Indonesia’s competitive edge in manufacturing is not solely due to the lower wages when compared to developed countries such as Japan.
|Meiho President Masahiko
“More importantly, there is the quality of loyalty in the Indonesian character that gives its people a distinct edge. Indonesia is one of the best destinations for foreign companies, and the employee loyalty here is the greatest asset of this country,” says Meiho President Masahiko Kawashima.
Established in 1993, Meiho Manufacturing Indonesia produces clips, rings and industrial tools for use in several different industries. Its products are mainly used in the production of spring mattresses and automotive car seats.
“We are a small company, in a very niche industry,” says the hands-on Kawashima, whose company has maintained strong relations with its Japanese and Indonesian clients throughout the archipelago.
The prevailing global economic slump has led Kawashima to change business plans for this year.
“In October 2008, it began to affect the Asian markets, and from then on, we learned a lot on how to deal with economy fluctuations. Following the European financial crisis in 2010, I postponed my plan to expand our factories and adopted a ‘wait and see’ attitude until other markets recovered. I shifted focus away from exports and concentrated my efforts on the Indonesian market,” he says.
“The U.S. and European markets are already quite mature. In this sense, we are very fortunate to be based in Indonesia where the market has much more room for growth,” he added.
From exporting over 40 percent of its products, Meiho now sellsonly 10 percent outside Indonesia, mostly to neighboring countries such as Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.
“I pay close attention to technology and teach my staff the Japanese style of business,” says Kawashima, who emphasizes the importance of knowing all the company’s products and working with customers to optimize their use.
He is also increasing the ratio of women in its workforce from the current 30 percent to 50 percent, which Kawashima believes has been contributing to Meiho’s recent successes.
“The 21st century will be the century of women. They never look for reasons they cannot accomplish a task. This positive attitude has been the driving force of our recent growth. At Meiho, we say that we are ahead of our time. As long as we honestly and earnestly put effort in our business, we will accomplish our goals,” he says.