3rd Round of TIFI 16th Annual Representative Assembly
Screws, the Glory of Taiwan
by Tanya Shih, Fastener World, Inc.
On December 20, 2013, TIFI (Taiwan Industrial Fastener Institute) held the 3rd round of TIFI 16th Annual Representative Assembly at GRAND HI-LAI HOTEL in Kaohsiung. This time the assembly invited TFTA (Taiwan Fastener Trading Association) chairman Bill Chen and many other dignitaries and members, leaving no empty seats. The assembly was hosted by TIFI chairman Joe Chen, and many proposals were approved with the applause of onsite attendees, demonstrating the solidarity of the fastener industry. Below Fastener World Magazine has made a digest of the post- assembly interview on “2014 fastener industry condition forecast” with general manager Tasi-Ming Liou (convener for the TIFI board of supervisors and general manager of Ying Ming Industry Co., Ltd.).
▼ TIFI Intermediating and Guiding the Industry for Eco-protection Compliance in Light of Punitive Measures on ASE Group
To start off the assembly, Joe Chen made a statement on ASE Group’s pollution allegation and subsequent social issues, “Waste acid and materials are inevitable pollutants in the manufacturing process of the fastener industry. If we look at the case of ASE Group, we quickly understand that we have to face and deal with environmental issues right away. I believe not a single corporate owner would jeopardize business operations for any illegal conduct, and this applies to every industry. Thus, TIFI will be the intermediator between the government and the industry to clear up ambiguity and formulate regulations for various pollutants with the government, and help the industry to set up and improve eco-mechanism.” He hopes the industry will be free from more operational difficulties amidst the current market competition and be sustainable with the environment.
▼ “Career-oriented Education” to Resolve Shortage of Talents
Although the “Intelligence-oriented Education” implemented by the Ministry of Education indeed elevated the overall intelligence quality of Taiwanese, many attendees pointed out that the descent of technical and vocational education has made it difficult for the traditional industry to recruit and train talents. The problem of talent shortage, which has bothered the industry for a long time, was one of the critical topics in the assembly. Attendees shared many suggestions leading to the possibility of cooperation with the Ministry of Education on constructive measures for “Career-oriented Training Classes”.
Through the analytical speeches of academic scholars, the assembly came to a consensus of setting up career-oriented classes, calling for career on top priority over study as a possible and prompt solution to talent shortage in the industry. Another fundamental solution is to let students know the fastener industry at an earlier time through factory tours and fastener boot camps. If they can see fasteners as a professional field of knowledge, they will be aware of an additional option when looking for a job. Above all, we still have to improve the overall job environment by adjusting the system of senior education.
▼ Gangshan Screw Museum is renamed to “Taiwan Screw Museum” and will Launch Opening Ceremony on Jan. 1st of 2014, later Operated by National Kangshang Agricultural & Industrial Vocational Senior High School
▼ Taiwan International Fastener Show will Launch at Kaohsiung Exhibition Center During Apr. 14-15, 2014
The 3rd edition offers TIFI and co-organizers a great opportunity to promote and absorb new clients and new products. Its symbolic presence makes it hard to be replaced by exhibitions in emerging nations like China and India.
▼ Tasi-Ming Liou, “As the Level of Taiwan-made Fasteners Continues to Upgrade, the Industry Condition in 2014 is Expected to Remain Flat or Slightly Go up.”
During Jan. to Oct. 2013, Taiwan exported over 1.1 million tons of fasteners, up 5.19% from 2012. General manager of China Steel Corp. Mr. Sung replied, “The amount of wires and rods purchased within the fastener industry takes 60% of China Steel Corp’s domestic sales. We hope to face the competitive China and Southeast Asia through consolidated efforts of the whole vertical industry chain. China Steel Corp. will correspond to the industry and offer necessary resource, steel material supply, steel material R&D, various technical seminars, and boot camps.”
As for the forecast for the fastener industry of 2014, he said, “We have to go for details in terms of market forecast. The fastener industry is categorized into construction, automobile, aerospace sector, etc. Sales targets differ from different industry conditions. As the Level of Taiwan-made Fasteners Continues to Upgrade, the Industry Condition in 2014 is Expected to Remain Flat or Slightly Go up. However, if the overall competitive level remains flat without new sales targets, Taiwan fastener industry condition in 2014 will probably slip downwards. Soon, Taiwan will have to face the first and tough price battle with low cost nations like China, India, ASEAN, and Latin America.”
Taiwan-made high level fasteners have the definite capability to compete against the US and Japan. However, not every high level fastener makers performs uptrend sales, so their products must be verified and recognized by the market and clients. Tasi-Ming Liou replied, “Strong and competitive companies are not subject to the fluctuation of the industry. Competitiveness comes in the form of quality, lead time, price, and service. Everyone knows this, but it is hard to tell if there is someone who can manage all.”
Only through detailed analysis can the government know which industries to encourage. Should we prompt full-range upgrade on the fastener industry? Tasi-Ming Liou replied, “The government has been discussing this issue for 20 years, and has been calling for full support from China Steel Corp. The first step for industrial upgrade is to upgrade materials, but now it is obvious that adopted materials are not upgrading but degrading.” Speaking of the Cross-Strait Agreement on Trade in Services which opens import of China’s wires, “Middle and low class fasteners will meet the first wave of impact because Baosteel Group’s prices for high class wires are still higher than China Steel Corp’s and have less competence.”
Tasi-Ming Liou told, “China Steel Corp’s equipment will soon be out of duty, and the company is facing the same adversity of US steel industry 10 years ago. Thus, the company must put up more efforts. Coupled with the depreciating yens and Taiwan fasteners trending for higher value, Japan and the US will become the No.1 competitor of China Steel Corp. In light of the excessively high cost to cope with customer complaints, most fastener companies are willing to spend more procurement cost on insurance.”