Tacam Steel manufactures customised engineered steel door systems and is part of the larger Techsteel Corporation manufacturing Group, started in the late 1960’s.
After the introduction of the SS332: Specification for Fire Doors in 1988, Tacam collaborated with two MNC’s from Holland & Japan and a Marine Door specialist from Sweden, through multiyear technical licensing Agreements.
Technical expertise was systematically transferred from the three licensors to equip Tacam with the fabrication, design, quality assurance and technology, to manufacture a complete range of steel doors, under OEM guidance. At one stage almost one third of the manufacturing workforce spent up to six months for “on the job training” in Japan, on a rotational basis, as part of their skills transfer program.
The initial product range covered fire resistance, acoustic, lead lined, anti-ballistic & blast resistance doorsets. Through decades of collaboration and Research & Development, the range today extends to a larger spectrum of special and custom application doorsets, used in the Oil & Gas industry, Silicon Wafer Fabrication facilities, Hospitals, Airport Terminals, the MRT, Vehicular tunnels, Deep Underground Storage, Military and Infrastructural Projects.
Today, Tacam is fully independent, although the Japanese MNC still retains a shareholding, as a strong sign of support for the decades of close cooperation.
Growing with Singapore through the Years
Tacam is fortunate to be a key player in the formative years of the building material industry in Singapore.
Notable projects for the company locally include Changi Airport Terminals 3, 4, the Jewel, the upgrading of Terminals 1 & 2, the Esplanade, the Indoor Stadium, the majority of the MRT stations and interchanges, Micron Semiconductor, Siltronic Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa, Gardens by the Bay, Marina One, Marina Bay Financial Centre Towers, National Centre for Infectious Diseases, Centre for Healthcare Innovation, Ng Teng Fong Hospital, Reflections at Keppel Bay and numerous iconic buildings.
Tacam was invited by the HDB, to participate in prototyping the Apartment Shelter doors, which were made compulsory in 1996 and contributed to the final design, which remains in use to this day.
Globally, Tacam doors have been supplied to numerous projects in the UK, notably the entire Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, Heron Tower, the upgrading of Wembley Stadium and the Shard, the current tallest building in the European Union, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, in Southwark, London.
The most inspiring example we can relate is that in 1987, when Changi Terminal 2 was tendered, Tacam had not commenced production of steel fire doors. The tender instead was awarded to a UK fire door company. Fast forward 18 years to 2005, Tacam won the tender to supply more than 1,600 steel doors to Heathrow Terminal 5, over many bids, including from the same UK company.
Tacam also supplied the doors for the Petronas Twin Towers and more recently, the 106 storey The Exchange 106 (formerly TRX Signature Tower), a skyscraper under construction in the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), a new financial district in Kuala Lumpur.
Notable projects by Tacam Steel for engineered steel doors in SIngapore.
Challenges faced by Singapore Companies
In the current era of disruptive business models, we wish to quote Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, who said that “There is nothing permanent except change”, to highlight the need for all of us to always plan for and be ready for change in every aspect of our lives.
In whatever industry we find ourselves, the need for change is now compelling and urgent. As we have no trade barriers to protect local firms, we literally compete with the entire world. Our door industry is no different.
Tacam has clear six month, one, two, five & ten year plans. These are in key areas covering focused R&D, our journey to attain Industry 4.0 manufacturing capabilities, maximizing our resources by leveraging on technology & deepening collaborations with key business partners and Academic Institutions on collaborative research.
Advice to the new generation of manufacturers
Singapore’s strength is in our “branding”. Tacam’s most valuable asset is our brand, built up over five decades, which makes the company synonymous with high quality, performance specific steel doors, which are supported by actual test reports from Internationally Accredited Test Centers & Laboratories.
Tacam was the only private sector participant in a NATO blast test conducted in Australia, where our blast resistant doors were tested in a military missile testing facility, complete with the effects of shrapnel damage. Through such collaborations, Tacam’s blast resistant doors are the exception within the Industry, to be based on data supported by actual high blast loads, instead of only calculations & simulations.
There are no short cuts to long term viability in running a business. Manufacturing has many disadvantages due to the high overheads and investments required for plant & equipment and constant need for upgrading to stay relevant.
These are however exciting times. Manufacturing will be disrupted like all other businesses. Just a few years from now, there will be major changes in fabrication technology and the entire supply chain from sales to delivery. Tacam’s management team comprises of a GM who has an undergraduate degree in Aeronautical Engineering and a post graduate degree in Astronautical Engineering & others who have acquired deep technical & systems expertise from various MNC’s. We are currently researching materials used in space programs, to make our doors lighter and provide higher performance capabilities.
Our advice is also to invest in people. Ultimately, the company succeeds only because of the people who run every part, no matter the position. From the receptionist to the GM, every employee counts. Have a strong corporate culture that does NOT put revenue growth & profit as the key drivers.
It is the value you can provide to your customers, who will determine your firm’s success and it is your employees who will help make that connection.