LOCAL manufacturer of windows, doors and architectural products, Oran Ltd., is celebrating its 50th anniversary and Operations Manager, Justin Oran, believes that the business has stood the test of time through embracing change, quality products and team work.

Yesterday, while leading a tour of the manufacturing plant in the Harbour Industrial Park, Oran said, “It is not accurate to say manufacturing is dead, it has changed. Oran has been able to grow throughout the years. Where there has been declines, there has also been opportunities for continuous growth. There is a lot of potential in Barbados and CARICOM for manufacturers.

“There are many challenges we face day-to-day as a manufacturing company such as dealing with rising cost, stressed markets, competition in export markets, also how to integrate new technologies, where to place your investment that you can receive the best benefits and also looking at ways to preserve labour. The cost of energy is high in Barbados, we are not a high energy user in comparison to other industries, but we do look at ways to reduce our electricity charges, but also what people can do in their everyday activities to bring down the cost of energy is also something we look at.

“However, we are able to differentiate our products because lot of our products are customised. We use a high level of software that enables us to get a lot of productivity and efficiency. We bring new products to the market and we tap into what the customer wants and we offer the highest quality.”

Increasing export markets Oran said, “We export throughout CARICOM. We are now in Trinidad and it really materialised last year when BIDC and BMA helped us take part in the Trade Investment Convention (TCI) in Trinidad; we were able to pick up a couple of distributors. “Over the last year, sales have grown significantly and things are looking promising and people are quite receptive to our products and we expect to see more growth. Sixty per cent of our production is from the export market. We have 175 employees in production and about 50 more in administration.”

Resuscitating the manufacturing sector While on the tour, Donville Inniss, Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, highlighted: “Fifty years for Oran is indeed a success story for the manufacturing sector in Barbados. To exist for 50 years and see the company evolve with new technology while training staff is excellent. The company would have had trying days and persevered and grown, which is impressive.

“Those that say manufacturing in Barbados is dead, you just need to look at companies like Oran and the products they produce. I do believe manufacturing still has a lot more potential that we need to tap into and as Minister for this sector, I am intent on leading the charge of resuscitating the manufacturing sector.

“Today, the company is exporting approximately 60 per cent of what they produce.This is a company not only providing employment, but is also a good source of foreign exchange for this economy and society.

“It is great to see that this business is passing from one generation to the next, as too many businesses die with the founder and you have a company that has been passed from Oran to son to grandson and granddaughter and that is something to celebrate. It is to heartwarming to be greeted by the founder of the business and he can now sit back and watch is grandson take on leadership of company and that is testimony of the investment the founder has made in the company,” he said. (NB)