Aiming to Solve Water Treatment Issues throughout the World
From Asia to the World, the Beginning of a New Challenge
Expansion and evolution of production bases with an eye to laborsaving and efficiency improvement
The capacity of the production base, ZSH, is being increased more than 1.5 times the conventional level to meet the significantly growing demand associated with increasingly stringent environmental regulations in China. The new factory is planned to start operations in May 2018. With the sales expansion of POREFLON™ modules in the market, ZSH is also facing a new phase. ZSH will endeavor to further reduce the cost as there is “no end to the pursuit of cost reduction.”
“The first thing to do is to introduce the latest facilities that can achieve more efficient production. Due to a continued labor shortage in China, it is necessary to promote laborsaving and efficiency improvement. The other thing to do is to provide training. I believe that, by enhancing the skill level and increasing the number of multifunctional workers, a high-quality and more efficient production system can be established even with fewer workers” (Zhao). In addition, with the progress in sales expansion, the number of models being produced is also increasing.
“We have already started our efforts to maintain the stability of the operation, despite the increase in the number of models. In addition, even though we are engaged in manufacturing, we will actively promote our activities outside the factory in the future, such as supporting sales and providing technical assistance by paying visits to customers” (Kawabe).
Steadily expanding our share of the Chinese market to make Sumitomo Electric’s membranes commonly known in China
Kiyoshi Ida, General manager of the Sales Dept., Water Processing Div., who has developed the POREFLON™ module and led the water treatment business together with Morita, points out that the market scale will surely expand in the future because environmental regulations in China are becoming increasingly stringent. Kiyoshi Ida says that, as the competition becomes more intensive, it will become more important not only to pursue further cost reduction to maintain our price competitiveness but also consider how to make our product selected by customers.
“It is important to have customers recognize the strength of POREFLON™ modules, i.e., stability and durability in water treatment, and also the economic advantage brought about by this strength, thus enhancing customers’ buying motivation. It is essential to deal with companies and associations on an individual basis or fulfill the specifications for each type of business and industry. It is important to take action earlier than our competitors and I believe that there is certainly a first-mover advantage gained by earlier action.”
POREFLON™ modules are steadily increasing their market share in the area of leachate treatment at final disposal sites. Our target is to obtain a high market share also in other areas and make Sumitomo Electric’s membranes commonly known in the wastewater treatment industry in China.
“Sumitomo Electric’s membranes” rolled out worldwide with our aspiration to conserve the global environment
The water treatment business of the Sumitomo Electric Group, with the Chinese market strategy positioned at its core, is already eyeing the world market. In this case, the fact that the Sumitomo Electric Group already has business bases in many countries around the world is one of its great advantages, with many footholds to start sales activities.
“I believe that it is important to follow the government environmental policies of each country, such as strengthening environmental regulations and securing water resources, to proceed with our activities, which will ensure our entry into the respective markets” (Ida).
Following East Asia, we are targeting Southeast Asia, as well as North America, to expand our sales. Now, various Southeast Asian countries with significant economic growth, such as Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, are introducing more stringent regulations and values for effluent water quality, which provides a great business opportunity for membrane manufacturers. We will implement the strategy of detecting the trend of water treatment needs on a timely basis and also building partnership relationships to ensure the receipt of orders, thus actively cultivating new markets.
Morita says, “It is important not only to establish a revenue base but also have an awareness that the water treatment business in which we engage is an activity conscious of ESG investment (sustainable growth indicator from the three perspectives of Environment, Social, and Governance).” “Membranes provided by us are extremely effective in preserving water resources on the Earth. Supplying POREFLON™ modules to water treatment sites around the world means nothing else than contributing to solving the social problem of the global water shortage. Based on this belief, we will deliver POREFLON™ modules worldwide.”
With a mission to preserve global water resources, “Sumitomo Electric’s membranes” will be rolled out to markets across the world from Asia to North America, the Middle East, and Africa – just the beginning of a long journey.