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Introduction of Group Companies
From Value One Spring 2014 No. 44
Our Strengths and Distinctive Qualities
One of the leaders in stainless steel plate shearing
Concentrating on high value-added engineering business
Making inroads into Asia in sight
From Processing to Engineering of Stainless Steel Plates

A major player in the stainless steel distribution business, Seikoh Co., Ltd. is particularly strong in the processing of stainless steel plates and bar steel, and is also pursuing higher value-added processes in the engineering business and other sectors.

The company has been shearing stainless steel plates ever since Katsu Kimura founded it in 1968, and has steadily expanded production capacity, setting up the Himeji Plant in 1991 and the Osaka Plant in 1998. Excelling in processing not only stainless steel but aluminum and titanium as well, Seikoh is actively broadening the variety of its processing functions by undertaking stainless steel wire drawing.

Today, Seikoh's two factories in Osaka and Himeji process and sell about 1,500 tonnes of steel a month. Its industry presence is growing, including being designated as one of eleven members in Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel Corporation's Shear Club.

Seikoh is determined to put a high-value-added business model in place. The company is expanding operations into engineering on a comprehensive basis, utilizing its stainless steel processing techniques to handle everything from the design and manufacturing of stainless steel construction materials and composite parts to their installation. It has already set many remarkable performance records in this area, mainly in the architectural and civil engineering sectors, including the construction of stainless steel floors for food processing plants, tanks in water treatment plants, and construction materials for railway station buildings and shopping facilities.

President Masanori Uchida, who has led the company since it joined the Metal One Group in 2008, emphasizes the significance of the engineering business to Seikoh, saying: "The engineering business helps save on total business costs for our clients and has many advantages to Seikoh itself in differentiating us from competitors and upgrading the capacities of our staff."

Utilizing the government-mandated Technical Intern Training Program for foreign trainees for about a decade, the company has accepted many Vietnamese trainees into its plants. Today a total of sixteen of these trainees are working at the Osaka and Himeji plants, accounting for a third of the plants' combined workforce. According to Takashi Manabe, assistant plant manager of the Osaka plant, they enjoy a high reputation: "The trainees are very serious about their work, and contribute much to our operations."

The domestic market is shrinking as many users shift their manufacturing bases overseas, and Seikoh's management is assessing the advantages of moving into Asia as a core issue. "The domestic market will not regain its past scale," President Uchida says. "While seeking high value-added lines of business, we cannot avoid shifting our production overseas, especially into Asia." Armed with know-how and processing techniques built up over many years, Seikoh is looking to the next stage of development.

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