Factory VisitSodick America

Interview with Koji Yoneda CEO [3]
What is remarkable about Sodick’s manufacturing and
how will Sodick America develop in the future?

What is great about Sodick products from the viewpoint of a software developer?

Koji Yoneda CEO
Meeting at Sodick Head Office
It's largely that both hardware and software are made in-house. We make almost everything, including the machines, the amplifiers for motor control, and the software. So, almost everything is made in-house, except for the components themselves. It is fair to say that the only company that makes everything in-house to this degree is Sodick. We are definitely unique in that. Our major strength is our ability to handle in-house machine manufacture and other tasks that other companies can't do, in that way we want to.
This has been Sodick's ethos since the company was founded. In an aim to create superior products, we don't simply continue to use what we already have but attempt to make the products ourselves to derive the maximum machine performance. Although we need to suppress costs during development, there's a way of thinking that it is reasonable if we can make a good product in the end.

What can we do to ensure that Japanese manufacturing does not lose out to overseas manufacturers? And how can Sodick play a role?

The fact that manufacturing is shifting to low-labor-cost locations overseas can't be denied. Moreover, more sophisticated production equipment now enables the same quality to be achieved wherever you are. However, in response to the question of what to make and how to make it, the technologies to provide the appropriate methods and processes are difficult issue in developing countries. Considering what is actually required, creating products unique in the world, and launching them on the market as fast as possible will be essential in the future for Japanese, as well as for manufacturing of Sodick.

Tell us how you think Sodick America will develop in the future.

Koji Yoneda CEO
It is important to make new things but I believe that the process to creating new things is also extremely critical. I think that the efficiency of the processes must be lifted as well.
There is a high turnover of staff in America, so I want to create an environment where new people can take over immediately when personnel change. This will lead to good finished products. Now, we are thinking about a division of labor system. While the concept is not widely common in Japan, we want to increase the number of specialists in product appraisal for quality assurance (QA) and implement a check system.
I am currently a member of Sodick America, where I want to implement a division of labor system and continue to work on developments that achieve greater performance.

Koji Yoneda CEO Despite being the CEO, Mr. Yoneda remains a working engineer. His office offers a friendly atmosphere and there were pleasant talks around him with the other staff members. He sometimes gives up his holidays to work alone, which shows the difficulty of being both CEO and an engineer.
When he has free time, he likes to play sports with his two children.