S M L Metal

After only completing class 1 in school, I had to leave my books behind and get involved in the workforce. For several years, I took up various forms of employment in different sectors and eventually landed a well-paying factory job in the light-engineering industry.

When I started working in that factory, I never thought I would have my own business someday. As time went by, I accumulated the skill set and network required to function independently in the light engineering business. However, I did not want to take that risk as I had a growing family with four children to support. Even though I was hesitant to take such a big step, my family didn’t allow me to leave my dream behind. I received immense support from everyone, especially my parents, who sold their property to gather the needed investment funds. Thus with their help, I was finally able to establish SML Metal in 1992.

Since its inception, SML metals has mainly focused on supplying machinery products and parts, like brick burners tools and tube wells. On the surface, this seems like a lucrative venture. But in reality, it is riddled with many problems. The most common problem I have to deal with is recruiting an adequate number of skilled employees willing to commit to long-term employment. This employee shortage overburdens our existing employees and leads to troubles in operation and production.

The second most pressing problem we face is the difficulty in managing cashflows. Due to changing prices of the raw materials in the market and the buyers’ habit of purchasing on credit, sometimes we suffer from inadequate cash flows, which prevents us from reaching our targeted bottom line.

And the Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated this cash issue to the point that we are now having a tough time paying rent and bills. Moreover, the crisis has significantly reduced the number of new orders we usually get, and even our current customers are having a hard time making their payments. To survive and keep the business afloat, I had to take loans and think of ways to change my business strategies.

I got acquainted with LightCastle Partners when they visited our factory in Rangpur. The company has helped me considerably in marketing my products and increasing my local customer base. And through them, I participated in the B-skillful training program, which taught us various strategies to improve our business. These initiatives have proven fruitful in turning my business in a new direction and increasing our profits. I hope to expand my business to other areas of Bangladesh and even achieve my goal of exporting to other countries.

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