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K.I.K. Engineering captures global markets with switchboards

Lalith Kahatapitiya Chairman

Innovative people do not get demoralised due to lack of opportunities. Instead it encourages them to explore new pathways. Finally they make Sri Lanka proud by introducing new product brands to the world market and bring in foreign exchange to the country.

Engineer Lalith Kahatapitiya owns the No. 1 Low Voltage Panel Building factory in South East Asia, tested and certified for highest international standards for electrical switchboards. K. I. K. Engineering Co. (Pvt) Ltd Sri Lanka is one such example to the credit of Sri Lanka.

"I found that there was no room for my innovative ideas in the places where I worked as an engineer and a manager for several years. But I knew there was a huge market for this product through my experience in this field. That made me to start this company of my own in a small way with my wife Indira without having anything other than few tools and myself to work." Engineer Kahatapitiya recollected their humble beginnings in 1994.

Sheet metal work in process.
(Pictures by Sumanachandra Ariyawansa)

He started with very few local clients, and recruited few workers but by 1996 he did not get sufficient orders to run the company for some reason unknown to him. The challenge before him at that time was to keep the highly skilled employees occupied.

Kahatapitiya brought a bulk of bats and balls, carom boards and books to the company to keep them occupied. He gave the assurance of job safety to his workers and thought about a way out where he got the idea of exporting his product.

The success began there onwards. Having obtained BOI status for the company, he maintained the highest standards of quality in the products, customers confidence and employees satisfaction which were behind his success.

KIK workshop

Today K.I.K. is in the process of expand ing its factory from its 3 acre land up to 5 acres in the Katunayake FTZ to meet the increasing demands in the international market. The Office located in Chennai operates large scale business in India. Switchboards for Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Project an underground railway project in Delhi was one of their largest projects in India. Bangladesh, Maldives, Rwanda, Myanmar, Vietnam are among the other clientele of K.I.K.

Although satisfied with his own business, engineer Kahatapitiya is unhappy about the increasing trade deficit of country's exports and imports. "Although we have lot of skilled entrepreneurs many of them are engaged in all types of imports concentrating on easy money. As a result we are becoming poor and poor as a country neglecting the most valuable human resources and awaiting for little dollars earned by housemaids and labourers, he regretted he said."

However he is proud of his highly skilled and well paid young work force adopted to a totally different culture in the K.I.K Group.

Among many achievements over the years to the credit of K.I.K. are National Gold Trophy Sri Lanka Entrepreneur of the year 2000, SLCSI Award Most Promising Enterprise for 21st Century, IESL Award for the best local product displayed at Techno 2000, 2003, 2005, CNCI Achiever, Bronze Award in the medium industries category in 2002.



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