Promising Equipment Sales Defy Pandemic Threat

MASS Co., Ltd., a leading distributor of manufacturing equipment particularly mounters, has embarked on expansions on business outside Japan. Despite the continuing wrath of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the company continues to increase its sales in China and countries in Southeast Asia. It is even bolstering its marketing system and reinforcing personnel.

As a distributor of the robotics unit of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., MASS handles a wide range of equipment related to the surface mounting line, centering around mounters. These also include printed circuit boards (PCB) inspection systems and solder paste printers. Aside from Yamaha Motor, the company also handles products of other manufacturers, including soldering equipment.

Remains in Good Shape

To meet the needs of Japanese companies operating overseas as well as in Japan, MASS has a total of 11 sales bases in Suzhou and Shenzhen in China, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. It also maintains bases in Mexico and India.  These overseas bases are under MASS TRADING SINGAPORE PTE. LTD. in Singapore. 

Hirokazu Ogane is Managing Director of MASS TRADING SINGAPORE and oversees foreign bases. Ogane, who resides in Thailand, said COVID-19 cases in the country has been averaging 20,000 per day, about 3,000 to 4,000 of which are in Bangkok. Although he said vaccination has been advancing, heightened health protocols have closed commercial facilities such as shopping malls for the entire month of August.

Hirokazu Ogane, Managing Director, MASS TRADING SINGAPORE PTE. LTD.

Although curfews across the country remain enforced until September, their engineers continue to visit customers, but sales and marketing activities are usually online. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Ogane said the company’s overseas business has been in good shape. 

“Although economy in Thailand is not good, the manufacturing industry is thriving and all our customers, including automotive electronics, home electric appliances, and industrial equipment manufacturers, are also doing well. Some Japanese companies have been continuing record production,” said Ogane. Aside from Thailand, he noted bases in China, Malaysia, and the Philippines are also doing well, exceeding initial business projections.

“Shortages of semiconductors, electronic components and various materials are hampering some Japanese manufacturers to carry out production as they wish. Although there are uncertainties for the future, for the time being, we are hoping to maintain the present brisk business.” 

Steps up One-Stop Solution

MASS is advancing a plan to increase sales personnel and engineers at its overseas bases. The company is also working to nurture human resources, opening important posts to local staff and expanding areas of activity for women. Ogane said, “China and countries in Southeast Asia have a large potential for mounter business.  When they recover from the COVID-19, the demand for mounters will expand. I would like to prepare when that time comes.” 

Yamaha Motor has been vigorously promoting one-stop solution to use Yamaha products for all intelligent surface mount technology (SMT) machines, from printers, mounters to inspection systems. The company has also entered the market of solder paste inspection (SPI) systems and surface mount devices (SMD) storage systems (automated warehouses). 

Ogane said, “Customers who want to install all Yamaha machines to integrally manage the SMT line have been increasing. In China, there are strong needs for automation but countries in Southeast Asia have not come to that yet.”

“However, recently, interest in automation has been surely increasing, as there are increasing cases that a manufacturer that installs mounters simultaneously install PCB inspection systems.  We have been stepping up the proposal of the one-stop solution.” 

MASS aims to cultivate new customers in the factory automation (FA) field by strengthening collaborations with the robot field as well in addition to Yamaha Motor and by sharing customer information of both companies.  The company has been promoting this scheme in all its bases in China and countries in Southeast Asia.