According to Masahiro Tomioka, president of Roland DG Corp., “We established this production center in Thailand primarily to plan and manufacture large-format inkjet printers for developing countries across Asia, but it will also serve Roland globally in the areas of design and development. With Thailand’s good infrastructure, plus the availability of skilled labor and strong network of supporting companies, we believe this new production center will help us achieve our goals for global expansion.”
In establishing the factory in Thailand, Roland says it will benefit from better procurement capabilities, lower operating costs, and increased pricing competitiveness. The company will also reduce its exposure to natural events that can occur regionally without warning, such as the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that impacted so many Japanese companies and their local supply chains.
The construction of the Thai factory was started in January 2012 and the facility became fully operational in October. Given the recent floods which plagued the region in and around Bangkok, Roland’s new production center was designed with the floor of the factory raised approximately six feet above ground level. Additionally, 300 85-foot-long piles were used to further support the building.
Production at the new facility is based on Roland’s “Digital Yatai” manufacturing model, a cell-based approach which employs digital technologies such as on-screen instructions and automated systems to assist employees in the production of products. According to the company, the approach has been acclaimed worldwide for its ability to significantly reduce human errors, even for new workers.
The new facility is part of Roland’s “Global One” initiative, which is underway to strengthen the ties between each subsidiary and partnering company in the 133 countries Roland serves. Through a more unified global approach to business, each Roland organization will be able to tap into broader resources and respond faster and more flexibly to the complexities of their respective markets. Though the factory in Thailand will initially be a central base for operations in the local region, going forward it will also handle planning and design functions which will enhance operations globally.
“By setting up this manufacturing facility in Thailand, Roland is now able to produce more affordable products that meet the increasing demand for wide-format inkjet printers in Asia, as well as the rest of the world,” says Rick Scrimger, president of Roland DGA Corp. “It is exciting to see the company expand its reach in this way. We look forward to passing on the many benefits of this new global center to our customers, not only across Asia and the surrounding regions, but here in the Americas as well.”