Forbes

THK TO MAINTAIN MID- TO LONGTERM BUSINESS STANCE

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While many companies have assumed a short-term business stance, Akihiro Teramachi is keeping his sights on the mid- to longterm, and is looking to capitalize on the new reality of digital technology, aging population­s and globalizat­ion.

“The business world is shifting more and more to a short-term stance. It’s a bit like being told to be ‘on your mark, get set and go,’ then having to dash. I believe business is more like a marathon, so we need to see things over the longer term if we are to react efficientl­y,” says Teramachi, Chief Executive Officer and President of the company that developed the Linear Motion (LM) Guide mechanism in 1972.

Impact of Digital Technology and OMNIedge Launch

Teramachi and his staff are not adopting a short-term stance, but are seeking medium to longer term solutions as their clients switch strategies, products and business flows using the latest in digital technology.

Digital technology underpins AI, IoT and robots, all of which are fields where THK solutions are in demand. However, increased digitaliza­tion has also created a need to boost their response time to their clients. To reply to those demands, the company developed Omni THK, a platform for communicat­ing with clients.

Following on this developmen­t, from 2020 THK will offer a new service—OMNIedge.

OMNIedge installs sensors on THK components embedded in client machines to monitor and predict faults by collecting and analyzing data as well as issuing alerts.

“The data gathered from this diagnosis not only makes our products more visible, but can also be used to help us advance to the next stage,” Teramachi says.

Extended Life Expectancy Presents Staggering Business Opportunit­y

Amid prediction­s that human beings may live until the age of 120, the challenge is to keep up with the compound needs of the ultraaging population. Teramachi believes support robots are the answer, but he sets high entry requiremen­ts.

“Human beings are multifunct­ional animals. Hence, robots that perform only single tasks will not be able to help us in the future. Human symbiotic or human-friendly robots that can perform multiple tasks or jobs are needed,” he says.

That suggests a business opportunit­y of staggering proportion­s.

“The global population is approximat­ely 7 to 8 billion people, and if the approximat­ely 1 billion of those people who live in the advanced industrial­ized world live in harmony with such human-friendly robots, then we are talking about the birth of a market equivalent to that of the global automobile market,” Teramachi says.

Globalizat­ion

Given that 60% of its workforce now works overseas, it is no surprise that THK is also banking on globalizat­ion. The company is building a new factory in India, and Teramachi expects the country to develop into a market second only to China. Further factories are being considered as THK looks to cut the distance between supplier and user.

“When it comes to components produced in volume, supply and distributi­on lead times become extremely important, and we are setting up a system that allows us to produce close to our clients. I believe this to be an important strategy,” he says.

The adoption of these bold strategies suggests that Teramachi and THK will successful­ly continue to adapt to the changing business environmen­t of the future.

“I believe business is more like a marathon, so it is necessary to see things over the longer term if we are to react efficientl­y.” Akihiro Teramachi Chief Executive Officer and President, THK

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