zsharer Experience as a Chemist in Household Manufacturing Company

Warning – this is a very LONG post!!!

After zsharer graduated in BEng Chemical Engineering, zsharer was hired as a Chemist in Southern Lion Sdn Bhd which is located at Tebrau Industrial 1 area just next to Pasir Gudang Highway.


Click  http://www.southernlion.com.my/ for  a little bit about the company. Southern Lion, an equal sharing joint venture between LION CORPORATION JAPAN and LAM SOON EDIBLE OILS SDN BHD, is committed to manufacturing and marketing quality products. Additionally, Quality Management has always been a prime consideration at every level of our operations and this has earned us the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accreditation.


 Those at the back which a little bit of unit sticking out are the sulphonation plant and spray drying tower. zsharer still remember during test run she need to go up and down three level storey upon collecting powder samples for quality checking. No need to exercise to get fit during those old times in Southern Lion ??


These are the product that zsharer was responsible to work for;

Image result for southern lion sdn bhd


Among the experiences and skill gained during working in this company that gave zsharer to be able to:

 i) Apply appropriate theoretical and practical methods to identifying or defining a problem, opportunity or project:

When zsharer started her first job as a chemist in a household product manufacturing company, zsharer was assigned to investigate tear and discoloured problem under the bottom of a 3  kg detergent box. These two problem gave bad packaging image on company product when it is being displayed on the shelves in the supermarket. zsharer was attached to the production line to oversee the filling and packing process. This has offer her the insight of the packing process where she was able to find the causes of the tear and discoloration problem under the box. zsharer found out that these problem occurred after packing activities and during the box movement on the conveyor belt before reaching the cartooning process. A rubber belt conveyor was used to connect two conveyor belt at the round section. The rubber belt conveyor attached to the conveyor belt was a bit higher that when the box move forward,  collision happen between the bottom box and the rubber belt conveyor. Thus friction occur causes tear and discoloration under the box. The weight of the powder inside the box also added the stress of the collision of the box with the uneven level of the rubber belt conveyor.

After finding the cause and effect zsharer arranged a meeting with the Production and Engineering team to present her findings and suggested an ideas that might solve these problem. zsharer proposed to replace the rubber belt by placing a roller in between the connecting conveyor belt at the round section. zsharer worked closely with Engineering Department to design the roller and once they get it done they try out the roller on the production run. Through the test run they found out that the tear and discoloration almost gone and the appearance of the bottom of the box improved tremendously. After concluded that the test run was successful, Production Department approved the installation of this roller to replace the uneven rubber belt.

One of the training zsharer was able to attend was on statistical quality control (SQC). This training introduced her on some basic methods of statistical control. It is very useful for zsharer company in testing the incoming materials from suppliers prior to entry into the production process. Upon completed the training, zsharer organized a seminar on SQC to other departments in the company – Product Development and Production Department. In the seminar, zsharer conveyed what she have gained from the training and taught them on the important aspect of characteristics that are measured as either “acceptable” or “not acceptable” when do packaging material sampling. This has trained them to make decision easily and confidently to accept or reject a batch of items.

ii) Combining ideas and contributions of different people and disciplines to arrive at appropriate engineering, technical or scientific solutions:

Another project zsharer was working on is the perfume selection for the new detergent powder study. zsharer was in charge to prepare several detergent powders with different perfume character.Four type of sample were prepared in the form of detergent powder and wet towel washed with the respective detergent. zsharer conducted a perfume study by engaging different types of people such as gender, age, race and working environment for the sniffing test on the powder and the wet towel. zsharer went to every department in the company and asked the selected staff to be in the panel list for this new perfume project. The panel were then asked to do a sniff test and record their preferences on the check sheet. zsharer analysed the check sheet and prepared the report based on the most preferred perfume by the panel. zsharer liaise with the marketing staff on the chosen perfume and once the perfume were confirmed during product development meeting, then further proceed with the packaging image study.

iii) Creativity and innovation: developing your own ideas to produce new engineering, technical or scientific solutions, new designs and new technological approaches:

During the launching of the new detergent box, zsharer developed a new powder formulation based on the product concept given by the marketing department. zsharer was also involved in perfume selection, detergent performance study, packaging study and carton study. For the formulation study, zsharer was responsible to develop the optimum ratio between the surfactant and the filler raw material so that the density of the powder is within the product specifications. zsharer analysed past test run data to make alterations to the batch formulation calculationzsharer measured the percentage of the enzyme needed to carry out the cleaning on the stubborn dirt by conducting performance test by using a special soiled cloth in a mini rotary washing machine. Once the formulation is confirmed a trial test run is conducted to study the suitable size and dimension for packing. Several mock up carton is prepared according to the arrangement of box inside a carton. The carton is used in a test run during real packaging activity in the production line and the operator are asked to give their feedback on the suitability according to their speed and body movement.Then zsharer designed the carton size and pallet pattern by using a jigsaw method.  Once confirmed the pallet pattern is stamped on the carton box for storekeeper guidance in the logistic department.

iv) Scientific or technical evaluation and optimisation (of product, process, equipment, method, project etc against the requirements you identified, or the brief you were given.):

During her first two years, zsharer have been involved in several project leading to the launching of a totally new product and also upgrading our leading detergent brands. In other words zsharer had responsibility for taking the sheet of paper with the new formula and turning it into a new box of Dobi washing powder. The early development work is conducted in the pilot plant where they make batches of products which have to be tested for consistency and performance. In here the perfume selection and packing study also been conducted. The next steps are to run trials at their production line to make sure that they achieved the product as per the specification.The challenge was exciting, and an added bonus was the satisfaction zsharer get from seeing my products on supermarket shelves.

v) Planning and execution of projects: organising or performing technical work to implement or validate solutions, designs etc:

zsharer was selected as one of the key player in the planning and execution of new gas sulphonation plant. The company need a new gas sulphonation plant as our production capacity became limited due to the shortage of the main raw material – surfactant they had to order from surfactant supplier. It had taken 4 months to design, 6 months to build and about 3 months before commission. A team of them worked 8-hour shifts, three days on, three days off to commission it. It was quite an experience! zsharer responsibility involved in summarizing all the raw material required for gas sulphonation. zsharer calculated the material balance needed for all the reaction involved  in the sulphonation process flow. zsharer also checked the quality of the raw materials, intermediate products and finished products. The raw materials zsharer was working with were delicate products, but the job was not simply working with chemical and liquid products.  In between, zsharer also took part in designing and commissioning a new reactor for a plant producing a fabric softener, followed by an investigation into the suitable container design for its packaging.

Cost saving project was a great challenge for zsharer. She was required to outsource new material with cheaper price without sacrificing the product quality and performance to lower down the total product cost. Usually zsharer tried to replace filler material and lower the surfactant content but maintaining the product performance at its high importance. As the performance of detergent is based on it cleaning activity zsharer also have the option of changing the enzyme type in the formulation. This required her to liaise with the enzyme company on the best enzyme selection. The selected enzyme undergone a lab trial test for cleaning performance and then a test run is scheduled. This require proper planning with the production department as not to affect their production capacity.  Usually if the test run is successful the new cost saving formulation is implemented once gaining approval from the production director.

vi) Ability to handle health, hazard and safety aspects: to apply appropriate principles, good practice, meet legislative requirements etc.

zsharer was appointed as a safety representative for her department and her responsibility involved in assuring everything in the lab is in well order and follow the safety regulation. Once a month, all the safety representative for each department have a meeting and discuss any safety issue related to each respective department. Then they have a follow up action by visiting all area in the factory especially at the production area where accident is more prone to occur. They straight away notified the respective department if their area did not meet their safety requirement and they were asked to rectify the problem in a week time. This practice are very beneficial to the company as the company achieved zero accident number throughout the year. zsharer had organized a safety and health day for the company where a blood donation campaign took place and  invited Jabatan Bomba Johor to demonstrate a fire fighting session.

vii) Ability to handle commercial and economic aspects:

In the launching of a new detergent box projeczsharer act as the project coordinator that her main responsibilities were to coordinate monthly meeting and gathered all necessary information from the respective department. Besides that zsharer prepared market analysis, competitor analysis and product concept with regards to the new detergent box commercial aspect. On the economic aspect, zsharer was put in charge on the product formulation where it is crucial in determining the price for one unit of the product. Price setting also required a packaging material sourcing where zsharer used my negotiation skill to get the best price for the packaging material.

viii) Demonstrating leadership in a professional role:

During her tenure as a production chemist in Southern Lion, zsharer was responsible in maintaining good laboratory practice and keeping the documentation updated. The company decided to apply for ISO 9001 quality management certification  szsharer was put in charge of preparing all the documentation required – work instruction, raw material form, product performance test and design control procedure. zsharer act as a leader and delegated the jobs to the technician as well as the assistant chemist to gather all the information we needed. The teamwork was good among them and they managed to compile all the documents prior to the  ISO 9001 audit. Once they secured ISO 9001, the company starts on planning to apply for ISO 14000 which aim to minimize their operation waste that can affect the environment.


It was one of the best times in zsharer life as zsharer was really interested in the idea of making a product that she would be able to see on the shelves.

zsharer still remember of getting lot of satisfaction out of seeing the new launched products in the supermarket shelves or seeing the adverts on television and being able to think “I helped make that!!”.

For  a fresh graduate in Chemical Engineering, you can call them to ask for a vacancy and send them your CV if they have open position. If you like what you read above and ready for some challenges, zsharer truly recommend ?? this company for your first job upon graduation.

Job Descriptions

  • Responsible in R&D projects and product development activities
  • Monitor trial run of new product or processes at production lines
  • Maintain & compliance to ISO 9001 & ISO 14001
  • Provide technical and trouble-shooting support to production on formulation related issues


  • Good communication skill and fluent in English and Malay language
  • Self motivated and result oriented, able to plan and control assigned task
  • Willing to work extra hours if required

Minimum Qualifications

  • Degree in Chemistry or equivalent
  • Fresh graduates are welcomed

They offer a 5-day work week and excellent career advancement with a competitive remuneration package. Interested candidates are invited to e-mail enclosing a detailed resume to recruitment@southernlion.com.my or send to:

Admin & Human Resource Dept
No 3, Jalan Firma 2,
Kws. Perindustrian Tebrau 1
81100 Johor Bahru
Tel: 07-354 6042

click http://www.southernlion.com.my/career/ for further details on open vacancy in Southern Lion