Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Future of Oman's Manufacturing Sector

PEIE - the government-run organization responsible for the Sultanate’s six industrial estates and the technology park, Knowledge Oasis Muscat - has brought together captains of industry, manufacturing experts, academics and Government leaders for the Third Smart Manufacturing Conference, to be held 29 – 30 November, at the Muscat Inter-Continental Hotel.

Backed by Oracle, Reem Batteries, Oman Cables, Nawras, Al Mudhish, Intilaaqah, Ericsson and Infocomm, this major Conference will explore the critical components for securing and enhancing the future of manufacturing in Oman.

“Our objective is to focus on issues of national importance, and to identify manufacturing areas that have the potential to deliver major benefits to Oman’s economy,” said Hilal Al Ahsani, CEO, PEIE: “These benefits include creating new jobs, enhancing manufacturing competitiveness and making progress towards accomplishing major national goals,” he said.

Competing successfully in today’s fast-paced global community requires rapid innovation, creativity, marketing, research and production methods to bring products to market cost-effectively. With this in mind, the two-day conference will address the significance of each of these critical manufacturing areas, detail the challenges essential for progress, discuss existing public and private sector collaborations and provide recommendations for future action.

Making the keynote address is Michael Kuczynski, a leading international economist from the University of Cambridge. He says: “We should be in no doubt that the success of Oman’s manufacturers is crucial to achieving prosperity for all. Economic development and thousands of jobs in Oman depend upon securing a vibrant and successful manufacturing base to meet the challenges of global competition. This Conference aims to build consensus and identify the steps we must take to achieve a long-term vision for manufacturing in Oman, building on the Sultanate’s manufacturing traditions. I’m delighted to be part of such an important initiative.”

Sharing the stage will be over 40 leading experts from manufacturing, banking, finance, logistics, HR, education, design, environment and ICT. Together, they will be exploring answers to the challenges of creating tomorrow's winning products today; developing manufacturing processes to rapidly respond to ever changing needs, and attracting and retaining talented people.

According to Ibtisam Al Faruji, Marketing Director, PEIE: “Manufacturing matters to Oman, providing over 30,000 jobs right across the Sultanate. In an increasingly competitive global market it is imperative that we all work together to drive up manufacturing’s competitiveness and productivity in the country. Indeed, this third Smart Manufacturing Conference will help set the scene to secure the future of manufacturing in Oman for the long-term.”

His Highness Sayyid Faisal Al Said, CEO, Oman Brand Management Unit and a moderator at the Smart Manufacturing Conference said: “manufacturing is critical to Oman’s economic future. In this regard, it’s the application of information technology that will help us reshape almost all features of manufacturing, from product development and design, through distribution and customer support. IT will also help us to rapidly design and test new products, and link “smart” supply chains to make sure there are always enough raw materials to build products and efficient methods to get them to customers on time.”

According to Sayyid Faisal, IT-enhanced processes are central to Oman’s manufacturing sector, adding: “In my view, it’s through the deployment of technology that we optimize our manufacturing capabilities and enhance Oman’s growing knowledge-based economy. Moreover, technology opens doors to designing new processes and products that increase Oman’s manufacturing sector’s performance and value. This is an important conference that comes at a significant time in history. I’m pleased to be able to contribute to the event.

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