TEXT: Located 45 km from Islamabad and with main manufacturing facilities at Wah Cantonment, Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) is a sprawling complex of fourteen defence production units and twelve subsidiaries producing 112 Major Defence Products, Commercial Explosives and Industrial Chemicals. The main products include automatic rifles, machine guns, Snipers, sub-machine guns, anti-aircraft guns, complete range of mortar and artillery ammunitions, aircraft and anti-aircraft ammunitions, tank and anti-tank ammunitions, bombs, grenades, Rockets, Military Explosives, pyrotechnics, commercial explosives, detonators and commercial products and so forth for the armed forces and civilian needs.
Research and development projects have been undertaken to minimize dependence on foreign suppliers. Efforts have been made towards self-reliance through innovation and indigenization, for achieving the following:-
To meet the needs of the Armed Forces of Pakistan.
Optimal utilization of surplus capacity of POF.
Participative collaboration with the private sector.
POF uses technology and equipment that has been acquired from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and China. The factories in POF employ some of the latest state of the art processes, including computerized numerical controlled machines and flexible Manufacturing systems for the production of precision components.
POF has gradually made a visible standing in the international defence brands and the company is targeting a wide sphere of globe for exports.
In line with the national development vision of Pakistan, POF has evolved a futuristic strategic vision to achieve our goals and objectiveswhichare primarily based on four pillars which are technology acquisition, outsourcing and system integration, R&D and human resource development.
Quality and cost effectiveness are the two important elements of our international marketing strategy. We are trying to increase our market share by improving the quality of products and processes. The availability of genuine raw materials, skilled manpower, compliance with western and Asian standards and decades of experience are great strengths available to POF. Defence production is a tricky business where quality of ammunition requires special materials, sophisticated machinery, highly skilled manpower, and fully developed test laboratories and proofing facilities. In POF a threefold quality control mechanism is in place which includes the qualification at the factory level, then by the quality assurance department, and finally by the independent inspectors appointed by the buyers. We have been able to secure good orders on the basis of quality as our competitive edge. Fortunately, enough, countries which have an eye on quality are ready to buy our products.
ISO Certifications that we achieved in various disciplines speak volumes about quality benchmarks we uphold. POF has been acknowledged for its quality and industrial/environmental safety practices through four ISO Certifications. ISO 9001-2000 Standards about International quality standards for design, development & manufacture of small arms and ammunitions, ISO 14001 regarding International Certificate for maintaining ideal environmental standards, ISO 17025 concerning Material testing Labs, Ballistic Labs and Standards Labs and OHSAS 18001 pertaining to occupational health & safety management systems are all colorful feathers in the POF’s cap. Having the accreditation in all the above four standards is a unique distinction for the POF.
It was the visionary leadership of Pakistan that the mandate to export was given to POF since the time of its inception. For decades POF has utilized their surplus capacity which is available in terms of labour and by-products for exports and local sales. With time and advancement in the defence sector exports have become our top priority. As a matter of fact,defence sector is highly competitive and evolutionary in nature. Our export strategy mainly includes price competitiveness, short delivery schedules, and diversification into the new product lines. Our export strategy is backed by strong proactive marketing endeavours. The business depends upon high quality products, involving competitive cost and timely supplies to the customers. In terms of prices and competitiveness, our exports to over 40 countries in the Far East, Middle East, Europe, USA and Africa speak of our success and confidence of our customers.
POF’s participation in a number of International Defence Exhibitions in South Asia, Middle East, UK, USA and Europe has also opened new linkages for POF. We are accessible to the entire world through our website www.pof.gov.pk.
The POF has always shown propensity to invest in the best – both men and material. It is evident from the Human resource development schemes and the quality of products. However, something that makes the POF proud is its investment into the well-being of its employees in the form of welfare schemes and educational facility. The POF workforce is the most valuable resource. But for their dedication and ingenuity, the POF would not be standing where it is. POF has emerged as a national asset. It has made Pakistan self-reliant in its range of products and has the potential to be among the leading defence manufacturers.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022