Automation to cut 20% of Top Glove's factory workforce in FY19

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SHAH ALAM (March 28): The world's largest rubber glove manufacturer Top Glove Corp Bhd is expecting about 15-20% reduction in factory workers for the financial year ending Aug 31, 2019 (FY19), on the back of greater automation and digitalisation of its production lines, said its chairman Tan Sri Dr Lim Wee Chai.

Currently, Top Glove's factory workers in Malaysia amounted to 10,000 people, which comprise about 55.6% of its total workforce of 18,000 employees.

The automation effort consists of using artificial intelligence vision camera system for online detection and removal of defective gloves, whose trial has commenced in March 2019, as well as advanced glove auto packing system and automated warehouse management system, both of which are targeted to commence by mid-2019.

Speaking at Top Glove's second quarter results briefing today, Lim stressed that technology and research and development could help to lower the group's cost and reduce the number of employees making mistakes.

"Our profit margin should be over 20%, if our staff and customers make less mistakes," Lim added.

At 3.18pm, Top Glove shares were down one sen or 0.22% at RM4.49, with 1.22 million shares done, bringing a market capitalisation of RM11.5 billion.