innovative technologies that are widely used at Ansell manufacturing sites globally serving customers in over 100 countries
- R&D team in SL is developing first glove containing recycled yarn
- Says reliance of Ansell on Sri Lanka is a testimony of capabilities of local young engineers and science graduates
- Largest multinational corporation in SL, Ansell investing over $ 10 m for expansion of Clean Room packaging facility to service needs of high growth global pharmaceutical and semiconductor manufacturing industries, another value addition operation for surgical gloves and SL’s single largest solar energy plant with over 7 MW
Ansell, the world leader in safety solutions, is stepping up investments and initiatives in Sri Lanka as a centre of excellence in engineering, technology, research and development, for its fast growing global operations and sales. Employing 6,000, Ansell is also Sri Lanka’s largest multinational corporation and with two units Sri Lanka is already home for Ansell’s second biggest plant for surgical products manufacturing over 250 million pieces after Malaysia.
In FY 21, Ansell, which has operations in North America, Latin America/Caribbean, EMEA and Asia Pacific with customers in over 100 countries, retained its world market share of 15% with sales of industrial and healthcare safety solutions crossing the $ 2 billion mark with 22.5% from the previous year.
“Rather than a mere manufacturing facility, Sri Lanka is a global leadership location for us. It is an important part and a key contributor to our global growth,” Ansell Global Managing Director and CEO Neil Salmon told the Daily FT during a recent visit to Sri Lanka.
Ansell has its Global Engineering and Manufacturing Technology division in Sri Lanka with local talent developing “the latest and innovative technologies that are widely used at Ansell manufacturing sites globally. Sri Lankan staff have developed many patent technologies as well,” said Salmon, who joined Ansell in 2013 and previously served as its Chief Financial Officer and President of the Industrial Global Business Unit.
“We have a strong global engineering team in Sri Lanka that supports our global operations. Many of our most important product innovations come out of the R&D Centre in Sri Lanka,” said Salmon during his recent week-long visit, first since 2019. He revealed that the R&D team in Sri Lanka is developing the first glove containing recycled yarn.
“This is a testimony of the capabilities of young engineers and science graduates in Sri Lanka,” Salmon emphasised. Ansell employs 13,500 people globally and of that 6,000 are in Sri Lanka, a figure which has been doubled over the past decade and Ansell is in the process of hiring more young talent.
“Ansell has launched a graduate training program specifically designed to those following engineering and science streams. Sri Lanka is one of the first markets within Ansell Group to have this program due to the high competency levels of local graduates.
“We are also rolling out a new manufacturing ERP system from Sri Lanka,” he added.
Salmon’s visit was to oversee the expansion of the R&D centre, opening new facilities as well as the progress of the new manufacturing lines which have become fully operational now.
Whilst the mainstay has been surgical gloves, Sri Lanka also produces some of the most complex industrial safety solutions. Sri Lanka’s capabilities include Surgical Gloves, Single Use Gloves and Industrial Gloves (both Mechanical and Chemical gloves) in Biyagama plant and at Seeduwa facility glove knitting and body protection kits are produced.
Salmon said the teams at the R&D centre for industrial and surgical gloves led by Sri Lankans work with other teams in several parts of the world. “In Sri Lanka we have over 30 science graduates employed from local universities who are involved in the development of new products that will shape the industry in the years to come,” the global MD and CEO added. Additionally engineering and science graduates are also employed in production and plant operations.
Given its global presence in terms of production and sales, Sri Lankan talent at Ansell gets great international exposure to global skills set, expertise and industry leading innovation and technology.
The Global Engineering and Manufacturing Technology division in Sri Lanka, provides employment opportunities to over 40 talented engineers in the field of mechanical, electronics, chemical etc. They are also recruited from leading local Universities such as Moratuwa, Peradeniya, Ruhuna etc.
More investments in Sri Lanka
In 2018, when Ansell marked 125 years in business, it embarked on a $ 100 million transformation program to lower costs with massive investments in Sri Lanka and two other locations, Vietnam and Malaysia.
“We have invested in Sri Lanka more than in any of our other locations,” Ansell’s Global MD and CEO revealed.
He said that Ansell annually invests over $ 5 million in continuous improvements as part of making Sri Lanka on-par with the rest of the world in terms of technology, standards and compliance.
“In addition, we are investing over $ 10 million for expansion of Clean Room packaging facility to service needs of high-growth global pharmaceutical and semiconductor manufacturing industries, another value addition operation for surgical gloves and a solar energy project which once completed would be the largest single plant solar system with a capacity over 7 MW,” the Global MD and CEO revealed.
Ansell has also been focussing on backward integration efforts increasing the value added in Sri Lanka in its operations. In terms of energy challenge, the upcoming solar power plant will be a big breakthrough in addition to on-going sourcing of biomass. “Overall once the initiatives are completed Sri Lankan operations will be a world leader in using renewable energy,” Salmon emphasised.
Ansell’s biggest market the US accounting for 35% followed by Europe whilst 20% of sales are in emerging markets including India where Ansell is setting up its first manufacturing unit in Tamil Nadu with inputs from Sri Lanka.
According to Salmon, around 70% of emerging market workforce do not have or only use inadequate protective equipment including gloves whilst new regulations are being rolled out to reduce the number. This suggests huge scope for Ansell’s core business in the future.
Salmon explains Ansell is driving innovation and growth with a business philosophy of “How we protect, who and what we protect” on a sustainable basis. “Industry leading trust, safety, quality and reliability have been the secret of Ansell’s success over the past 128 years,” he said. “Ansell protects workers and workplaces is our mission and the other promise is ‘Trust Ansell’,” he added.
Source Daily FT