Environmental Business Research Institute - EBRI - “Mi-chan’s Adventure!” No. 3 Terada Iron Works Corporation Limited Environmental Business Research Institute EBRI

  • “Mi-chan’s Adventure!”

  • www.solars.jpNo. 3 Terada Iron Works Corporation Limited

    Hello! For the first time in “Mi-chan’s Adventure!”, I went on an overnight trip. The destination was Fukuyama City in Hiroshima Prefecture.

    The first things to catch my eye when I arrived at Terada Iron Works Corporation Limited were, since it is an iron factory, large working areas, cranes, and various materials. I could see that the location right next to the sea is convenient for raw material and product delivery, and there are also excellent facilities and equipment on site. In addition to this, next to the entrance, the “Solaris” evacuated-tube solar energy absorber, which had been displayed at the Renewable Energy Tokyo Fair, was particularly eye-catching.

    Description of business

    Founded in 1917, this year marks the 91st anniversary of the company. The current company president Mr. Masakazu Terada took up the position in October 2007, and represents the 7th generation of president.

    Soon after the company was founded, it used to make train parts for Japan National Railways. Since then, it has conducted steel-frame work for schools and built arcades for commercial streets. Also, during the war, they made military related products; over time they have accumulated high-level know-how, as the steel industry has been developing.

    After WW2, a turning point which enabled the company to make a huge leap forward was the fact that at the time Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was built nearby, and because of its location, Terada Iron Works became a subcontracting factory for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

    They received 26% of the capital from Mitsubishi and started to do business as a specialized factory manufacturing railway wagons for Mitsubishi.

    Taking this experience as a starting point, they acquired the necessary skills for large metal plates. Also, when they stopped making railway wagons and moved on to the application of petroleum chemistry within the production process, they changed the factory equipment and installed large presses and blenders.

    At the time when photochemical smog was becoming an issue, they started to produce and offer maintenance of exhaust gas desulfurizers for electronic power companies. They started to receive orders from large plants, and the company took another huge leap forward.

    Later on, when competition within the Japanese market was becoming fierce, they planned to expand their business to overseas sites early on, thus receiving orders from overseas plants and exporting their products.

    Mr. Terada, after graduating from university, started working for a company which produced a high net profit, and learnt about high added-value management. When working for Samantha Tavatha, he learned about brand strategy. He feels the need to make solar business into its own brand, so he is learning about branding and media strategy.

    Mr. Terada explained that “it is important to have a sense of purpose, and to know what you are working for. And skills are passed on from one person to another. This is why ‘lifting employees’ motivation’ is essential”.

    Terada Iron Works Corporation Limited

    Terada Iron Works Corporation Limited, from outside

    President Terada and Mi-chan

    President Terada and Mi-chan