Produced by Diego Pesantez
Interviewee: Manuel Euyoqui, CFO
Innovation is an essential part of Furukawa companies’ DNA worldwide; their “bound to innovate” motto is a call to action for Furukawa Mexico and their branches to deliver brand-new solutions to the sector. Their latest tasks involve development of different equipment, such as parts for ion-lithium batteries for electric cars, mobile phone antennas, optical fiber material, and other supplies for electric power. Additionally, in an effort to keep up with competition, increase revenue and achieve diversification, new products are about to be developed and marketed during the next few years.
“Furukawa is constantly innovating by developing new products and materials for the sector; this activity has had an important impact on society, since our company keeps launching high-tech products,” Euyoqui said.
After surviving the conditions of a struggling market at its lowest points, such as a 1997 economic crisis, Furukawa Mexico consolidated its operations both inwards and outwards by increasing the company’s presence in the domestic automotive market and by hiring a domestic staff for management positions.
“Our Management Staff averages 15-year seniority in the company, is very stable, and most members are Mexican. There are only three Japanese nationals working here with us: the president and the professionals in charge of quality assurance and continual improvement,” said Euyoqui.
In recent days, Furukawa Mexico has found itself in a state of constant growth, transforming the brand via vertical integration up to 90 percent in some products.
Their latest accomplishments include:
• Inclusion of high value added products
• Design for own equipment
• Increase in global competitiveness as an outcome from productive innovation
• Manufacturing own components
“We compete among affiliate companies globally: our branches in Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and beyond produce these same items. The innovations developed in recent years provide us with a competitive edge,” Euyoqui added.
The company has been certified for complying with environmental awareness standards. One of the three certifications received by Furukawa Mexico is ISO 140001:2004, covering operation processes and domestic compliance laws in environmental matters; they also comply with their clients’ and other requirements and laws regarding the environment.
“Besides being formally certified, as a company we are already into reuse, recycling, waste reduction, energy saving, water saving and paperless processes, which lead to a better environment,” said Euyoqui.
Personnel management has brought nothing but the best results. The 2,000 workers are internally considered “associates” and receive constant training to fulfill Furukawa’s best manufacturing practices. Perks provided by the company include recreational activities both in and out of the plant’s premises.
“There are training programs at every level in the company, since staff with improved skills brings a better ROI,” said Euyoqui.
Furukawa suppliers comply with every requirement from the FENA APD (Furukawa Electric North America - Automotive Products Division) suppliers’ manual, guaranteeing quality and safety with every single product in their supply chain. Most of the strategic partners have witnessed the company’s growth encompassing more than two decades, since they first established in San Jose, California.
“Our commitment to suppliers is a win-win model, mainly in Furukawa products which are made with copper and resins. When the economy has gone through a difficult period, most suppliers have been supportive and able to understand different situations; they have been certified for quality control purposes, thus strengthening our supply chain; they have displayed our mutual commitment to price, delivery and quality,” added Euyoqui.
Furukawa’s other 30 affiliates around the world are also strategic partners. In-house experiences and other exchanges make way for data sharing, manufacture improvements and better design practices. Furukawa Electric Group organizes periodic meet-ups with team members from all around the world, for the purpose of sharing information and updating affiliates about the brand’s most recent achievements. Furukawa Mexico was in charge of presenting the best practices for airbag connections during the last year, providing knowledge and data to engineers and executives from Furukawa companies worldwide.
“This is a growing experience as a group, able to improve Furukawa Electric’s strength,” he said.
Furukawa Mexico is part of a global enterprise exporting more than 80 percent of its production to the United States, especially to Ohio and Michigan where Honda, Toyota and GM have manufacturing plants. Exports to Latin America head to Brazil and Argentina. Furukawa Mexico products are also exported to the Czech Republic, Japan, and China, and their business dealings reach all the way into South Africa.
“We are very dedicated to strengthen our presence in South America, which is one of our most important markets considering our mission of fitting at least one Furukawa Mexico product in every car in the Americas,” said Euyoqui about regional growth. Currently one out of every five cars worldwide works with a part manufactured by Furukawa Mexico.
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