Daiichi Jitsugyo India Pvt Ltd. (DJK), a renowned supplier of industrial manufacturing products, is making its mark globally with a presence in over 18 countries. In a recent technical interview, Rahul Chopra and Sharad Bhowmick from EFY sat down with Shigenori Yuki, the Managing Director of DJK India, to delve into the dynamic world of electronics manufacturing. With Yuki’s extensive experience in the industry, the discussion revolved around the strategies employed by DJK to navigate the ever-evolving landscape, tackle global market fluctuations, and address customer demands. Furthermore, Yuki shed light on the preferred manufacturing equipment in the Indian market and offers valuable insights into the challenges and advancements shaping the realm of electronics manufacturing.
Q. How did you evolve into electronics manufacturing products?
A: Actually, initially we started selling injection moulding machines in Saudi Arabia, catering to customers who needed plastic parts manufacturing. From there, we expanded our operations and began manufacturing plastic parts ourselves. About 30 to 40 years ago, we ventured into assembly businesses located in Japan, producing consumable products. Over time, our customers started expanding to the US, and they expressed a need for electronic chip mounters. Around eight years ago, we established a business partnership with Panasonic, and started selling chip mounters in India. Our collaboration with Panasonic led us to diversify beyond chip mounters and also focus on peripherals and other customer requirements. This marked the beginning of our journey into electronics manufacturing.
Q. Currently, what is the profile of the firm? How many countries are you in?
A. We are currently present in 18 countries, with our main operations concentrated in thirty-six locations.
Q. What is DJK’s role in the electronics ecosystem?
A. We have six business segments and one of the business segments is electronics. Currently, about 30% of Panasonic’s chip mounter sales are covered by DJK. Apart from that, we have exposure to the Chinese market, Southeast Asian market, US market, and European markets, including the Indian market.
Q. Since Panasonic also sells in some countries directly, are you their exclusive distributor, or are there other distributors in different geographies?
A. There are other distributors as well. We collaborate with Panasonic through several ways, but we also have our own manufacturing capabilities.
Q. What is the unique strength of DJK, and how have you maintained your dealership?
A. One of our key strengths is that many of our global customers are expanding their manufacturing locations worldwide. As a result, DJK has established subsidiaries in various countries, allowing us to provide direct engineering and sales support to our customers. We have engineers located in different regions who can assist customers on-site. This combination of technical expertise and direct support has been a significant factor in maintaining our dealership relationships. To summarise the answer, we have a good customer base that is expanding, and our support team ensures a seamless experience for our customers.
Q. Does most of your customers from Japan, or do you serve global customers as well?
A. We have customers from various regions, including China, Taiwan, and Korea, in addition to Japan. Our customer base extends globally.
Q. How long has DJK been in India?
A. We established DJK in India in 2006. Initially, our main customer was Samsung, as they began manufacturing mobile phones through knockdown operations. Since then, we have been supporting them and have witnessed significant growth in our customer base.
Q How has DJK grown in India, recently?
A. In 2016, we had two to three customers for electronics and in 2017 we had around 27 customers. However, over time, the number increased to 68 customers in the electronics sector. Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, we have experienced substantial growth. We believe that more customers will enter the Indian market, and we are committed to supporting them.
Q. If a global customer asks you whether they should invest in India, what would be your message to them?
A. Today, I would strongly agree to invest in India. The Indian economy is expanding, and the government is focused on improving infrastructure. In the past, infrastructure was a weak point for India, but the government’s initiatives have brought about significant improvements. This makes it a favourable time to establish a factory in India and manufacture products.
Q. Are there any major regions in India where you see high demand?
A. We currently have three locations in India: New Delhi, Bangalore, and Ahmedabad in Gujarat. We are now establishing our new office in Chennai. Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are also promoting customer investment. Northern side, Delhi, and Southern side, Chennai are particularly interesting for us due to the customer interest and government initiatives promoting investment in these areas.
Q. Do you have team members located in Pune?
A. Yes, we have a sales staff member from Maharashtra and an engineer from the northern side. They are dedicated to providing support and building relationships with customers in India.
Q. Does DJK sell only new equipment, or do you also deal in used equipment?
A. We deal with both new and used equipment. We have a market for used equipment in Southeast Asia and Japan as well.
Q. In India, do you observe more demand for new equipment or used equipment?
A. The mindset is shifting towards new equipment in India. While in the past, customers preferred purchasing used machines, they now want to invest in new machines.
Q. If a customer asks whether they should choose used or new equipment, how do you help them make a decision?
A. The decision depends on the specific requirements of the customer. If they need the latest technology, we recommend new machines. We assess their needs and suggest the most suitable option accordingly.
Q. Nowadays, new machines often come with features like IoT that can reduce labour costs.
A. That’s an interesting question. While labour costs are lower in India, there is significant interest in IoT and machine-to-machine communication. Many people in India are intrigued by IoT and its potential benefits. Therefore, they seek the latest technology, including IoT features, in the equipment they invest in. As DJK, we always introduce the latest IoT technology to our customers, and their response has been positive.
Q. Do you also help in training their team members?
A. We have solutions for that. We have our technical centre in Noida. Sometimes we provide training to customers on technology. There are times when five to ten people from a customer’s team come to our technology centre, and we give them hands-on training on the machines and explain the architecture to them.
Q. So, the training you provide is hands-on training where they actually use the machines and get trained on them, or is it more of a theory?
A. Yes, they get hands-on training on the machines. We cover operation training, maintenance training, and troubleshooting as well.
Q. Panasonic chip mounter is your number one product. What are the other two or three products or brands that are also popular?
A. The Panasonic chip mounter is one of our key products. Second comes to Keysight ICT & FCT equipment’s. We also have the Board Handling Unit, SPI (Solder Paste Inspection) machine, Automatic Optical Inspection (AOI) machine, Reflow Oven and printer. These are some of the products that are in demand.
Q So, you can cater to customers who want to do both high-volume production and low-volume production.
A. Yes, exactly. We provide solutions for customers across the spectrum, from high-volume production to low-volume production. We have options for all types of customers.
Q. How would you like the DJK brand to be known in the minds of your customers?
A. It’s a key factor for us. We organise webinars and seminars ourselves to promote DJK. We have held our own seminars multiple times, we also collaborated with Panasonic and had multiple physical seminars in places including in Gurgaon, Chennai and in Bangalore and online. It helps us establish a strong presence.
Q. Are the speakers at these seminars your team members or experts from the facilities you represent?
A. Yes, most of the speakers at our seminars are our team members or experts from the facilities we represent. We ensure that our seminars provide valuable insights and knowledge to our customers.
Q. Do you also receive inquiries from customers who only want to do prototype-level production? Do you have equipment for them as well?
A. Yes, we do. Some customers specifically want to focus on prototype-level production, and we can accommodate their needs. We have suppliers who cater to these requirements.
Q. What are some common misconceptions that people have, especially regarding chip shooters and other equipment?
A. I often attend joint meetings with executives and top management of organisations. I always emphasise the key point that CPH (Chips Per Hour) is not just about the price but also about performance. It’s important not to overlook the performance aspect. I request customers to consider this aspect carefully.
Q. How do you explain this to them, especially to leaders who may focus solely on the price?
A. I explain it to them based on the material and information we provide. We have global key customers who understand this point. While price is a consideration, a low price with low performance doesn’t make sense. We want to support our customers’ production, so we emphasise the importance of performance and the value we provide through our products and after-sales support. This is a key factor for us.
Q. What is production support?
A. Production support involves helping customers optimise their production processes. For example, we work on reducing downtime and minimising changeover time to improve Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) and maximise productivity. This is a key focus for our customers.
Q. So, when you sell a machine, your team monitors its OEE, usage and assists customers in reducing downtime and improving productivity, right?
A. Yes, exactly. We have a wide range of customers, and they often check their productivity to stay competitive. Our engineers and sales staff have the knowledge and experience to help maximise productivity and provide ongoing support to customers. It’s an integral part of our company’s approach.
Q. Do you also help customers in reducing wastage?
A. Yes, we can technically help in reducing wastage. We can discuss specific specifications and solutions to address wastage concerns.
Q. With the advancements in technology, such as artificial intelligence, there are machines that can detect counterfeit components and perform inspections.
A. Yes, this technology is coming to India as well. Panasonic, for example, is already utilising these capabilities. Some of our customers can also benefit from technologies that can detect counterfeit components and improve productivity. It’s an exciting development. These companies are using AI to maximise productivity.
Q. Are there any future technologies that you believe will be coming soon, globally or in Japan?
A. Yes, I believe Industry 4.0, IoT, and M2M (Machine-to-Machine) technologies are significant trends. Manufacturing processes will continue to shift towards adopting more advanced technologies. Automation and the use of robots will likely increase, even replacing certain manual tasks. Our headquarters is already exploring and introducing these technologies to customers.
Q. Have there been any deployments of robots in India for manufacturing?
A. Yes, robots are being used in the automotive sector in India as well. Some of our customers are utilising this technology for certain processes, but not for everything.
Q. So, manual labour is still predominant in India?
A. Yes, there are instances where manual labour is still prevalent. However, I have an interesting story to share. For example, in one case, the equipment had to work 24 hours and the operators had to perform changeovers during nighttime, which led to a 30% decrease in productivity. By implementing automated specifications and using robots, the changeover time was reduced, leading to improved productivity.
Q. I recall hearing about another brand that showcased a 28% increase in productivity using robot technology.
A. Yes, technology plays a crucial role. In such cases, system integrators utilise robot technology and design the system accordingly.
Q. In India, do you sell directly to customers, or do you also have resellers or agents?
A. We sell directly to customers in India, but we are open to having partners who can sell our products directly in the future.
Q. If someone wants to become your partner, do you have plans in place for that?
A. Yes, we are open to having several distributors in India. We believe it will contribute to our growth.
Q. What are your growth plans for the next five years?
A. Our goal is to achieve five times the sales revenue of the current year. To accomplish this, we plan to establish satellite offices in different countries and areas, with sales staff, engineers, and site managers.
Q. When you were asked to come to India, what was your reaction?
A. It was very interesting and I was extremely excited. I have been supporting our business in various countries, including Japan. When I came to India, I was surprised by the potential of the Indian market. It’s a fascinating place.
Q. So, you’re still excited about India living in India?
A. Yes, of course. In fact, my family has also relocated to India. We have been here for six years already, and we find it to be a great opportunity for both personal and business growth. We plan to live in India for a long time.
Q. Which part of India are you staying in? How are you finding it?
A. We are staying in Gurgaon and enjoying our time here. It has been a good experience for my family, and we appreciate the market opportunities India offers.
Q. Since the past few years global economics has taken a huge toll. So, what changes did you make in your strategy in terms of procuring and sales?
A. In the past two years, we also faced significant challenges and struggled a lot. The global electronics market experienced a downturn, and it was difficult for our headquarters to understand what was happening. We held brainstorming sessions with our sales team to come up with new strategies and visions. One successful outcome was our focus on the Indian market, where we collaborated (with DG Calles and Chipper) (Check with the speaker), which proved helpful during the difficult times. This strategy will continue to benefit us in the future.
Q. Are there any major challenges you foresee in achieving the five times growth target?
A. As I mentioned earlier, establishing the DJK brand in India and making our customers aware of us are important challenges. We also plan to establish a new manufacturing subsidiary in India, following our strategy for electronics.
Q. Are you handling all businesses of DJK or focusing only on electronics?
A. I belong to the electronics division in Japan, so my focus is primarily on electronics but here I cover all business segments.
Q. Are you witnessing more growth in the automotive segment or any other segment in terms of demand?
A. Yes, we are seeing growth in the automotive section, particularly in selling customers without electronics. We have observed a significant demand from automotive customers.
Q. Traditionally, Japan has been betting on hybrid vehicles. What is your take on that, and do you see India moving towards hybrid vehicles or battery-only vehicles?
A. We are observing both hybrid and non-hybrid solutions in India. We have solutions to offer in both areas, and we will introduce them accordingly.
Q. Do you have any specific solutions for battery management that differentiate you from traditional electronics manufacturers?
A. We have solutions for battery management, and we have received over 100 inquiries from Indian customers in the past two years. However, they tend to prefer more cost-effective solutions, which makes it challenging for us to meet their requirements.