Factory visit to Sanoh

On April 5th Miyazaki lab was welcomed to visit Sanoh Industrial Company in Koga, Ibaraki. We were given an opportunity to have a glance at Sanoh’s R&D and production system, and learn about its practical knowledge of development strategies. Miyazaki Lab is allowed to observe the company and discuss about Sanoh’s competence. This visit has widened the world of us, Management of Technology students, to experience the real world of MOT.

Role of Instrumentation and Society in product development

At the analysis sector, where new product design is tested for specification and defect.  Machines for analysis together with analysis software indicate the necessity of external network (supplier) in product development. The more advance the instrument, the higher efficiency in design and analysis process. Apart from material analysis and product inspection, here we have learnt about Sanoh’s environmental and society concern. Every part of products has to pass the standard and toxic-free.

Core competence

Current main business activity of Sanoh is “tube” supplier. Even so, Sanoh has long history and it has passed several changes in its business domain as a response to changing market demand. The ability to perceive upcoming opportunity brings Sanoh into an automotive part supplier business. From the observation of its production division, it was clear that Sanoh has competence to design its own machine, create know-how and combine its capability with external supplier (i.e. robot in manufacturing). In short, its main core competence should be a flexible scale-intensive supplier that has an ability to capture new opportunity and change with the shifting paradigm, or continuous innovation.


One of Sanoh’s competitiveness strategies is ‘globalization’. Sanoh realizes the benefits of being a worldwide company. There are several nationalities of employees, and global production facilities in America, Asia, and Europe, which have various strength and weakness, opportunity and threat. The differences among countries are such as labor cost, currency, and national preference. It seems that Sanoh manages well on this matter. For example, Sanoh has divided tasks for the engineering center in developing new machines according to regional competence. Its main Japanese engineering center is responsible for new equipment design, and the manufacturing will be in cheaper production cost country. The complexity and sophistication of equipment is also accordance to regional differences.
There are several lessons we have learnt, and there are much more topics worth discussing about. For instance, what the present and possible future challenges are, and how could we apply our MOT knowledge to find solutions.
Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to Sanoh Industrial Co. for giving Miyazaki Lab a valuable opportunity to have an experience in real practices, and Prof.Miyazaki for her arrangement of this knowledgeable field trip.


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