A firm founded over 75 years ago, Kaneda supplies superb steel parts for a host of major companies’ manufacturing plants.
The Japanese company Kaneda Corporation has established itself as a trusted, specialist supplier of large-scale steel parts for manufacturing plants.
Boasting a client portfolio that features industrial giants such as JFE Steel group, Kawasaki Engineering and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries group, Kaneda offers a comprehensive service, taking care of the design, manufacture, transportation and installation of expertly-made products including pipes, ducts, tanks, mounts, dampers and conveyors. “Our customers get the full package,” says the firm’s president, Mio Hatashima.
“Kaneda was founded in 1947 by my grandfather,” Ms. Hatashima explains. “We originally manufactured metal buckets, but that business later evolved to metal sheet processing, specifically making roofs and walls for buildings. Listening to our customers’ suggestions that we shift to steel frame manufacturing for construction components, we entered this new field. However, the construction industry has its ups and downs. When it was down, we decided to go into plant manufacturing.”
Based in Tamano, Okayama Prefecture, Kaneda crafts unique, custom-made parts. “No two products are identical,” Ms. Hatashima says. “Nothing is manufactured again for other use. Each time, we make an individual manufacturing plan.”
On top of its Okayama production site, Kaneda also boasts a factory in Dalian, China – and this ability to manufacture both at home and abroad allows the company to cater to a range of needs. “Since some customers strictly require products to be made in Japan, we can do that at our mother factory here,” Ms. Hatashima notes. “Some customers don’t require quite such high quality, though, so we can produce those items overseas to reduce the cost. This gives us an advantageous position in the market. We provide after-sales maintenance and full support, too, so it’s no surprise that we’ve become a go-to partner for major companies.”
With Japan’s aging, dwindling population leading to a shrinking domestic market, Kaneda is out to bolster its international client base by strengthening its presence abroad. “We’re looking overseas for expansion, but it’s still too early to say where we’ll do that exactly,” Ms. Hatashima says.
Kaneda’s growing global focus is also central to its efforts to overcome the reduced talent pool caused by Japanese population decline, as the company seeks to leverage its commitment to fostering a diverse workforce. “We’ve been actively recruiting and welcoming foreign associates,” Ms. Hatashima reveals. “There has been a regulation change in Japan that allows these trainees to stay here for longer, instead of short-term. Our foreign associates from China, Indonesia, Brazil and the Philippines are very excited about this.
“We want to provide equal opportunities to all, including women and foreign associates. Diversity and inclusion are the big themes that we highly value in our employment scheme. The steelwork industry is oftentimes dominated by men, but we have talented young women who are tirelessly doing sales, architectural designs and procurement.
“We’ve been acknowledged by WEConnect International, a U.S. non-profit organization, as a firm that actively promotes women in the company. WEConnect has more than 180 member companies that are committed to sourcing products and services from women-owned businesses worldwide, allowing us to build links with various companies globally. We’re hoping that this network can help us develop a strong overseas business.”