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Mitsuya: more than 100 plating solutions with a global proyection

Mr. Seiichiro Kusama, President of Mitsuya Co., Ltd.

Mr. Seiichiro Kusama

President of Mitsuya Co., Ltd.

Mitsuya was established in 1931, and has provided a wide range of the plating services and finishing services for various industries. We concentrated on the plating services and finishing services for functional property improvement of industrial products. Recently, our plating technology was adopted in the experimental equipment of Space shuttle Endeavour by U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for a space development.

What is the essence of the Japanese Monozukuri? Why is highly competitive globe companies should pay an extra dollar to buy Japanese products or services?

Technology is advancing at an accelerated speed these days, this poses a threat to Monozukuri as e.g. AI, ALT, Big Data…are challenging companies to demonstrate their competitive advantages. It is increasingly difficult to detect whether one company is better than another as Monozukuri is being more and more digitalized. The point is, how do we distinguish ourselves? How do we prove our competitive advantages?

Our company has tackled this obstacle through a straightforward mechanism; we have made every effort to respond to our customers' demands. In some instances, we have even provided plate services in areas outside of our business. We have endeavored to accumulate as much expertise as possible and ultimately succeeded in gaining the trust of the customers. Thanks to our valued employees we have been able to achieve this, without them it would not have been feasible. We harness and tressure their strength, our priority now is their training.

By the time I came to this company, it was the seniors who were responsible for showing the young staff every part of the process. Despite tracing exactly what the veteran did on a one-on-one teaching method the outcome was utterly dissimilar. This brought me to my senses, and now I aim to be able to convey the intuitive knowledge through a solid training program. To this end, I have hired pro-educators who will teach employees how to transmit these know-hows, as we are not all born instructors.

On the plating process, there are multiple things we have yet to disclose which is why we have invested in machinery to conduct research, to further our understanding.

SMEs. What role does Mitsuya play in the global super chain?

We have a great deal of pride in being able to support the largest companies in Japan. However, with the rising power of technological advancements happening in "cheaper" regions, large Japanese companies are shifting their manufacturing processes overseas.

To rise to this challenge we needed to push beyond and not just rely on big Japanese companies such as Toyota or Panasonic but rather supply to larger non-Japanese corporate firms. This is the reason underlying our "English" tab on the website, the opportunity to partner with global giants.

Japan is currently ranked 28th in the global productivity chain, which is a low blow since we used to lead the list. A series of factors have led us to this position but we must emphasize our incapability to adapt and catch up to digital trends. Is key for SMEs to make an effort and increase their total productivity, naturally, there are SMEs that have been able to challenge the global market and create an impact. We are striving to that as a goal.

Why are you the to-go, partner, when it comes to plating technology? Share with us a case study when you have been collaborating with a foreign corporation?

Since our foundation in 1931, we have been able to develop up to 100 different types of plating. This is a great advantage as it shows we can adapt to the specific requests of our clients to develop a unique and personalized service that meets their needs.

In terms of gold plating technologies, we do not cater to the entire industry of gold plating but rather we are specialized in highly reflective gold plating which we call Endeavour. We have the technology in progress to make the opposite process of UV absorption which has been approved and recognized by JAXA.

We have been able to continue to steady accumulate an extensive range of expertise on this niche field of specialized technology, being able to develop 100 different plating types in our portfolio is a great strength. A further advantage is the fact act we can continue to derive and make possible difficult processes working together with companies as a siding contractor.

Which market you will find opportunities for your technologies?

In terms of experience and history, highly reflective gold plating is higher. Globally the market which offers more opportunities for us would be Europe and the aerospace sector. Our unique plating technology was adopted in the experimental equipment of Space shuttle Endeavour by U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for space development.

Could you share the story behind this collaboration?

In September 1992 Dr. Mamoru Mohri was the first Japanese to go into space, his research was focussed Gallium Nitride ( material now used in semiconductors) and how it could be utilized in aerospace. To melt and make this material malleable the usage of light, reflective, and heat treatment is required. Our Highly Reflective Gold Plating enables this process to happen.

A direct partnership was not established, it was through Japanese companies such as MEC and IHI that we build a relation. NASA demanded high-quality technology and we were able to supply it.

Our Nickel Plate has a high global share (40/50%), widely used e.g. for the use of wire bonding used in car components. We supply it to automotive companies and they supply it to diverse car makers.

Could you please run us through your distribution channels regarding your overseas market? And here in Japan? Do you go through partnerships, distributors…?

They are mainly on the level of Tier 3, however, if we were to get an order of mass production we have direct contact with larger companies such as Tier 1 and Tier 2 that come to check and make sure the order is in place.

What are the opportunities that you foresee for your company regarding the advancements of telecommunications and 5G?

Our plating is used in smartphones and utilized on the infrastructures of 5G. One thing we can foresee is a combination of metals and gold will allow the appearance of 6G and 7G in the near future.

We imagine a metal alloy combining gold and the metal used in bells, will be used to create a new type of combination of plating that will be utilized in the front end of communication towers (antennas) to deliver higher levels of current and speed at a higher reliability.

Is there any particular industry that you would like to tackle with your technologies?

The rising trend in miniaturization and the use of semi-conductor and wayfarers represents an opportunity for us since more plating types will be required to treat different materials.

On the 5G sector, further components to minimize digital noise will be needed. Rumors say that up until now they have been cutting out this electric noise using copper and nickel but is no longer enough,

What would be your midterm strategy to continue your corporate growth? What roles does the overseas market play?

We implemented our international strategy in 3-year periods, this year falls in the last year of our previous strategy. We are in the process of developing the next one. Our two main challenges are: how we can expand our global presence and how we can incorporate the new trends to enhance our productivity. We are currently focusing our efforts on creating a more successful organizational structure that will allow us to deliver at a higher speed and more efficiently, nationally, and overseas. Due to the Pandemic, it is more challenging to establish a relationship with our overseas clients so we work through online exhibitions. This year alone we have had different business meetings with companies from Spain, Canada, France, the US, and Switzerland.

In the world of plating is unrealistic to receive products from overseas to plate and then return them, so I believe the strategy relies on looking for SMEs that can incorporate our plating technologies within their components and products. This will increase the added value of the products and then we can easily have them rolled out overseas.

Up until now due to our limited level of English, we found it complicated to establish connections with overseas partners, except now this has changed after recruiting two foreign employees.

If we were to come back in 10 years and interview you all over again, what would you like to have achieved by then? Before you retire.

I believe 10 years from now I will no longer be the head of the company, my greatest challenge so far is to succeed in giving the company global recognition. There are already nearly 700 companies that trust our services and I intend to make that trust, security, and that value we project, global.


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