Monday, August 2, 2010

JTC plans medtech park, new industrial complex

It's also enhancing cluster knowledge, says chief executive

(SINGAPORE) With a long list of new and ongoing projects to look after, JTC Corporation's chief executive officer Manohar Khiatani hardly has time for hobbies.

He would like to pick up golf, but new projects such as a proposed medical technology park and a new complex for the surface finishing sector are keeping him busy.

Mr Khiatani, 50, took over the helm at JTC last October. Prior to that, he was deputy managing director at the Economic Development Board (EDB) where he had spent over 10 years in various other positions including director (Europe) and director (logistics and transport engineering).

Barely a year into his new job, Mr Khiatani is already rolling out new projects. The proposed medical technology (medtech) park is one of his more immediate tasks.

The park will be located on a 7.4 hectare site in the Tukang area and will offer 185,000 square metres of space when it is ready.

JTC plans to develop the park in stages, with the first phase expected to yield 75,000 sq m of space when it is completed by late 2013.

The park will provide basic space which medtech companies can retrofit for their specialised needs. There will also be facilities which firms can share so that starting up can be cheaper and faster. JTC's plan is to create synergy by housing equipment manufacturers, suppliers and other supporting firms together.

A second key project, one which is still being conceptualised, is a complex for companies involved in surface finishing.

These firms use electroplating and other processes to make metal products more durable, and they service the automobile, electronics, telecommunications and many other industries.

As with the medtech park, the complex will have common facilities for tenants. They will be able to share the treatment of industrial waste water, the recycling of treated water and other services. JTC intends to minimise the complex's water usage and carbon footprint.

More projects could be in the pipeline. 'We want to enhance our innovation capacity, particularly in areas such as land intensification and optimisation, energy efficiency and built environment sustainability,' Mr Khiatani says.

But it is not just concrete projects that Mr Khiatani is focused on. He also wants JTC to deepen relationships with industries so that it can build the right facilities for them.

'JTC has to be more than just a landlord,' he says. 'We want to better understand the needs of our customers, the industries they operate in, and work together with them to develop innovative infrastructure solutions.'

JTC restructured its organisation last year to try to achieve this. Business units had been grouped according to property types but they now serve key sectors such as electronics, media, bio-medicals and clean technology.

'We are now developing a deeper understanding of strategic industry clusters,' Mr Khiatani shares. 'With this cluster knowledge, our officers are now able to engage our customers more deeply and holistically. Certainly more so than a normal landlord,' he says.

Source: Business Times, 2 Aug 2010

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