February 5, 2014
February 5, 2014
|Toshiko Satake |
Chairperson and CEO
Satake Metals Industries Co. Ltd. (Chairperson: Toshiko Satake) celebrates its 50th year in business in 2014. Founded as a mass-production plant for farm size grain drying and processing equipment, the factory has evolved into a complex manufacturing base. It has done so by changing its production system from line production to module production, and moreover, starting GABA rice production. Satake Metals Industries aspires to become the model factory for a regional business model of sustainable and profitable circular agriculture.
Satake Metals Industries was founded in 1964 with 75 employees by Robert S. Satake, its Executive Managing Director of Satake Engineering Company Ltd., to improve the efficiency of grain drying and processing equipment manufacturing through mass-production. 1964 was the special year for Satake Corporation, when it received orders for all 3 country elevators, a first in Japan.
The factory moved to its current premises in 1969 and has increased its production since then. Demand for rice drying and processing equipment steadily increased. The factory manufactured 80 units of grain dryers per day in 1975. In 1976 the factory employed 225 workers.
In 1979, when the factory got a project off the ground to reform its production system to improve productivity, the painting module was destroyed in a fire. Through an enormous effort by employees and support by subcontract factories, the factory came through this crisis, extended its production capacity, and has kept with increasing market demand. There were days when demand exceeded production and cargo trucks had to line up and wait for products to be delivered.
In 1998 the factory faced crisis again. Demand in Japan sharply declined due to the collapse of the bubble economy. Satake Corporation reviewed and reformed the production system of group factories and shifted mass-production of rice drying and processing equipment by Satake Metals Industries to Tohoku Satake Co., Ltd. Satake Metals Industries was then requested to manufacture industrial size machinery for large scale rice mills and agricultural facilities.
In the days when Satake Metals Industries concentrated on mass-production of farm size equipment, employees were requested to repeat the same activity properly and efficiently in station. However, they were requested to work in various stations in a production module because each module would manufacture various types and specifications of machinery. They were cross-trained and expected to be able to decipher many types of drawings. This change in the production system let all employees change the way they worked in a profound way, and the skills of individual workers gradually improved.
Satake Metals Industries started producing GABA rice in 2012. This is to realize the vision that Satake Corporation aspires towards: “Healthier People through Diet” and “Realize Sustainable Agricultural Development”. Satake Metal Industries is expected to be the key complex to demonstrate a sustainable and profitable circular agriculture, because the factory is located in Toyosaka Town of Higashi-Hiroshima City where various industries accumulate, like rice cropping, dry-field cropping, fruit farming and stockbreeding etc.
Today, Satake Metals Industries delivers GABA rice to Omusubino GABA, rice ball shops in Higashi-Hiroshima and Akihabara, and GABA rice flour to Farm Oda, an agricultural corporation, for baking.
Satake Metals Industries manufactures the GABA Rice Production System, installs it themselves and produces GABA rice using it. Because they know everything about GABA rice and GABA Rice Production Systems, they can fix any problems immediately without assistance from Satake Corporation, and they can provide feedback on what they learned through GABA rice production to machine production. Satake Metals Industries aspires to have two core businesses: machine production and food production.
Satake Metals Industries is renovating its facilities. In December 2013, the new office building was completed. The new building has no walls among the sections and all sections from general affairs and administration to technical and manufacturing are in one office. Communication has become much better in work and off-work, and office and technical staff work in the factory to support workers during the busiest periods.
Tetsuma Murawaka, Director and Factory Manager, says “It is indispensable to improve the ability of individual workers to run a variety of businesses. We will keep our work environment good and improve it with better communication, so that every worker can perform his/her best.” The factory has a renovation program to optimize its production system and plant layout so that it can respond to requests from customers for quality, cost and delivery. Satake Metals Industries is striving ahead for the next 50 years
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