Roland DG Corporation has opened its first manufacturing factory outside Japan. The new factory in the Kingdom of Thailand will serve as the worldwide export hub for the group.
Masahiro Tomioka, President of Roland DG Corporation, Japan, said, ‘As the economic expansion in developing countries including Asia is expected to grow further in the mid to long term, we decided to establish a production base in Thailand so as to plan and manufacture products which meet the demand of developing countries. It was Thailand’s good infrastructure and logistics, plus the availability of skilled labour, which made Thailand a very attractive destination for us. But more importantly, it was the presence of strong supporting industry network established through the efforts of the Thai government to attract companies to the region, and the investment incentives from The Thai Board of Investment (BOI) that made Thailand the location of choice for our global expansion.’
The purpose of establishing a factory in Thailand is also to increase the number of manufacture and procurement facilities available. While Thailand experienced disastrous flooding two years ago, the damage incurred from the earthquake and tsunami that same year in Japan disrupted the supply chain, and even affected the procurement of parts for products. Establishing manufacturing and procurement functions not only in Japan, but also overseas has merit from the viewpoint of cost and increasing price competitiveness, as well as holding merit on the point of risk reduction.
While there has been a recent slight easing in the strength of the yen, its sudden rise in value after the Lehman Shock required action; with procurement of parts in other currencies besides the Japanese yen being another purpose of this factory, allowing us to avoid foreign exchange risks. Furthermore, having become a group organization, our company is currently pushing ahead with its “Global One” reorganization in order to respond quickly and flexibly to meet increasingly complex global market and management environment changes. With this restructuring, the factory in Thailand will become a central base for operations in the region, and will be highly effective for responding quickly to the needs of developing countries and realizing prices demanded by the market. In the near future, it is expected that the factory will not only handle manufacturing and procurement functions, but also assume planning and design functions.
The construction of the Thai factory was started in January 2012 and became fully operational in October 2012. With the recent floods which plagued the region in and around Bangkok in mind, this new factory was designed with the floor of the factory at 190 centimeters above ground level, and 300 piles 26m long were driven to support the building from soft ground.
Akira Suzaki, President of Roland Digital Group (Thailand) Ltd., said, ‘By setting up a manufacturing factory in Thailand, Roland is now able to produce affordable products that meet the increasing demand for inkjet printers in the growing market including Asia. Today, almost all components to support production here are imported from Japan. The company is aiming to increase the local supply rate to 30% of the necessary components by the end of 2013, and more in the near future. Some of our Japanese suppliers are also planning to establish manufacturing facilities in Thailand. This will further increase our local production capability.’