Factory VisitSodick Thailand Plants

Group Interview Thai version

Pulling together to resolve various
work-related challenges.

The appeal of the Thailand Plants lies in its effective teamwork and positive workplace environment.

The Thailand Plants employ roughly 25 Japanese nationals along with over 1,000 Thai staff members. Similar to Japan, relational hierarchies in Thailand tend to be somewhat stringently observed. But when it comes to work, staff at all lines from factory floor staff to supervisors, and from junior employees to senior employees get together in one to tackle each work. Each and every one of these individuals, working as a team, underpin the high degree of quality and precision of Sodick products. In this interview session we asked five employees about their involvement in general affairs, manufacturing, design, and other areas of the company.

MS.PATITTHA Administration Department Job description In the Personnel & General Affairs Division where she handles office work including matters relating to employee benefits Career motto Take a mindful approach in performing tasks Sodick summed up in a few words Create, Implement and Overcome Difficulties MS.PATITTHA
Interviewer's impression Ms. Patittha continually reflects on how she can help create an office environment that enables employees to work more effectively. She has a very charming smile.
MS.NUJARIN Electric Production Engineer
Senior Engineer(Harness)
Job description Senior Engineer in the Wire Harness Division where she handles new product models and oversees a staff of four employees Career motto Approach everything you do with a positive attitude Sodick summed up in a few words Always take on new challenges MS.NUJARIN
Interviewer's impression Ms. Nujarin is a reliable engineer with several employees under her in the Wire Harness Division. During the course of the interview, she communicated clearly and immediately produced intelligent answers no matter what the question.
MR.TONGPOON Production Engineer
Chief Engineer
Job description In the Machining Division where he programs computer numerical control (CNC) applications Career motto Never stop learning Sodick summed up in a few words A place of opportunity and creativity MR.TONGPOON
Interviewer's impression Mr. Tongpoon is a memorable person who readily answered that he has liked creating things since he was a student, and that the work he does now brings him joy. He is a great person who offers an occasional smile.
MR.APICHART Engineering Department
Chief Engineer
Job description In the Design & Development Division where he handles Thailand-based design of products from square one, and modification of drawings from Japan to Thai specifications Career motto Nothing is impossible Sodick summed up in a few words It is " Working Family for Win" MR.APICHART
Interviewer's impression During the interview session, Mr. Apichart lightened the mood and made everyone feel less nervous thanks to his very humorous responses. Even in the realm of design, he shows an ability as a chief engineer to skillfully bring everyone's ideas together.
MR.SOMPOL Facility and maintenance
Job description In the Facilities Maintenance Division where he performs tasks that include arranging maintenance of factory facilities with the aim of creating a workplace environment that enables stable production Career motto Must do the better Sodick summed up in a few words Create, Implement and Overcome Difficulties MR.SOMPOL
Interviewer's impression Mr. Sompol has been with the company for over 20 years. He is very familiar with the two factories in Thailand, and is seen as a grandfatherly figure by all its employees. He has been acting as a bridge that brings the Japanese and Thai workforce together over many years.

What do you try to keep in mind when it comes to communicating with members of the Japanese workforce? And, have you experienced any difficulties in that regard?
MS.PATITTHA、MR.TONGPOON MS.PATITTHA My Japanese supervisor and I always speak to each other in English. However, I am often unsure if I fully understand when he gives me instructions, so just to be sure I always double check what was said via e-mail.
MS.NUJARIN Sometimes I speak with my supervisor directly, and other times we communicate in English via e-mail. We will even draw pictures when necessary. By whatever means, I think it is very important that I check then and there whether or not I have understood what has been communicated. We can seek a company interpreter’s assistance when a matter is urgent, but otherwise we try to work things out among ourselves.
MR.APICHART Whether in English or Thai, I never face communication difficulties because I immediately know what is being talked about, then and there. Also, given the extensive technical jargon in design, bringing in an interpreter can actually heighten the level of confusion (said with a smile).
I was told that around 250 employees have been with the Thailand Plants for more than 10 years, while around 50 of them have been here for over 20 years. Why do you think so many employees have remained with the company for such a long time?
タイ工場スタッフ MS.NUJARIN I think it is due to the plant's workplace environment. Whenever an issue crops up at the plant, supervisors and their subordinates will cooperatively work together in finding a solution! For instance, when I had to write my first quality report, I approached my supervisor for help. He then carefully went over the process with me, even though I was supposed to have completed it on my own. I really learned a lot because he gave me advice on how I should approach the task of writing the report on my own, rather than simply telling me what to write.
MR.TONGPOON I would say it is because of the positive workplace environment where we have welcoming parties for new workers, company-wide year-end parties, and other gatherings which help bring us all closer together.
Also, Sodick is a company that values its employees. For instance, after the big flood hit two years ago, some companies stopped paying wages and downsized their workforces. But Sodick did not lay off a single employee, despite having incurred heavy damage.
MR.APICHART I would say it is the positive person-to-person relationships. We enjoy an environment where everyone cooperates when problems arise. This spirit of cooperation applies to the Thai employees and the Japanese employees, and between management and their subordinates. Also, we get sent on business trips to Japan and other locations abroad which is a great opportunity for us to learn about technology.
MR.SOMPOL Having worked here for over 20 years I can say that nowadays we don't have outside contractors perform maintenance. Instead, we have our own expertise in that regard. Having watched Sodick transform over the years, I have seen us develop from a relatively unknown company into an admired enterprise that is now one of the top five firms in this industrial estate.
I hear that some exciting activities such as company trips and year-end parties are occasionally held. Could you tell me about those activities?
MS.PATITTHA We hold activities twice a year for employees. The activities include a company trip in July and a year-end gathering which involves sports competitions followed by a party. For this year’s summer trip we took a three-hour bus excursion to the beach in Rayong Province. At the end of this year, every employee will be part of one of four groups which will compete in volleyball, soccer, sepak takraw (kick volleyball), and petanque (game of boules). We will all have a great time drinking, singing, dancing, and simply being festive. Sometimes at these events a person will drink a bit too much and have a hazy memory of what happened afterwards (said with a grin).
MR.APICHART You must be talking about me (laughs).
タイ工場、社員旅行 All-employee bus tour The company trip helps encourage an open and communicative workplace environment
I have heard that women in Thailand typically play an active role in the workplace. Is that also true of Sodick?
MS.NUJARIN While jobs that require physical strength and lifting of heavy objects are often regarded as men's work, there is no such distinction when it comes to careers that require mental capabilities such as sales and management. Normally at Sodick there is also no male-female disparity and there is no disparity when a woman returns to the workplace after maternity leave. Not many women would work after childbirth 20 or more years ago, but in today’s society women have a choice, which means some women opt to quit their jobs once they have children and others make daycare arrangements and continue their careers.
All of the Wire Harness Division's 53 employees are women

All of the Wire Harness Division's 53 employees are women

Favorable work environment for expecting mothers

Favorable work environment for
expecting mothers

Women also play an active role as welders

Women also play an active
role as welders

What is it about your job that you like doing? And what do you find rewarding about your job?
MR.TONGPOON In manufacturing, factory staff know more than I do when it comes to improvements that need to be made, though I have the actual authority to make those improvements. Still, sometimes I find that my head is full of ideas. When that happens, I head to the factory floor and do what I can in terms of implementing measures for improvement and increasing work efficiency. I find it very rewarding when those efforts pay off and I realize that I have made a good program that will help the factory staff in their jobs.
MR.APICHART My supervisor takes an unrestricted approach to the concept of manufacturing craftsmanship. Therefore, I am able to discuss the pros and cons of ideas with him. Items that I design while seeking advice from my supervisor end up being sold not only in Thailand, but also worldwide. I find that very motivating.
MR.SOMPOL I have come up with creative solutions on a daily basis because in the field of maintenance no two days are alike. I derive a lot of gratification from working out various solutions that ultimately benefit other employees. My twenty-plus years here have gone by quickly. Seeing everyone’s faces when I come to work every day, I feel very proud that I have been able to work with them to find solutions, and when I take a look around the company I feel a sense of pride when seeing the results of the many jobs I have performed.
What sorts of things have surprised you in a positive way since you began working at the Thailand Plants?
MS.PATITTHA Whereas people here are close-knit like family, this is also a well-run company such as in terms of its research operations and workplace environment. Also, the company takes care of its employees, as was the case when the big flood hit.
MR.TONGPOON I am acquainted with most of the employees here, so when there is a problem in manufacturing in my work area, I am able to immediately get advice from people in other divisions. Also, in contrast to city centers in Thailand which tend to be packed with buildings, the industrial park where we are located has abundant greenery and refreshing surroundings. In addition, we enjoy a family-like workplace atmosphere where we are able to strike a familiar tone in conversations, whether with managers or junior employees. Every day I work here brings me joy.
MR.SOMPOL Sodick’s sophisticated technology enables me to learn many things while on the job. Another appealing aspect of this company is its culture of mutual support and teamwork. For instance, outside the facility we have a large pond and soccer field where we are able to get work done, take breaks, have meals, and play soccer and other outdoor sports, which is a good chance to shift gears.
Employees are encouraged to seek advice

Employees are encouraged to seek advice

Open plan employee cafeteria

Open plan employee

Shuttle busses exclusively for employees

Shuttle busses exclusively
for employees

Soccer field on the facility grounds

Soccer field on
the facility grounds