Control panels and electricity go hand-in-hand, with all electrical instruments requiring one to function. Control panels have to be manufactured according to each country’s unique standards. In the international control panel industry, one company that boasts an unusually wide playing field, Mikasa Co. Ltd.
Covering 130 Countries and Regions: An Electrical Specialist Group with a Full Command of Diverse Standards
Mikasa is an expert control panel maker producing high quality panels and solutions. While most panel manufacturers specialize in the standards of their own country, Mikasa covers over 130 countries and regions of standards, including IEC international standard, Europe’s EN standard, and North America’s NFPA and UL standards.
It is particularly worth noting that Mikasa is one of only 15 companies in Japan that have been certified as a manufacturer of industrial control panels under the UL 508A standard. Larger firms and other companies that make mass-produced items account for the majority of certified plants in Japan.
Mikasa, a small company that manufactures individual panels depending on the needs of their customers, are an extremely rare and precious case. Many big enterprisers in North America requires these certification when purchasing foreign products, and depending on the state, it has compelling force when certification is an essential requirement. Consequentially, Mikasa has a great advantage over other non-certified companies.
Furthermore, Mikasa has branch offices in Germany, Singapore and the United States, with business partners in Germany, Italy, and the United States. Mikasa focused on expanding their network globally to gain knowhow of the foreign standards. And today, Mikasa stands as one of the leading companies, for Japanese enterprises seeking overseas expansion.
Shigeki Ishida, President of Mikasa, says: “We handle a wide variety of control panels, ranging from one offs to mass produced items. We mainly produce control panels for machinery and equipment manufacturers in Japan. These companies are expected to accelerate their overseas expansion, and we in the control panel industry need to be able to design and produce products that are compliant with overseas standards.”
Helping German Company to Enter the Japanese Market
Mikasa has been receiving inquires from overseas companies who are looking at entering the Japanese market, and the inquires are expected to grow. While confirming to the international standards, the Japanese market is quite unique and it’s even challenging for big companies to enter the Japanese market. Mikasa, with experience of machinery, equipment, and electrical parts for a wide range of field, under different standards and certifications essential for each country and region, could also modify foreign products to meet the regulations of the Japanese market. Inquiries from Europe come especially from Germany, and some that they have consulted have already entered into contracts with several major Japanese firms.
Germany-based E-T-A, for example, is an electrical parts manufacturer that capturing 60–80% of the European market share. They consulted Mikasa as they were having difficulties in expanding their businesses in Japan. Mikasa built demo machines with E-T-A’s products and displayed them at various exhibitions, including JIMTOF. They also held seminars and workshops, published handbooks, featuring E-T-A products, and launched a website to sell their products, as part of their promotion and marketing strategy. While Mikasa’s promotion were counted as only a part of E-T-A’s marketing, E-T-A managed to increase their sales several times within Japan.
Mikasa recently signed a contract with EPLAN, a German control panel CAD manufacturer with a 70% share of the European market, in plan of promoting the company and it’s product like E-T-A. But this time, Mikasa is planned to also support the sales promotion by creating a design system of EPLAN’s, incorporating monetize information obtained through Mikasa’s online direct marketing.
Cooperation with our business partners in each region has allowed Mikasa to offer foreign-made programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Business partners could also provide maintenance and after-sales services after products are exported overseas, in order to ensure that our customers can receive the same full-scale services as in Japan.
Small Giant with 200,000 Potential Customers
What makes it possible for a small control panel manufacturer in Aichi, Japan to do business alongside European business giants? The secret lies in Miaksa’s ability to provide drafts, proposals, and planning, and in the pull-based business style that has kept it in the lead.
Traditional image of a control panel manufacturer is somewhat old with triangular, slate roofs and concrete floors. But Mikasa’s head office is different. You will understand once you visit, but their office is just like a distributor for luxury foreign cars, showcasing control panel demo machines with foreign electrical parts. Mikasa also runs 13 websites including seigyobann.com (“seigyobann” is equivalent to “control panel” in English), publishes magazines, and holds nationwide seminars. They aggressively work to disseminate information. “People [in Japan] are often told to work twice as hard as others, but if you work 13 times harder than others, you can gather that much more information and differentiate yourself from the competition,” Ishida laughs.
Today, Mikasa receives inquiries about control panels every day through the website and word of mouth of their clients. Today, Mikasa has over 200,000 customers on their list, as a result of summarizing the information gathered. This potential and the company’s knowledge in a wide range of field and standards are decisive factors for numerous domestic and foreign companies to contact them.
Business: Design and production of control panels, risk analysis, document production, and evaluation testing according to the laws and standards of each destination country
Headquarters Address: 166 Aza-miyazoe Ohaza-saito,Fuso-town Niwa-conty, Aichi 480-0104
President: Shigeki Ishida
Number of Employees: 25
Capital: 10 million yen