Interview with Mr Akira Onishi

Face2Face
Mr Akira Onishi
Mr Akira Onishi
GM [Textile Machinery] & MO [Toyota Ind.Corp.]
Toyota Industries Corporation
Toyota Industries Corporation

Incorporated in November 18, 1926 and headquartered in Japan, Toyota Industries Corporation is the group of companies dealing into diversified business segments viz Automobiles, Industrial Equipments, Electronics, Mechatronics, and Textile Machinery. Contributing to innovation in the textile industry with skills and creativity, the roots of the Toyota Group go back to the renowned Japanese inventor Sakichi Toyoda and his invention of the automatic loom. Since then, the division has developed, manufactured, and sold textile machinery. Majority of the production is exported to customers worldwide. Toyota Industries manufactures two main categories of textile machinery: spinning machinery for spinning cotton fibers into yarn; and weaving machinery, on which yarn is woven into fabric in the directions of weft and warp (breadth and lengthwise). Toyota Industries has earned high appraisal from customers around the world as an international leader, especially for flagship air-jet loom winning No.1 share in the industry, and also for spinning machinery such as ring spinning frames and roving frames. Mr Akira Onishi is the General Manager of Textile Machinery Division and Managing Officer of Toyota Industries Corporation. A Capricon by birth, Mr Onishi is a native of Japan, who started his career with Toyoda Automatic Loom Works Ltd (present Toyota Industries Corporation), in the year 1981. He became Managing Officer of the company as of June 2005, and took up the responsibilities as General Manager of textile machinery division from January 2007. Mr Onishi while speaking to Face2Face team in this interview reveals key strategies to win customers’ confidence; ace out counterparts, and factors that lead Japan textile machinery market towards substantial growth.

Toyota air-jet loom boasts the No.1 share in the industry. How is that so?

"Our air-jet loom JAT710 is the model that we launched by pursuing the answer to the question-“What is the weaving machine that the customers are really pleased with?”, the answer was enhancement of basic performance of air-jet looms such as high speed, low vibration and energy saving. Further to these features, high versatility of JAT710, brought by Toyota’s unique functions such as FIS (Flexible Insertion System) and e-shed (electronic shedding motion), is very much appreciated by our customers. In parallel with the pursuit of machine performances, we have been making big effort to enhance the worldwide service network. We believe that the high ratio of repeat order is the proof of customers’ confidence to our service."

Could you describe the latest technological developments, including, induction of control technology, mechatronics and IT, into your textile machinery?

Toyota has been leading IT (Information Technology) on air-jet looms at all times. The wide-screen interactive LCD function panel was introduced with JAT600 for the first time on the air-jet looms. With the successive model JAT610 equipped ICS (Initial Condition Setting), which automatically makes the terminal settings of weaving machine only by inputting basic weaving parameters. ICS was again introduced by Toyota first time in the world. And now with JAT710, Toyota offers further advanced IT features such as “Web-browser-equipped Color Function Panel” that easily enables Internet connection between the air-jet looms and external and/or internal network system, and “WAS (Weaving Assistant System)” that gives advices even mechanical settings for various kinds of fabric styles. By those efforts with advanced functions, Toyota has been challenging to widen the possibility of air-jet looms.

How does Toyota find itself in a global market invaded by low cost Chinese textile machinery?

As we are not in direct competitions with Chinese machine manufacturers in the market, we do not consider that the global market is “invaded”. We are confident that by continuing our effort to further progress in productivity, reliability and versatility of our machines, and technical services as well, the market segment of no competition with Chinese machine manufacturers can be maintained.

Can you describe in gist, different products you have for spinning, weaving and weaving preparatory categories?

With regard to the spinning machinery, we line-up the drawing frame, comber and comber preparation, roving frame and ring spinning frame both for conventional yarn and compact yarn. As to the weaving machinery, we offer air-jet loom JAT710, water-jet loom LWT710 and the sizing machine for filament, spun and glass yarn.

What are the key factors keeping a Toyota textile machinery customer happy?

Quality is the most important factor for Toyota. We are trying for undisputed No.1 quality on all the aspects of customers interface viz machine as a matter of course, spare parts, technical services, training for customers, and sales.

How do you see Japanese textile industry vis-à-vis Chinese textile industry?

It is certainly very difficult to compete with Chinese textile industry in terms of production cost, and the situation may not change in the future. On the other hand, Japanese textile industry has been responding to very sever requirement of Japanese consumers by its high ability of inventiveness and development, product quality, and such assets are remained. Japanese textile industry is working out the strategy how such ability shall be expanded to the global market, and we, as textile machinery manufacturer, are taking part in the discussion.

Is Toyota drawing up new plans or diversification programme for the future? What are they?

Picture of the global textile industry is greatly changing and we recognize the necessity to timely respond such changes. Moreover, to make valuable proposals of stepping ahead, we are always planning measures and proposals, and will steadily propose to customers.
Published on: 26/03/2007

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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