The reputation of the Japanese for being hardworking and quality-conscious is not just a cliché. This is proved by the family-run company Daisan Kouki. The job shop processes sheet metal for the automotive industry and relies on technology made in Switzerland. The machines run around the clock—this is the only way to guarantee the highest quality while meeting the ever shorter lead times. We take a glimpse behind the scenes. Article by Stefan Jermann, Bystronic Group.
Tokyo Central Railway Station. It stands there like an arrow in a taut bow, the rolling legend: the Shinkansen. The interior of the fastest train in the world reflects much of that has made Japan what it is today: a high-tech nation that visitors experience almost like a journey into the future. Everywhere one looks, there is state-of-the-art technology and innovative design. Also inside the Shinkansen. One example of this are the rotating seats, which can be turned against the direction of travel if required.
Travelling to Nagoya with closed eyes, you hardly notice the tremendous speed of more than 320 kilometers per hour. It’s only when you look out of the window that you realize how fast you are actually tearing through the countryside. In addition to technical perfection, the Shinkansen also demonstrates the exeptional service mentality in Japan: Hungry or thirsty travelers need only wait a short while before one of the super-friendly staff comes by to offer snacks.
At the focal point of the automotive industry
The 366 kilometres to Nagoya take virtually no time at all. The journey to the city with a population of 2.5 million, the coal point of the Japanese car industry, takes just one and three-quarter hours. This is where all the major Japanese car manufacturers have their factories: Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Mazda. Nagoya generates approximately the same gross domestic product (GDP) as all of Norway. The cargo port and the well-developed land routes facilitate smooth logistics; over the years many suppliers have settled in the vicinity of the renowned car manufacturers. One of the companies that produce here is the family enterprise Daisan Kouki.
The company has been firmly in the family for 70 years. “In the 1960s, Daisan Kouki was a pure family business,” says Noriyuki Wakahara, the managing director of the company, which today has 104 employees. The core business of the company founder, his grandfather-in-law, was trading sheet metal. “One day, when a customer asked why we don’t also process sheet metal, we saw the light,” Wakahara recalls.
In 2004, Daisan Kouki, took its first step into the world of sheet metal processing and purchased a 2 kilowatt laser cutting system. In the years that followed, the factory was continuously expanded – among other things to comply with increasingly strict earthquake safety standards.
“We have always attached great value to reliably meeting even the highest quality requirements and have thus made a good name for ourselves on the industry,” says Wakahara. Most of his customers are active in the automotive sector. The parts that Daisan Kouki manufacturers support the production, above all in creating the production chain.
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