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Introduction of Group Companies
AOI Co., Ltd.
From Value One Winter 2012-2013 No.39
Our Strengths and Distinctive Qualities
Possesses high-value-added blanking equipment, and offers tailor-welded blanking (TWB) and oscillatory shearing, among other services
Auto-related companies in the surrounding Tokai region make up 90 percent of the company's clientele
Major processing and sales base for JFE Steel Corporation in the Tokai region
Steel Service Center with a Diverse Array of Automotive Industry Equipment

A long-established steel service center launched in 1957, AOI Co., Ltd. has played a pioneering role in the industry by taking advantage of state-of-the-art equipment, including equipment used for blanking. AOI has successfully met steel sheet processing needs in the Tokai region, which boasts Japan's biggest cluster of automotive-sector firms. Since 2007, when Metal One purchased shares in the company from Mr. Hideto Asai—AOI's founder and current chairman—and made it a consolidated subsidiary, the company's ties with other steel service centers in the Metal One Group have grown stronger, resulting in enhanced safety and product quality.

By the 1970s, AOI had already equipped itself for high-value-added machining processes such as blanking, which automakers and parts suppliers had been doing on their own. The company followed up in the 1980s and thereafter with investments in oscillatory shearing, TWB processing lines, and other state-of-the-art equipment. This added capacity helped AOI clients meet diverse processing needs and expanded the company's business. As a result, the proportion of slitting—which is 80 to 90 percent in most other service centers—is just 50 percent or even less at AOI.

The company has three processing centers—the Nukata Plant, which is on the same site as the firm's headquarters; the Okazaki Plant, about five minutes away by car from the headquarters; and the Minokamo Plant in Gifu Prefecture. In addition to slitters and levelers, these plants are equipped to handle blanking, oscillatory shearing, TWB processing, automated multilevel warehousing, and other services. Together, they process approximately 200,000 tonnes of steel a year. Since the number of vehicles manufactured in the area has gone down after the 2008 global economic crisis, AOI is striving to make its plants even more efficient.

In addition to operating this diverse array of processing equipment, the company also handles such products as wide steel strips and high tensile strength steel sheet. Auto-related clients account for 90 percent or more of AOI's business, and one of the company's major strengths is that its clients are three major automakers in the Tokai area, namely Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (including manufacture of the Pajero), Toyota Motor Corporation, and Suzuki Motor Corporation.

Mr. Takahiro Ide, who was previously the director and general manager of Metal One Ryowa Corporation's Sales Department, was named AOI's president in April 2012. "Orders to meet the needs of multiple automakers and related companies come in from multiple trading companies in diverse combinations. This means diverse patterns of clerical processing and a correspondingly heavy load on us," he says with a smile.

Since President Ide took charge, AOI has come up with a new corporate philosophy. Particular emphasis is placed on employee education and fostering the staff's "target consciousness." Earnest efforts are also being made to enhance safety and product quality management while learning lessons from the experiences of other Metal One Group service centers. The company is also an important processing and sales base in the Tokai area for JFE Steel, another AOI shareholder. AOI is planning to further boost sales, taking advantage of its unmatched array of equipment.

 

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