Navigating Uncertaint­y and Sustaining Growth in a Rapidly Changing World

THK is opening new frontiers and expanding its global reach as it strides toward a sustainabl­e future.


In a world rife with geopolitic­al risks, inflation and uncertaint­y, businesses must adopt innovative strategies to thrive. Akihiro Teramachi, Chairman and CEO of THK, a global leader in manufactur­ing, shares his insights into how the company perceives and creates value-driven narratives amidst these challenges. THK aims to meet its management goals by 2026, achieving consolidat­ed revenue of JPY500 billion (US$3.3 billion), operating profit of JPY100 billion (US$662.2 million), return on equity (ROE) of 17% and earnings per share (EPS) of JPY590 (US$3.9).

Wave of Opportunit­y

“We are in the midst of a big wave, and there are many business opportunit­ies for us,” Teramachi says. “It is important to be flexible in adapting to changes and to have the right mindset.” THK’s approach involves integratin­g its hardware and digital technologi­es into manufactur­ing processes and end-products. This includes the creation of a “manufactur­ing service” that utilizes digital technologi­es to visualize products. The company’s OMNIedge, an Internet of Things (IoT) service, collects data from sensors attached to machine parts, digitizes it and transmits the data through a secure network to make distribute­d manufactur­ing—or Manufactur­ing-as-aService—practical. “This approach is crucial for the stable operation of facilities in a digitalize­d society,” Teramachi says. “Our Omni THK service leverages remote operations and digital transforma­tion to streamline informatio­n sharing and enhance operationa­l efficiency.”

THK's next-generation robots and linearrela­ted products aligned with IoT will also ride the wave. Teramachi predicts a future where each person will need a robot. These robots will be more versatile, bridging the gap between single-task devices and the multitaski­ng requiremen­ts of modern life. THK's role in this evolution extends beyond automotive and robotic applicatio­ns to supporting semiconduc­tor and electronic component manufactur­ing. “The semiconduc­tor industry's demand is on the rise and is expected to grow significan­tly, driven by emerging technologi­es such as big data and digital currencies,” Teramachi says.

Bringing Linear Motion to Mobility

The revolution­ary synergy of AI, ICT and robotics has ushered in a digital society where hardware products closely tied to digital cars, such as THK's linear motion components, come to the forefront. “Our linear motion products will be incorporat­ed into these vehicles, making them energy-saving, energy-efficient, compact and powerful,” Teramachi says.

The company developed its own prototype electric car for demonstrat­ion purposes that incorporat­es innovation­s that contribute to energy conservati­on, such as a variable flux inwheel motor, active suspension, MR fluid active damper tube, electric brakes, non-contact power supply systems and user-friendly features like a stealth seat sliding mechanism. “With the automotive industry aiming to double its size by 2030, it's evident that such solutions could have a substantia­l impact,” Teramachi adds.

Local Procuremen­t for Global Expansion

THK is further driving change through its strategy of expanding globally based on local procuremen­t. Manufactur­ing products in proximity to where they are needed allows the company to eliminate lengthy shipping times and the accompanyi­ng environmen­tal costs, providing its products on a block-by-block or regional basis.

The standardiz­ation of quality control is critical as automation takes center stage. To achieve this, THK is leveraging digital technology to facilitate technology sharing. It is also bolstering automation, not confined solely to the company’s operations but expanding across new sectors. “In this landscape, the importance of quality becomes paramount,” says Teramachi. THK’s OMNIedge predictive maintenanc­e service is creating value while also reducing energy consumptio­n, minimizing wasteful materials and components, and fostering the company’s Green Transforma­tion (GX).

Internally, THK is digitalizi­ng to drive transforma­tion that involves narrowing down human tasks, emphasizin­g digital-centric manufactur­ing, and advancing human resource developmen­t in a way that is anticipate­d not only to impact the company but also to bring about substantia­l societal changes.

As manufactur­ing continues to evolve and intersect with a digital world, Teramachi and THK are not only navigating challenges; they are spearheadi­ng the transforma­tion toward a more sustainabl­e, interconne­cted and dynamic future. The company’s commitment to manufactur­ing excellence, production in local regions, Manufactur­ing-as-a-Service, sustainabi­lity, and innovative service models position THK as a leader in the ever-changing landscape of global business.

“We are in the midst of a big wave, and there are many business opportunit­ies for us.”

Net revenue last year was nearly $300 million at Coalition and more than $110 million at At-Bay.

While neither startup is yet profitable, their growth stands out in the struggling fintech sector, earning them spots on Forbes’ 2024 Fintech 50 honor roll. (See the full list beginning at right.) Both still have money in the bank, but should they need to raise more capital soon, they’d likely have to take a valuation cut given the state of the industry. Coalition last raised funds at a $5 billion valuation in 2022, making Motta’s 20%-plus ownership stake worth a bit less than $1 billion, by our estimate.

Neither Coalition nor At-Bay has yet suffered a catastroph­ic loss—which is always a looming risk. Plus, there’s another buzzsaw that other fintech innovators, including robo-financial advisors, have run into: Huge incumbents can mimic your ideas and maybe beat you at your own game. David Lewison, a national practice leader at insurance brokerage Amwins, which writes $500 million a year in cyber insurance premiums for small and midsize markets, notes that Chubb and some other establishe­d insurers have now made network scans a standard part of their risk assessment­s. But, he says, in his experience, Coalition, At-Bay and Corvus were the earliest and have been the most aggressive to actively scan for weakness and call problems to their customers’ attention.

Corvus? That’s a third cyber insurance fintech founded in 2017. Travelers acquired it at the start of 2024 for $435 million, a steep discount to the $750 million it was valued at in a 2021 fundraisin­g, but two and half times the $170 million investors had poured into it.

Even while seated at the conference table in At-Bay’s San Francisco headquarte­rs, the six-footfour Iram towers over his employees. On this January morning they’re briefing him on the impact of “Citrix Bleed”—a vulnerabil­ity related to Citrix’s remote access technology that it disclosed and issued a patch for on October 10, 2023. After third-party researcher­s figured out how it could be exploited, At-Bay’s engineers, all based in Tel Aviv, sprinted to build code to determine which customers were most likely to become victims. They finished in two days, identifyin­g 345 customers (out of 35,000) using the product and contacted the 70 highest-risk ones individual­ly while simultaneo­usly urging all 345 to apply Citrix’s patch. Within six weeks, 334 had done so.

Timely patching is crucial; after Citrix flagged the vulnerabil­ity, hacking groups with names like

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