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Vibrant SMEs of JAPAN

Increasing competitiveness with a production management system and the latest equipment [Kurashiki Laser]

Secret to Robustness
  • High quality manufacturing using the latest equipment.
  • Efficient production organization via system integration.
  • Management that does more than just maintain the status quo.

"We feel that maintaining the status quo is the same thing as moving backwards." Susumu Nanba, president of Kurashiki Laser, is always facing forward. Kurashiki Laser's core competency is precision sheet metal processing for industrial machinery, construction machinery, and semiconductor fabrication equipment. The company's strength is an integrated production management system that covers everything from estimates through production and delivery. Kurashiki Laser has put in place an efficient production organization for high quality and fast delivery.

Increasing competitiveness through IT

Kurashiki Laser's motto is "pursuing world-class quality and speed." Since the company was established in 1983, it has worked to flexibly accommodate customer needs and reduce delivery times. One characteristic of the company has been its effort to be proactive about utilizing information technology and rolling it out throughout the business. Kurashiki Laser has built its own production management system that integrates the workflow across estimation, CAD design, production, and delivery. The company has also installed automation equipment developed in-house, enabling its laser processing equipment to run 24 hours a day, unattended.
When an inquiry is received from a customer, first the sales represesntative requests an estimate from the in-house order center. The order center sends the drawings from the customer to Kurashiki Laser's programming center in China, where the drawings are converted to CAD data. An estimate is then calculated according to the needed materials and required operations, based on this CAD data.
After an order is received, the CAD data is used to generate the data needed to control various processes in the factory, including laser processing, bending, and welding, and any necessary parts are built. Thus Kurashiki Laser is able to achieve a stable production of high quality, without having to rely on the experience and intuition of workers. The production management system allows Kurashiki Laser to reduce costs and increase its competitiveness. This system is highly regarded, and has won many awards.

Concentrating on developing new markets and increasing technical competency

In 2006, Kurashiki Laser established KRT Laser (Shanghai) Co., Ltd, in Shanghai, China, a joint investment with TOYO KOUKI (Yatomi City, Aichi Prefecture) and Mitsubishi Corp. This site allowed Kurashiki Laser to accommodate the increase in demand in China for high mix, low volume production.
With equipment such as high output laser processing machines, high precision press brakes, and welding robots, Kurashiki Laser has constructed an operation that can run unattended, 24 hours a day. Recently the company has installed a new 3 kW laser processing machine. This increases overall processing speed by increasing the output of the laser machinery, and supports processing of thicker materials.
Taking on work for a variety of fields, including semiconductor manufacturing equipment, construction related parts, and machinery parts, Kurashiki Laser aims to increase orders from major Japanese companies with sites in China, as well as from Chinese companies. Demand is increasing for electrical devices for home appliance makers and parts for industrial machinery. Company president Namba shows his confidence, saying, "There are difficult aspects, including the business structure and cost of working in China. However, if we can build personal relationships, we can get over the barriers."
Kurashiki Laser has the latest in equipment, including YAG laser processing machinery, and is increasing its sales and design staff. The company is expanding both its production and sales organizations in anticipation for an increase in domestic demand for parts that should accompany improvement in the Japanese economy. Continued refreshing of production facilities is indispensible to increase quality and production efficiency. From the year before last through last year, Kurashiki Laser invested over 400 million yen in facilities. "We must continually think of new things and challenge ourselves. Change is needed in everything," says Namba.
Each month the company receives over 15,000 design drawing documents from customers. To handle this enormous amount of information, Kurashiki Laser has also established a programming center in Beijing, China. Converting design drawings into CAD data is performed in cooperation between Japan and China; by increasing production efficiency, Kurashiki Laser is able to shorten delivery time and reduce costs.
In the future, Kurashiki Laser aims to increase both the quality of cost management and its technical competence. It plans to improve all its technology, centered around YAG welding, and thinks to further increase its level of automation. "We can't really say we have an integrated system if there are things that are difficult for our workers to deal with, or if quality depends on the workers. We want to increase our system integration in a way that is adapted to our factory, and make our company more competitive," states Namba.

Head office

Head office

One Point: Key Point is Foreign Market

Creating an organization that increases customer satisfaction

Company president Namba's management philosophy is to continually grow, rather than be complacent with the company's current situation. He aims to differentiate Kurashiki Laser from other companies, and to expand the business through management methods that increase competitiveness. The center of this effort is a thorough dedication to increasing production efficiency. He aims to be able to quickly respond to customer requests by not sparing expense in investing in IT-driven systems and the latest facilities. This strength is what makes it possible to realize the company policy, "we absolutely do not do work below cost." We look forward to seeing Kurashiki Laser's future actions in China.

Company Data

President:Susumu Nanba

President:Susumu Nanba

Company name Kurashiki Laser Co.,Ltd.
President Susumu Nanba
Industry Type Laser processing, precision sheet metal processing
Address Funao 2095-8, Funao-cho, Kurashiki-shi,Okayama Prefecture, Japan
Phone 086-552-5855

Printing day:April 22, 2014

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