Sunday, Jan 20, 2019
Industry & Trade | Asia-Pacific | Japan

Banshu Electric Equipment

Japanese quality, hand made


4 weeks ago

Akihiko Yoneda, president and CEO of Banshu Electric
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Akihiko Yoneda

President and CEO of Banshu Electric

Akihiko Yoneda, president and CEO of Banshu Electric, a leader in the manufacture of wire harnesses for the automotive industry, says that while Japanese manufacturers cannot compete with China or South Korea on price, those same competitors cannot match Japan on quality.

 

Since the rise of Japan’s private sector in the post-war period, Japanese Monozukuri has been widely spoken about, but often misunderstood. In recent years, we have seen regional peers copying and replicating the Monozukuri manufacturing processes at a lower cost.
What are the main competitive advantages of Japanese manufacturing compared to its competitors (China, Korea)? Could you explain to us what the essence of Monozukuri means to you?

As you said, in the last few years we have seen competitors manufacturing products at cheaper costs. When we talk about cost, we cannot compete with China or South Korea for example because while they focus on price, Japanese manufacturers focus on quality. Quality is our main advantage and as a matter of fact those other countries cannot compete with our quality standards. Banshu Electric works as an OEM providing solutions for large companies on demand, we need to deliver high quality for our clients. 

For us it is important to incorporate the Japanese spirit of Wabi-sabi when implementing the manufacturing process of Monozukuri. Wabi-sabi allows us to focus on appreciating something for what it is, rather than focusing on what something could be. In that sense, we focus on the uniqueness of Japanese Monozukuri, which is characterized by its high quality, rather than a focus on low prices. Our customers choose us because we make efforts to respond to their needs to keep that level of high quality and because of that they keep trusting us year after year.

 

Regarding this differences between Japan and other markets, we have met with many presidents across Japan who have emphasized the difference between “Made in Japan” and ‘Made by Japan’ -- ‘Made in Japan’ referring to the technologies and know-how that Japanese companies have accumulated while being able to maintain the same level of quality when manufacturing abroad ‘Made by Japan’. How do you maintain the same quality characteristics of ‘Made in Japan’ when manufacturing abroad?

At Banshu we set the same quality standards both for ‘Made in Japan’ and ‘Made by Japan’ when manufacturing in our plant located in Indonesia. To maintain the same level of quality we focus on two aspects, technology and education.

In terms of technology, we use IoT to control processes and track our products. IoT is widely used nowadays and in our case we implement it in the tracking system, inspection procedures and shipment processes. We take into consideration all of this data, every step of the manufacturing and delivering processes are controlled as a way to preserve the quality of our products. If our clients contact us regarding any problem with our products, we can identify if there has been any issue and at what level to solve it immediately through this highly accurate system.

I have a background in engineering myself and an extensive know-how regarding Monozukuri manufacturing processes so planning this system was a smooth process. I explained everything that we needed to design the most efficient system and based on those requirements our programmers developed the appropriate tools in-house. Some years ago, I was involved myself in designing and programming solutions, I am very committed when it comes to quality control guarantees for our clients.  Moreover, this system allows not only quality control but also inventory control.

The second aspect that I want to talk about is education, which is fundamental in manufacturing processes like ours in which 90% of the process is handmade. We make a particular effort to explain to our employees the importance of those controls. Through weekly management, quality control and production improvement meetings, our managers continue communicating our hard-working spirit at Banshu.

Local leaders are aware of how important it is to keep quality controls and we work to make our employees understand the necessity of having these processes as a way to ensure that Made in Japan and Made by Japan standards are aligned. We continually work on control processes, as an example looking to the future we are trying to realize IoH (Internet of Human) using a network-camera system in order to improve the manual processes that make up the 90%.

 

Banshu Electric Equipment provides solutions in a variety of segments like automotives and construction. Could you give as an overview of your products?

Banshu Electric provides solutions in three core businesses: rubber, plastics and wire harnesses, which represents our main business. We provide wire harness solutions in the automotive, motorcycle and construction industries.

Nowadays, every car has sensors installed and the body and the engine are controlled by computers. These automobiles have many devices inside and our wire harnesses allow those components to be connected. Our products are embodied in the body of automobiles or machines, so while our products are invisible to the final consumer they can be found in most products within those industries.

Regarding our plastics business, we provide solutions mainly in the motorcycle industry, our products are used for speedometers, lights and cables. We provide a tremendous variety of parts through our rubber division, especially for the motorbike industry.

 

Throughout the years, your company has expanded beyond Japanese borders and has now a plant in Indonesia. Can you tell us more about your international strategy? Which markets are you currently exporting to; and looking to the future which markets show the greatest growth potential for Banshu Electric?

As a SME our management capacities are limited so we want to expand internationally, step by step. Our strategy is focused on our production in our current plants in Japan and Indonesia. As I previously explained wire harnesses is a very unique business in which 90% of manufacturing is handmade, because of that it requires a strong know-how and experienced workers. By having our manufacturing processes centralized we will maintain our quality control allowing us to gradually export our reliable solutions to the next explosive growth market in the future.

Besides gradual internationalization, I am looking to expand our business more specifically in the Aircraft industry in the future. My main focus is to challenge Banshu Electric to keep growing in the upcoming years, by setting higher targets every year I expect the company and the employees to grow to contribute to the Banshu dream.

 

 


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