Hieng Ling Tang and Sie Lock Tin
Assistant General Managers at Sumitomo Electric Interconnect Products (M) Sdn Bhd
Joined the company in 1997 (Ms. Tang) and 2004 (Mr. Tin)
Sumitomo Electric Interconnect Products (M) Sdn Bhd is located in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Within the same plant, there are two manufacturing operations: the Electronics Wire Division and the Flat Components Division. Here we introduce the Assistant General Managers of each division.
Tang: I’m Assistant GM of the Electronics Wire Division. I joined SEPM as a process engineer after graduating from university in 1997. I remember when I came to my job interview, a holy song played on the radio. As a Christian, I took it as a sign that SEPM would be a good company to start my career. Since joining the company I have been involved in design engineering, production, quality assurance, planning, and logistics. My responsibility in those various departments was to work with others or to lead them in achieving company targets and creating a better SEPM.
Tin: The FC Division, where I’m Assistant GM, is the only overseas division of Sumitomo Electric Industries that manufactures a specific kind of flat cable for car airbag and steering wheel audio & cruise control application. I had some experience with the automotive quality management system called QS9000 before joining SEPM in 2004, and once I joined (as a R&D and Design engineer for automotive customers) I started the journey to acquire ISO/TS 16949 certification. With support from Management and my team, we were certified a year later. Since then, I have been promoted several times, and in 2017 I was appointed Assistant GM. It is my responsibility to ensure that the FC Division’s operations run smoothly. We optimize productivity and quality and, most importantly, make profit. 75% of our products are exported to various markets.
Tang: I think that SEPM is a compassionate and energetic company. Here I can be creative and a solution provider. Daring to speak out is my strength. I like to ask “why” to myself and my colleagues, because I believe that through asking and observing, we can always develop better and more practical working methods, while also eliminating waste.
Tin: Our company is like the United Nations because we are in Malaysia, a country with many different ethnic groups. At SEPM we have Malays, Chinese, Indians, and people from other nations such as Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Nepal. We all work under one roof, sharing our knowledge, thoughts, and opinions. It is a wonderful workplace. One of the most rewarding experiences I have had in 18 years here is the knowledge gained from working with five General Managers from Japan. I learned how to adjust my communication method, so that we could work well together to achieve company goals. It takes time to understand each other and build trust.
Tang: A rewarding work experience for me was being on the Process Engineering and Project Team, where I had the chance to enjoy setting up new processes and machinery from zero, until handing over to the mass production staff. I could feel a sense of achievement when we accomplished projects on time. Of course, there were problems here and there during planning and implementation stages, but I knew these could be solved with experience and consistent effort from the team. I appreciate that Sumitomo Electric honestly practices Safety First, and invests in safety features that other companies put little money into due to budget considerations. I also salute the company for our responsibility to product quality. Our products are developed with quality materials and thorough testing. As a result, the level of product safety is much higher than legal requirements.
Tin: I love to take on new challenges, especially with new process development. I’m not afraid of failure. Just always start with the basics, build up from that, and do your best. One example was developing flat cables with grommets, which we did by using an injection molding process on flexible flat cables for the first time at Sumitomo Electric. This product went into mass production last year and is being used by a famous manufacturer of appliances in the UK. I appreciate that Sumitomo Electric has given me many opportunities to be involved in projects that enhance my technical knowledge, exposing me to the latest manufacturing technology. I’m continually inspired by my colleagues to do better.