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"Fuserashi" Delivering Precisions Nuts and Automotive Parts to the World from a Manufacuting City [Fuserashi]

Secret to Robustness
  • Honing high precision, mass production technology in the areas of heading and forging.
  • Three production bases overseas to support automotive globalization.
  • Obtaining new business through close contact with users

Fuserashi is an independent manufacturer producing primarily precision nuts and automotive parts with four production plants in Japan and as well as plants in the United States, China, and Thailand. As a "Tier 1" supplier delivering products directly to automakers, the company does a wide range of business with automakers in Japan. Its headquarters are located in the city of Higashi Osaka, which is known for its industrial parks filled with small factories, and the company's production and sales including products destined for overseas are at a high level. According to President Mamoru Shimada, "Realistically tailored management is the basis. We want to be a company that can continue evolving one step at a time."

Leading with Mass Production Equipment for Nuts

Fuserashi was founded in 1933, and it took 50 years for it to reach 10 billion yen in sales. However, in the next 20 years, it reached 20 billion yen in sales, and then a mere 5 years later, it reached the 30 billion yen mark for sales. Metal parts produced through heading and forging are the company's core business, and automotive related parts account for 60% of sales. Automotive parts always involve cost reductions, and with orders being received for the same parts, sales and profit have been shrinking year by year. To compensate for this and ensure growth, Fuserashi targets and achieves 10% of its sales in the area of new products. Most recently, products related to automotive fuel efficiency performance have been going strong.

Fuserashi has had three major milestones in its 80-year history. The first was in 1959 when it introduced nut former equipment from Hatebur of Switzerland and embarked on mass production. At the time, screw manufacturers in Japan were primarily using cutting to machine nuts and screws. However, Fuserashi quickly introduced Western-style heading equipment, and ramped up its daily production volume from several 1,000 pieces to several 10,000 pieces. The second major milestone occurred in the mid-1970s. It was then that the company introduced hot forming equipment for large diameter nuts, and thereby began participating in the production of automotive parts. To reflect this change, the company changed its name in 1976 from Fuse Rashi Industrial. The third milestone occurred in 1985 when the company embarked on globalization spurred on by the strong yen following the Plaza Accord. In Japan, Fuserashi expanded its production system by moving into Gunma Prefecture in 1965, Oita Prefecture in 1973, and Mie Prefecture in 1988. In 1996, the company began operating its first overseas plant in Ohio, USA, which was followed in 2004 by a plant in China, and then by a plant in Thailand in 2008.

Dedicated to Continuous Progress

Numerous small and medium size companies engaged in the same type of business were located in Higashi Osaka, making screws a local industry. However, President Shimada explained how Fuserashi was able to set itself apart from the other companies and stated, "Rather than competing with the other local companies, we associated with them by taking a stance as a cooperating company." Fuserashi, which specializes in mass produced products, formed a division of labor system in which it accepted production jobs from other companies in the same industry who were unable to increase production volume, and then on the other hand, entrusted subcontractors with small lot orders. Just under 20% of Fuserashi's sales is from product made by subcontractors based on the Fuserashi brand and its own quality control.

Also, since its founding, Fuserashi's basic policy has been to engage in sales with reasonable profit, and to achieve this, the company has supplied product directly to the user rather than engaging in sales through a wholesaler as other companies do. The company's relationship with its customers that has been cultivated through this type of stance has characterized its business expansion. "Staying one step ahead of others." This is the company's motto that was set forth by its founder, the now-deceased Eitaro Shimada. He made certain that the employees understood that "You don't need to take two or three steps ahead of others. You only need to be continuously advancing a little at a time."

Realistic Management Recognizing that Quick Course Changes are OK

On the other hand, management decision making is done carefully and deliberately. According to President Shimada, "We don't invest in equipment unless we have backing in the form of orders. If we're having difficulty making a decision, then we stop for a moment and think about it one more time. It's OK to change a course of action. We try to be realistic and not unreasonable. However, we also have to be prepared to carry through and try to do what is absolute. These points are part of the meaning of our company's motto."

Overseas production now accounts for approximately 30% of Fuserashi's total sales. The company's headquarters and main plant in Higashi Osaka, where the directioning of the company is decided, were rebuilt between 2006 and 2007, and with that move, the goods produced there were narrowed down to small products such as micro screws, and thus its sense of production scale was decreased. The reason for this change is that the surrounding area has been converted to residential lots, so the company shifted the production of many of its products that generate noise during the production process to its plants in Gunma and Mie. "While the products are no longer made in Higashi Osaka, they are still made from Higashi Osaka, so Higashi Osaka remains an important location. We want Japan to continue taking the lead in the creation of new products, and will continue investing in our domestic plants as well so that our mother plant does not become a grandmother plant," stated President Shimada with resolution.

Various parts from Fuserashi are used in a single vehicle.

Various parts from Fuserashi are used in a single vehicle.


Production with Priority Focused on the Factory Floor

President Mamoru Shimada is the grandson of the company's founder, and was appointed as the company's president in 2007. When the company launched a plant in the United States, Shimada spent 14 years there focusing his efforts on achieving localization. He explained with a smile on his face, "About a fourth of our 80 or so employees in the United States have been with the company for at least 10 years. In the United States, this level of a retention rate is high and quite rare." In Japan as well, Fuserashi has positioned its plants as its top showcase, and it has established a positive reputation for the streamlined layout of its plants and its meticulous implementation of the 5S methodology (sort, straighten, shine, standardize, and sustain). With a stance of focusing priority on its factory floors without rushing expansion, it will be interesting to see how the company evolves moving forward. Attention will certainly be focused on Fuserashi as a model case for a medium-sized Japanese company.

Company Data

President:Mamoru Shimada

President:Mamoru Shimada

Company name Fuserashi Co., Ltd.
President Mamoru Shimada
Industry Type Manufacturing and sales of metal machined parts
Address 11-74 Takaida, Higashi Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Phone 06-6789-7121

Printing day:August 7, 2014

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