After the acquisition of Sandvik Powder Solutions by the Japanese engineering company Metal Technology Co. Ltd. (MTC) the new company, MTC Powder Solutions AB (MTCPS), has made consistent and positive moves in its first few months in control. In an interview with the new Board of Directors Chairman, Mr. Tetsuhito Hirayama, we were able to gain insight into the new owners, their ambition, and the man who has been sent to support the new lease of life to this innovative and exciting engineering company. Below are some of the highlights of that interview.
Tetsuhito is a member of the founding family of MTC, however his role in the company has seen him work and experience a variety of positions in the company to build valuable insights and experience in all aspects of the mechanics of the MTC group. He started working hands on with the heat treatment equipment, moving into the sales side, continued into development work (Known as the MTC Technical Center now) and later working in the general affairs division at MTC`s headquarters in Tokyo. In 2005 Tetsuhito` s journey saw him become the Managing Director for the General Affairs Division mainly responsible for maintaining the company operations and responsible for planning new initiatives for the company such as corporate acquisitions, business alliances and alike.
Hearing the background of Tetsuhito brought me back to the acquisition and what the main factors that he felt played a lead in his decision to champion the acquisition of what is now MTC Powder Solutions. Tetsuhito took a moment to reply, thinking through the whole experience we went through at the time.
“The high level of technological expertise is a huge factor. Not just the equipment or practices, but the people”.
He stated that he was convinced that Near Net Shape Hot Isostatic Pressing (NNS HIP) would allow MTC to expand into new overseas markets and continue MTC`s desire to grow and develop.
MTC have always had a very strong position domestically and we want to maintain and build on this solid and reliable predominantly Japanese customer base. MTC hopes to do this by expanding globally to create customers around the world with the same level of service. A benefit for both current and future customers indeed. The acquisition of MTC Powder Solutions is the first step in growing and creating a NNS HIP business in Europe.
Here in Sweden
A question that is frequently asked to me which I put to Tetsuhito was “why was it important for a representative from MTC to actually move to Sweden and be on site?" Without hesitation Tetsuhito exclaimed that he felt it is crucial to provide an environment in which the employees of MTC Powder Solutions can feel and see an actual change to continuing growing its business. MTC needs to be accessible to the people involved. And even more so, MTC needs to have a deep understanding and synergy with MTC Powder Solutions to be able to effectively benefit from combining the two companies’ strengths.
“As an example, MTC owns and runs over 19 HIP units on different sites and therefore knows a vast amount about running a HIP unit and maintaining the efficiency; something that could increase efficiency further at MTC PS.” Commented Tetsuhito
In recent years MTC PS have successfully designed tailormade Powder Metallurgy (PM) NNS HIP parts; solving many challenges encountered in demanding industries such as the Oil &Gas and the Nuclear industries. As a result, an increase in demand for mass produced PM NNS HIP components can be seen. An increase which MTC PS is now well positioned to meet with MTC as our new owner.
Tetsuhito went on to disclose some of the desired development through the factory and manufacturing operations. His focus was on utilizing what is currently available and installing positive and quick investments to improve current practices. In the last few weeks, we have seen an investment in a Laser cutter, HIP upgrade and several positive employee gains. A sign of good synergy onsite within the management team. I wondered if some of the influence of the well-known Japanese `efficiency, quality, and delivery accuracy` coupled with the Swedish management team is already coming through?
Tetsuhito acknowledged that although it is quite a difficult process, between two countries with different systems, MTC`s experience and his own offered chances to share knowledge, investigate problem areas, and utilize the detailed approach of the Japanese. This approach is expected to lead to improved quality, improved customer satisfaction, and improved in-house workings and motivation.
I finished up the interview with two final questions. Firstly, “what are MTCs' key strengths and how do they help MTC Powder Solutions to grow"; and “What synergies do you think MTC PS and MTC have as part of a larger group with core businesses related to heat treatment technologies?” Tetsuhito highlighted that MTC has customers from multiple industries enabling the company to benefit from when industries are doing well and when they are not. This reduces the impact of any industry's market fluctuations and brings stability to the company's performance. Similarly, in the future MTC Powder Solutions will secure a broader spectrum of customers.
Currently the technology MTC Powder Solutions utilizes with the PM NNS is fantastic. With MTC other technologies such as Additive Manufacturing, brazing, and the bonding of dissimilar Materials brings with it a huge growth for the future of MTC Powder Solutions. To achieve this, it requires a long-term perspective, understanding of the customers’ needs, and close collaboration and integration.
Tetsuhito looks positive and thoughtful. I thanked him for his time again and look forward to the progress of MTC Powder Solutions.