Brought to you by VANTIQ
Episode 28
Business Solutions Using Robotics
-Japanese Special Edition- Jun Kawakita, VANTIQ's Sales and Marketing Representative from Japan, interviewed Shigeru Morita, Executive officer at Mitsuiwa Corporation about their new service of automation and robot solutions, their efforts toward digital transformation, and how all technological companies can support long-term growth of customers and partners.
Jun
Kawakita
VANTIQ Sales and Marketing Representative
Shigeru
Morita
Executive officer at Mitsuiwa Corporation

Kawakita: Hello, I am Jun Kawakita, VANTIQ Japan Sales and Marketing representative. Today on VANTIQ TV, we are in Japan. It is my honor to interview Mr. Morita of Mitsuiwa Co., Ltd. Mr. Morita, thank you for your time today.

Morita: Thank you!

Kawakita: First of all, tell me about your background.

Morita: I originally started working as a Software Development Engineer for about 15 years working on the three-dimensional Toka Super Computer for Silicon Graphics for manufacturing industry customers. Then, we were doing business for broadcasters, customers of media including NTT and customers of universities and government agencies. After that, I joined the company of a carrier network called Colt where we developed cloud services. After Colt, I came to Mitsuiwa and took charge of system automation with a focus on industrial robots for smart factories, security, global businesss, ICT business, centering on Fujitsu.

Kawakita: Thank you very much. So, are you an engineer?

Morita: Yes, I am an engineer.

Kawakita: But as I usually say, I feel like you are a fantastic salesman. I am also looking forward to your technology. The sales have been very impressive, so thank you for today.

Morita: Yes, thank you!

Kawakita: You touched on it briefly in your background, can you tell us more about Mitsuiwa?

Morita: Mitsuiwa was founded 50 years ago and has a very long business history. As a business, we are largely doing mainly ICT services, services centered on computers and businesses that sell devices, especially with respect to ICT and IT. As a partner of Fujitsu, we have grown. Actually, there are currently 500 Fujitsu partners. Mitsuiwa is in the top three, so it is a company that can greatly expand the business of IT considerably.

Kawakita: It is third place in 500?

Morita: Yes.

Kawakita: That’s amazing.

Morita: Yes, thank you.

Kawakita: Do you have capital of Fujitsu?

Morita: No, actually this is not included at all.

Kawakita: I knew it and heard it, but still that is a miracle story.

Morita: Well, among the top companies of Fujitsu partners, it seems that Mitsuiwa is only one company with no capital of Fujutsu.

Kawakita: It is a famous story in the industry. Fujitsu also relies on Mitsuiwa’s sales force and technical skills. There are various changes in the industry of IoT, such as Mitsuiwa’s current digital transformation and IoT in the world. But, could you please talk a little  more about the current change in the industry?

Morita: Yes. With regard to digital transformation initiatives in Mitsuiwa now, when thinking about the trend of the cloud service after the 2020 Olympic Games in japan, we we are constantly think about our main business within server and PC as a third pillar compared to a few years ago.

Among Japanese companies, the industrial robot industry is actually the world’s largest, the automation business centered on robots, IoT businesses among them. The smart factory is staying in business. The third pillar is centering on robots within business.

Actually, five years ago, I made up a company that was a robot systems integrator called Nippon Foresight Robo. It is for our customers. We have been targeting only IT customers so far. I am visiting the departments where the production is done in the factory. I assume there are sensors like robots or robot-related sensors, image processing, etc. So, from there, there are various data points coming out. I would like to collaborate with IT services that are good at this so that we can grow our business in the future.

Kawakita: I see. That means that the ICT service is a pillar, a device business. A new business in the IoT era centering on robots has been started. These three pillars are never separated and have a relationship, correct?

Morita: That’s right. Yes.

Kawakita: There are 28 business sites and 450 field engineers in Japan. Mitsuiwa has advantage in field support by those engineers who visit the customers directly. Considering customer needs is our strength.

Morita: That’s right. There are 450 field engineers with 28 bases in the country that support Mitsuiwa. It is also very advantageous that we can visit our customers and actually support them. I think that we want to combine such needs and customer needs into our strengths.

Kawakita: I see. Also, there are so many robot manufacturers in Japan, if not too many, but there are lots of things that come about, right? What kind of thoughts are you addressing about robots?

Morita: With FANUC, Yaskawa Electric, and Kawasak, each customer and now Mitsuiwa have made friends. Now, we are still creating an environment where we can constantly contact the top of each robot maker. I think that new business will come from there.

Kawakita: Do you often integrate robot environments with multi-vendor, FA environments?

Morita: That’s right. When doing the robot integration, since each robot’s characteristics are still different, we are not the only company working on these solutions, but we will make a suggestion at the right place with the best possible relationship with multiple companies.

Kawakita: I see. Is the secret being able to correspond with multiple vendors? After all, as I mentioned earlier, is that because you are an independent company?

Morita: That’s right. Well, quite a bit with each company. In fact, FANUC has long ago made a joint venture company group, YASKAWA. We have the former chairperson and president from YASUKAWA Electric Corporation as corporate auditor. But, we don’t have a capital relationship with both companies because Mitsuiwa prefers to focus on the customer without a lock on to specific companies.

Kawakita: I like your customer-oriented thinking.

Morita: Thank you very much.

Kawakita: I think that VANTIQ has been keeping an eye on this earlier, but as soon as the IoT era centered on the robot you talked about, you start managing the new Robot business as a third pillar. Now,can you talk a little bit more about why VANTIQ at that timing?

Morita: We have 5000 customers and have been doing business in IoT and smart factories for several years. You receive frequent questions from customers. I’d like to change the specifications to a case-by-case basis. When I first started doing POCs, I often talked about adding changes to it. Also, Mitsuiwa itself is not a development company naturally, and we have some system development companies in our group. But, in recent years, the Japanese market has been exhausting the resources of SE, and various customers.

There are also places where there are not as many technicians and the development cost is rising considerably. I think that VANTIQ has one appeal of being able to make IoT systems even for those who are not high in development skills, and if they are skillful, it is possible to develop in detail using VAIL. I can use developers who do not have a high level understanding, and if skilled people make something of higher level, I can use both. We are grateful for that product.

Kawakita: I see. Since you have 5000 customers, it must be hard work to discuss with each customer how to use IoT devices in the IoT era. I think it is easier with the VANTIQ platform when you answer the request. Does that make sense?

Morita: Well, until now, although it took a considerable amount of time to say and suggest each proposal to each customer. Now that customer needs are solidified to a certain extent, VANTIQ makes it safer and cooler. It is up to me to think of an idea. It is a very big deal to have something where we can have as much as we can make and show it to customers.

Kawakita: VANTIQ is very agile.

Morita: Well, it seems that the height of VANTIQ’s own agility is dependent on our own business; the business that I have to manage with high revolution nowadays. It has become very complex. So, in order to provide such things, I think VANTIQ is absolutely necessary.

Kawakita: And, although corresponding to 5000 companies, Japan is now depleted of young people anyway, so it is hard to find an engineer. For times like these, I think that it is useful for VANTIQ applications to be easy to develop.

Morita: Yes that piece of VANTIQ is mentioned quite often.

Kawakita: Good. As we are having a further advanced IoT era, Mitsuiwa’s market is very focused. So, I hope that in the future, we are able to cultivate the market with various hands together. Using VANTIQ, I’ve heard that you are doing development for a company that applied Mitsuiwa’s field service using VANTIQ successfully, as explained at the very beginning. Can you give a little introduction?

Morita: To adopt VANTIQ at Mitsuiwa, there are places where we must first make examples of ourselves. The 450 engineers I explained earlier are truly optimum for our customers. There is little doubt as to whether we are arriving or not and we have examined it in our field troops. After all, it is the person who has the call and is really close to the customer that can quickly get to the customer. We tried to make VANTIQ where we were able to cope with obstacles, so we got the cooperation of VANTIQ this time and built a system to arrange our field engineers.

Kawakita: Is that just Mitsuiwa’s internal use?

Morita: We are doing it inside our company, but while developing each one, as some like modules have been made, this module is a strength. I think it is possible to use this module for the development side of VANTIQ, and hopefully, sell it to customers. I think that there was such a model in VANTIQ’s original plan as well. However, we think that we cannot make such things first.

Kawakita: I see. In the future, if there are various IoT devices and customers, FA factories are also going to be managed and field services will be provided there. Actually, I think that there will also be some kind of relationship such as offering services in real time, various kinds of devices corresponding to the events. Is there such a thing also included in the concept?

Morita: That’s right. I am selling products like sensors that can link with other sensors and track people’s movements in real time. A lot of stories about wanting to link various devices and people by themselves are coming out. A lot of customers who want to introduce IoT with keywords are saying that safety as a keyword has been increasing recently. I hope we can collaborate with those things.

Kawakita: I see. Looking at Morita’s business card, there are lots of things written about promoting smart factories, security, global business, and overall business. Those are things I’d like to talk about. But by all means, VANTIQ and Mitsuiwa are about the future. Can you talk about the story?

Morita: As I mentioned earlier, in Mitsuiwa, I had a very long relationship with 5000 customers. It was 10 years that my sales person stayed for a certain period of time. 20, I was able to realize relationships with customers such as being together for the same year. 25 years and having the same sales, I was thinking that I could solve the problem among customers through VANTIQ. I am wondering if Mitsuiwa and the 5000 customers of this company could make the service together. I think that this product called VANTIQ would be very useful for managing revenue sharing with customers and increasing the business of Mitsuiwa as our business grows big, I am thinking that I would like to do business with strong expectations for many projects.

Kawakita: That’s WinWinWin forall of customers, Mitsuiwa and VANTIQ alike. Thank you very much. We are sure to have a business that makes full use of the strengths of VANTIQ, but it is still provided by Event Driven Architecture and other things. Its familiarity is still thin in Japan. I was thinking that this was the world so far. I thought that communication can not be assembled until all the data has been put in the database. With VANTIQ, various events appear as an event and the corresponding application is assembled in real time. I think that it is suitable for service as well because it is suitable for applications coordinating with various sensors attached to a robot, so I would like to expand it widely. I am counting on the future. Thank you.

Morita: Thank you very much!

Kawakita: It was a great time having you on VANTIQ TV.

Morita: Thank you very much.

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