Thailand’s economic recovery in 2017 from 2016 was mainly driven by government investments to improve infrastructure and invest in megaprojects. Growth in the industrial manufacturing sector increased transformer needs. In the meantime, however, there are many domestic and foreign distribution transformer manufacturers. Therefore, competition continues to significantly use pricing strategies. We need to exercise extreme caution when bidding for work from the government sector or the private sector in the country and overseas and we need to select large projects with cost-effective returns under the best product standards and quality in order to cut losses from the previous year. This year is the first year that we achieved a maximum production capacity of 4,162 transformers or 1,659,531 KVA as a result of improvements in employees’ capacity including modifications for production processes to gain maximum flexibility and efficiency. Product development including modifications to work processes ranging from sales to delivery met total quality management (TQM) principles with consideration given to impacts on the environment, communities and workers. The Company emphasized on building employee participation in work modifications with significant effects on the Company’s ability to manage greenhouse gases in 2017. With regard to investments in energy businesses, the Company consistently followed outlined business strategies and placed importance on prudent risk management for the maximum benefit of stakeholders.
In the area of resignations and job changes among employees in significant work positions during the previous year, we have corrected and modified wage payment systems and performance assessments to be fair and consistent with the organization’s strategy to create satisfaction for every party. Thus, employee resignations are lower than the previous year. And in 2017, the Company reviewed anti-corruption practice guidelines covering every dimension, subsidiary and joint venture in order to be ready for confirmation as a member of the Collective Action Coalition Against Corruption in 2018.
Concerning social participation and development, the Company continues to focus on public participation in communities through activities and associations where communities meet QTC. In 2017, we organized 5S activities in schools and supported income for disabled community members following recommendations from stakeholders in the community and the Company will continue good and beneficial projects for society while remaining a good social partner.
Since 2012, we have continually researched and developed amorphous distribution transformers (AMDT) to improve energy conservation capacity and reduce production costs in order to provide customers access to prices. In 2017, QTC received partial funding from the National Innovation Agency (Public Organization) (NIA) to establish the first production line in Thailand for amorphous steel cores. The Company began operations and expects the production line to be completed in early 2018. And the Company will begin to promote sales by accessing high-end markets with a focus on the highest quality and maximum energy conservation effects. This is to reflect our vision and obligation to develop environmentally friendly products, processes and services while building value for stakeholders.
Regarding economic views on the transformer market in 2018, we expect higher demand for electricity from government mega projects and investment promotions. Every project or industry that grows will need to use transformers. This is an excellent opportunity for us to propose prices. However, in the meantime, there are risks from changes in government procurement and hiring policies that allow foreign manufacturers to enter price competitions. This may cause competitions by using pricing strategies. We have plans to manage this risk by expanding overseas markets, particularly in CLMV countries that have high economic growth, and promoting amorphous transformer sales to create new opportunities for customers. We are ready to present products with the best quality and environment preservation value for customers in the country and abroad.
In closing, on behalf of the Board of Directors, executives and every employee, we would like to thank all of our shareholders, trading partners, community members and stakeholders for the good support and encouragement they have always given the Company. The Company promises to work in line with its vision, obligations and sustainable development framework, and we are determined and dedicated to developing processes, tools, machines and human capital to enter the era of Industry 4.0 with security and sustainability.