Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Smart Man Starts Saturday

It's estimated that over 30,000 people work directly for manufacturing companies in Oman and this provides the sultanate with a strong platform for its plans for this important sector.

“The diversification of Oman’s economy is tied inextricably to the future of manufacturing — but there is uncertainty about what the future holds. The last global recession hit manufacturing hard, punishing the sector for a glut of capacity and equipment at the end of the 1990s,” says Ibtisam Al Faruji, Director of Marketing at PEIE and organizer of the annual Smart Manufacturing Conference.

Given the recent global credit crunch, maintaining and expanding Oman’s manufacturing base will be a key part of next week’s Smart Manufacturing Conference. Through its six industrial estates, PEIE provides land and services to over 400 companies and takes a strong role in the sultanate’s economic development efforts. “As part of our remit, we hold regular networking events that support cutting-edge manufacturing enterprises. It’s these sorts of collaborations and networking initiatives that can help companies seize a competitive edge and increase manufacturing jobs in Oman,” suggests Al Faruji.

According the Marketing Director, PEIE is also focused on training — and retraining — and encouraging university graduates to consider manufacturing-related careers. Recent studies have found that while traditional production employment may be declining, there has been a significant growth in related occupations — the technical services, IT, research, design, packaging and innovation, financial and marketing jobs that support manufacturing enterprises. While these jobs may not always be classified as manufacturing positions, they should be included in any analysis of total manufacturing employment.

With world-class undergraduate programs in engineering, technology and business on offer at institutions such as Sultan Qaboos University and Caledonian College, “it’s wonderful to see how higher education is supporting career choices within the broad manufacturing sector,” Al Faruji goes on to say.

Since 2005, PEIE has organized the Smart Manufacturing Conference. The two-day event is one of a series of meets that better connect local resources with the specific needs of manufacturers. Al Faruji highlights: “the Conference provides a forum for industry leaders, government and economic development officials and academic experts to discuss their mutual goals of job creation and business growth.”

The Smart Manufacturing Conference will be held 29 – 30 November at the Muscat Inter-Continental Hotel under the patronage of HE Maqbool bin Ali Sultan, Minister of Commerce & Industry.

“This event is a must for anyone concerned about the future of Oman’s manufacturing and our national economy. Progress starts with dialogue, and this Conference starts the discussion,” says PEIE’s Marketing Director.

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