Yokogawa's Global Presence In Industrial Automation Reinforced With Singapore Base - Singapore Investment News

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Yokogawa's Global Presence In Industrial Automation Reinforced With Singapore Base


Yokogawa Electric Corporation, a leading company in industrial automation (IA) and technology solutions, recently announced the completion of its 12-storey building in Singapore. The new facility will play a crucial role in Yokogawa's vision to be the top global IA player by 2010. It will also be home to many of Yokogawa's regional and international businesses, inclucing the global engineering solutions centre. In addition, it will house its customer call centre, the production excellence solutions centre, R&D centre, and the newly established EJA Transmitter manufacturing line.

Isao Uchida
Isao Uchida

In a recent ceremony, graced by guest of honour Lee Kuan Yew, Minister Mentor of Singapore, to mark the completion of Yokogawa's new facility, Isao Uchida, Chairman and CEO, Yokogawa Electric Corporation, outlined the importance of Singapore in the company's expansion strategy. The following is the complete speech by Uchida.

"It was three years and four months ago, on 4 March 2009, when we celebrated Yokogawa's 30th anniversary in Singapore. And it was during this occasion that I shared, briefly, two key decisions with regards to Yokogawa's globalisation plans.

"The first key decision was made in 1973, one year before the establishment of Yokogawa Electric Singapore. This was to establish our first foothold outside Japan so that Yokogawa could be prepared for the globalisation that, we believed, would surely take place.

"As a young project leader, I thought of how Yokogawa's globalisation would progress over the next 20-30 years. And after investigating several countries, I arrived in Singapore, which I instinctively, and logically, decided to recommend over America and Europe. The reasons were:

  1. The Singapore Government was led by Lee Kuan Yew, a very strong and visionary leader, who was consistent in both speech and action.
  2. Singapore had a geographical advantage over the other ASEAN countries.
  3. The local population spoke English.
  4. And its social infrastructure was either already well established, or on the way to being established.

"I still remember vividly the presentation I received from the young officers of EDB.

  1. They talked about the future of Singapore, their eyes shinning with an eagerness to create their own future.
  2. They explained the future of Singapore with drawings, maps, and some hand-made cardboard mock-ups.
Uchida detailing Yokogawa's development to dignitaries
Uchida detailing Yokogawa's development to dignitaries, including Minister Mentor Lee, during the ceremony

"The eagerness of the young officers made me feel that I was actually visualising the future of Singapore in their explanations. Now, the Republic of Singapore enjoys a reliable social system, which has been prudently built up over the course of the country's development. I am very happy to know that the decision I made 34 years ago was absolutely right.

"The second key decision for Yokogawa's globalisation was the resolution to become an invincible global leader in the industrial automation business. I announced at Yokogawa's 30th anniversary in Singapore that Yokogawa was targeting to achieve the number one position in the global industrial automation business by 2010. For that objective, I stressed that the Singapore operation would play an important role.

'Since the establishment of Yokogawa Electric Singapore in 1974, Yokogawa has been enhancing its Singapore-based operations progressively.

  1. The Yokogawa culture is based on 'Quality First.'
  2. Therefore, I started the Singapore office by teaching the concept of MONOZUKURI, or Manufacturing Excellence, to Singaporeans, by bringing the most difficult-to-manufacture products—analogue meters—to Singapore.
  3. I also built a fully integrated factory, thinking 20-30 years ahead.

"During the last thirty years or so, Singapore has also undergone an astounding evolution.

  1. The major industries of Singapore have shifted from being labor-intensive to being knowledge-intensive.
  2. Recently, the Singapore Government has been promoting the evolution of next generation industries like Life Sciences.

"In order to take advantage of this trend, we have been evolving our own operations in Singapore In 1986, we opened Yokogawa Engineering Center Ike Ltd. In 1987, we started the production of CENTUM distributed control systems in Bedok, and received EDB's Pioneer Certificate for our DCS. Together with the Singapore operation's expansion, we have also expanded our operations in Europe, North America, China, India, the Middle East and the ASEAN countries. Our customers have been warmly receptive of our expansion, and have also provided a lot of support and instructive suggestions.

"In August 2004, we decided on three actions that would reinforce our Singapore operation.

  1. One, the establishment of the Singapore Development Center to develop packaged application software for our CENTUM system.
  2. Two, the establishment of a marketing function for our future businesses to cultivate cutting edge technology in such Life Science related areas as Pharmaceuticals, New medicines development. Fine chemicals, Biochemicals. This is to align ourselves with the government's future plans.
  3. Three, the establishment of certain Intellectual Property functions.

"We have absolute trust in Singapore's reliable social system. Therefore, in April 2005, we decided to establish Yokogawa Electric International Pte Ltd as the headquarters for our global industrial automation business, thereby consolidating all of Yokogawa's expertise in Singapore.

"Now, Yokogawa Electric International supports approximately 60 per cent of Yokogawa's sales, and manages approximately 8,800 employees of the Yokogawa Group. In August 2005, we decided to build this 12-story building in Bedok to serve the growing needs of our customers by enhancing our ability to perform staging engineering software development, manufacturing and around-the-dock service.

"On a personal level, I have been working very hard for the last 34 years to, perhaps, build the excitement I've experienced in Singapore. As a result. I became the CEO of Yokogawa in 1999. For me, Singapore is a good-luck charm. I am grateful for this opportunity to express my deep gratitude for the energy and efforts of Singaporeans, who have created our present prosperity. And I would like to express my deep gratitude to the leaders of the Singapore government, who have been steadfast in their support for Yokogawa.

"What are our next steps? Now, we are steadily advancing towards the number one position in the global industrial automation business. Then, we will maintain the leading position to keep our commitment to customers for many years to come. In addition to the industrial automation business, we will be aiming for the leading position in fields such as Test & Measurement, Life Sciences, Photonics Communication, and Micro Reactors.

"I would like to develop our bas-es for these fields and work to-wards making Singapore prosper as well."

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