The growth rate of our business in East and Central Europe is higher than any other part of the world in the last several years

InterviewSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 2/2008

Mazak is one of the companies, setting the technical trends in the field of machine tool building. What are the technical specifications of most up-to-date metal cutting machines?

High technical level has sense only if it is appreciated by customers. It means that it shall be practical and needed technology only when it could contribute to customers’ factory operation and business operation. The technology that Yamazaki Mazak approach its completion are multiple machining technology including simultaneous 5 axes machining, various unmanned technology to remarkably improve productivity, and ‘Intelligent technology’. Development in accuracy and speed will continue, and we do not believe that there is an end to improve them. We are of the opinion, however, that customers demand more and more the aforementioned three points in terms of technology these days. Customers in Bulgaria for us increasingly make their decision in investing products with ‘multi-task’ and ‘unmanned’ technology year by year, which tells that those are the very technology that customers are searching for all over the world.

What is the trend of the technical development of metal cutting machines in the future?

The most looked for and demanded one amongst the aforementioned three technologies is the ‘Intelligent technology’. We name machines with this technology ‘Intelligent machine’. Machines by themselves understand operation status and environment, analyze them, and give advices to operators in order they can achieve the best machining. For example, slight vibration generated in changing axes during machining give influence on work-pieces surface. ‘Active Vibration Control’ reduces such influence electronically which enables less experienced operators accomplish desirable finished surface on work-pieces. In addition to that, we have developed ‘Intelligent Safety Shield’ to prevent operators from crashing machines by wrong operations, and ‘Intelligent Thermal Shield’ to minimize accuracy fluctuation by heat generation. Those ‘Intelligent technologies’, compensate human errors and lack of operators’ experiences are very new and remarkable in coming age when experienced operators and engineers will be in shortage.

In SEE country people are talking much about the proverbial Japanese devotion to the company. Please tell us about the personnel policy of Mazak?

We traditionally regard that human resources are asset not shown in balance sheet. Companies easily make their human resources redundant are increasing not only in USA and Europe, but in Japan, which we find very sorry when we see they eventually lose valuable asset and company vitality. We do not invest unnecessary even if economic climate comes up, and pay our greatest attention to employees’ growth in number. We share such mind between management and employees to overcome together difficult time under bad economic climate. We believe that it will create trust and cooperation between employer and employees, and we have been practicing in such way for many years.

What is the role of South East European markets in the global strategy of Mazak?

First of all, I would like to mention that the growth rate of our business in East and Central Europe is higher than any other part of the world in the last several years. Order income is rather buoyant. This buoyancy started at the beginning from Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary that are your neighborhood. Like other industry, this trend has extended to southern part, Romania and Bulgaria. We regard the region very important, and are going to establish ‘Technology Centers’ in order to support customers in various ways. What customers wish to have is machines with high performance and productivity, and at the same time, after-service and technical support from manufacturers for a long period of time. Technology Centers have important role in such respect as we wish customers to use Mazak machines with ease of mind. We plan to develop and deliver such machines that can respond to customers’ needs in the region in order to get Mazak conventional CNC machines, made not only in Japan but UK, and eventually many more CNC machine tools come into wide use.

It would be interesting to hear your opinion on the Bulgarian market in comparison to our neighbour countries or compared to the Central European countries?

Sales growth of Yamazaki Mazak in the Bulgarian market is remarkable. 2007 is 2.1 times more than the previous year. This is the highest growth compared to any other markets in the central European countries and neighborhood. We appreciate for the self-sacrificing activities of our partner ‘Bimex’ for customers, and we believe above all that this is the result of customers’ approval to Mazak products and services. Automotive industry is one of the largest users of machine tools. As far as I know, however, there is not so many users in this branch in Bulgaria. We are content to the result achieved knowing this fact, and continue to observe the market as so promising one for the future.

What is the Mazak policy in respect to Japanese, American and European competitors?

It is important to know what competitors are and who they are, and we are trying to do so. However, what we have to pay attention to most is not competitors but customers’ needs and customers’ industrial branches’ trends. This is the very starting point of company activity. It is important to win the competition in terms of business. But what is more important is to sense changes of customers’ value, and find out that they are all different from market by market from all over the world. Our company activity starts from a customer and ends at a customer. This is the principle. We are paying our best efforts to develop products to suit customers’ needs mobilizing our wisdom and experience, establish supporting system that ensure customers to receive service wherever they are in the world.

Bulgaria has good traditions in machinetool production. What is the possibility for Mazak to start manufacturing of high-tech machine tools in Bulgaria?

We have 4 production facilities in Japan and 4 overseas. As for produced number of machines, that in overseas exceeded first time that in Japan in 2007. There is no other machine tool manufacturers that develop production so globally other than Yamazaki Mazak. At present, there is no plan to build machines in central Europe including Bulgaria. It is however the region has such potentiality as it would be a candidate for the production base in future since there are machine tool manufacturers and people engaged in the business.

At the end, what kind of advice would You give to Bulgarian machine tool branch? What is the right direction for its development from the stand point of the global machinetool market situation and trends?

Bulgaria has long history of machine tool and ranked No. 15 in the world in terms of production. There are some companies that produce machines with excellent technology and export them to Western countries. There is no case to compete against us yet, but I think they will grow with the local manufacturing industry in the region. There are several factors to be successful in machine tool business. Ability to develop excellent technology and products almost every year, continue investment to have production equipment and capability to be the first in the market, organize sales and service net-work all over the world in order to find potentials, and strengthen financial aspect of company because the machine tool branch is very fragile to ups and downs of economic climate. It is important to manage the aforementioned 4 points well in balance, and make the company operation stable. We have been practicing them that appear to be ‘common sense’ over many years, and get the No. 1 position in the world. We did not take such a method as purchasing competitors to become big, but we did it all by our own company efforts. This policy remain the same in the future.

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