Atlas stronger with technological expertise | Daily News


60 years in business

Atlas stronger with technological expertise

Workers at the factory
Workers at the factory

Atlas Axillia will commemorate its 60 year anniversary with a number of initiatives focused on enriching the lives of children in the country. The company plans to launch a scholarship program and a new range of innovative stationery products.

Chief Operating Officer, Atlas, Viraj Jayasooriya said, that his company had invested heavily into their business and is able to produce a high-quality product at a reasonable price.

Atlas pens have remained at constant prices since 1999. Jayasooriya said, technological and productivity improvements, permitting the company to maintain prices and more or less improve the quality in future. The factory produces nearly two million items on a daily basis. Production requires the movement of 75 tons daily. The defect rate is 0.0004 percent, while productivity had grown to 20 percent year on year, during the last three years. Paper trimmings waste was 3.5 percent, compared to the industry norm of 10 percent. There is .01 percent plastic waste in the manufacture of pens.


Speaking to the media at a press conference held at the factory premises in Peliyagoda last week, Jayasooriya said, “With the shop law act, it was difficult to find workers. Unlike in other businesses, people do not leave the factories in Atlas.

About 60 percent of the workforce had been with Atlas for over five years, while about 16 percent have been with the company for over 10 years.

Each worker is given two hours of training per week. Jayasooriya said that the workforce felt empowered.

Atlas Axillia officials at the event Pictures by Wimal Karunathilake

Factory practices and Japanese Kaizen philosophy:

The employees, all of whom are included in the process, have already made 9,000 suggestions of which, 50 percent had been implemented. The company partners with leading universities in Sri Lanka for the innovation in their production processes.


Atlas Managing Director Asitha Samaraweera said: “Exports are one of our top priorities.” In 2018, to assist its expansion into international markets, Atlas searched for a partner. Samaraweera said, “The natural choice was Hemas Holdings out of many nominees.” Atlas exports to several international markets, including the Philippines, the Maldives, Bangladesh and plans to further expand in the region. 24.9 percent of ownership remains with the founder/owner’s son Nirmal Madanayake. Samaraweera said that in the medium term, they expect the export figure to grow by 4 - 5 times of currently exported volumes.

Samaraweera added, “Atlas was founded in 1959 by D. S. Madanayaka, when the market was dominated by imported products. Over the years, Atlas has had to face many obstacles from fighting multinationals, substandard and cheap stationary imports and low-quality duplicates.”

Traders’ confidence:

Following the Easter Sunday bombings, the company had been targeted by hate speech. Over 400 posts have been circulating, the majority of which had originated from fake accounts.

The management said that it was too early to assess the impact of the hate speech campaign. Samaraweera said, “It is a very seasonal business. A large percentage of sales are in November and December. Traders have confidence in us so they are buying our products and stocking their shelves. In a few pockets, we had issues.” Atlas is planning to launch an innovative book product, school bags, a new range of pens and a new set of pastels.


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