Japanese household goods manufacturer, Iris Ohyama, is significantly ramping up its adoption of industrial robots at its factories in China. The move comes as a strategic response to the challenges of rising wages and a push towards automation. Over the past few years, the company has been steadily introducing between 100 to 200 articulated-arm robots annually for transportation and assembly purposes, bringing the total count to approximately 1,600 units.
Naoki Kuramoto, the manufacturing director responsible for Iris Ohyama’s operations in China, highlighted the success of the initial robot integration and confirmed the company’s intentions to add more robots of the same kind in the future. Currently, Iris Ohyama operates ten factories in China, with seven located in the production hub of Dalian, and the remaining three scattered across Tianjin, Suzhou, and Guangzhou. These factories specialize in the production of essential products such as plastic storage containers and appliances.
China represents the largest output value for the Iris group, followed by Japan and the United States. Despite automation efforts, sales within Japan, the primary market for their products, have remained strong. Kuramoto emphasized that as long as the external market conditions remain constant, China will continue to be the company’s most significant manufacturing country.
While the implementation of robotics aims to enhance efficiency and productivity, Iris Ohyama remains committed to maintaining its existing workforce of approximately 5,000 employees in China, with a concentration of 4,000 in Dalian. Instead of replacing workers, the company is reassigning employees who no longer perform the same tasks to other areas such as the production of new items and new business initiatives.
By leveraging automation technology and strategically reutilizing human resources, Iris Ohyama is successfully optimizing its manufacturing operations in China. The company’s commitment to balancing the benefits of automation with the value of human expertise ensures a sustainable future for both the company and its employees.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. How many industrial robots does Iris Ohyama currently have in its Chinese factories?
Iris Ohyama currently has approximately 1,600 units of industrial robots deployed across its Chinese factories.
2. Why is Iris Ohyama increasing its use of industrial robots in China?
The company is responding to rising wages and aiming to promote automation to improve efficiency in its manufacturing processes.
3. How many factories does Iris Ohyama operate in China?
Iris Ohyama operates ten factories in China, with seven located in Dalian, and the remaining three spread across Tianjin, Suzhou, and Guangzhou.
4. What products does Iris Ohyama manufacture in its Chinese factories?
The Chinese factories specialize in producing household goods such as plastic storage containers and appliances.
5. Will the introduction of robots lead to job losses in Iris Ohyama’s Chinese factories?
No, Iris Ohyama plans to retain its current workforce and instead reassign employees to other areas such as the production of new items and new business ventures. The goal is to strike a balance between automation and human expertise.