Interview with a resident – SMC Pneumatic LLC
In the near future, the construction of the production and logistics complex and the headquarters of SMC Pneumatic will start on the site of Greenstate Industrial Park in Gorelovo. This is a subsidiary of the Japanese SMC Corporation – a world leader in automation and pneumatic technology. Alexey Kuryshev, Director of SMC Pneumatic LLC spoke on what is to appear on new site in addition to production, why did the manufacturer choose Greenstate in Gorelovo, and how relations with YIT, the managing company of the Industrial Park are developing.
- Alexey Vyacheslavovich, tell us briefly about the history of the company, how it appeared in Russia, what are its representative offices, production and office sites.
- We are a Japanese company with 100 percent Japanese capital. In 1996, our first representative office was opened in St. Petersburg, and in 1998 we founded the SMC Pneumatic LLC; since then the company headquarters is located here. We have a large production site. Our employees are located in 73 settlements of Russia: some work in the office, some work from home, because sales engineers are always on the move, and not everyone needs an office. We have six offices where large groups of people are located, but mainly employees work in home offices and travel around the country a lot. We have 200 sales engineers on our staff. We also work with distributors, there are about 100 of them.
- What does your company produce and sell? Who are your main consumers in Russia?
- These are pneumatic components for a wide variety of equipment. We do not specialize in any one industry, because automation is needed almost everywhere: at large enterprises, in agriculture, in any assembly production. Most of our products are used in assembly plants, where there are many repeated movements, so that it makes sense to automate them and do away with human manual labor. In a word, almost everywhere where there is automation and compressed air, there is also SMC. We occupy more than a third of the world market, so even statistically we are present everywhere.
- Where is your main production site in Russia?
- In Lukhovitsy, near Moscow. There, on 10 hectares, two buildings were built: office and industrial, with a total area of 15,000 square meters. About 70 persons work there. We manufacture products for Russia mainly and export them worldwide.
- Why did you decide to build an enterprise in Gorelovo?
- Our turnover keeps growing. We have doubled within just the last five years. In addition, we want to be closer to our consumer. It is not so much production that we are building here, but the central office, where the brain of the company will be, as well as the design and technological unit to design and manufacture complex, high-tech products.
- Why did you choose the Greenstate site?
- We studied a number of similar offers and we liked the way everything is organized here in comparison with others, plus the location itself.
- Did you consider industrial zones south of the city only?
- We looked everywhere, but the Greenstate Industrial Park has won over all the other sites.
- Which factors became decisive?
- There is no single reason why we chose Greenstate in Gorelovo. We looked at the price, location in terms of transport accessibility for the warehouse and employees, looked at the adequacy of the companies we work with. I admit, there were other interesting sites, but here we liked the people and their approach to our project. For us, this is important when choosing partners – because we plan long-term relationships. In addition, we needed absolute cleanliness and transparency of the transaction because we show all reports to our auditors, owners and management of the corporation openly. With YIT, it was very easy in that regard.
- You bought 2 hectares, the territory is large, are you planning anything else beside the training center and office? How big is the warehouse planned?
- There will be a kind of hub for distribution of our products across Russia, and there will be an assembly production line. If we compare our company in Gorelovo with production in Lukhovitsy, the other one is located next to the main warehouse of components and focuses more on specialized solutions.
- Who do you plan to train at the training center?
- First of all, our employees and distributors, however, we will also train our partners who have such a need. As soon as a new employee comes to us, we tell him/her about the company, about our work standards, about the culture of employee behavior. Most of the invited students attending the courses are engineers working in the design or research departments, or in production, as well as sales engineers. There are office staff workers too. We have implemented a variety of training programs. We help all companies that want to improve their production, save resources, increase efficiency, reduce costs. We have positive experience and highly qualified specialists. We know how to optimize processes, how to save energy, including compressed air. This is what we have been doing for many years.
- Do you teach other companies to save money?
- Yes, it is with such a know-how that we come around to them. SMC not only sells components in a clean way, putting out a good product. Basically, the client is faced with a task more than just buying a quality component from us, it consists in making one’s business as efficient and profitable as possible. Since we are experts in automation, we come with specific proposals, for example, how to optimize a production line and increase its productivity.
– Will the training center in Lukhovitsy and the one in Greenstate accept students from all over Russia?
- Not only them, people are coming to us from all the former republics of the Soviet Union, as well as European colleagues.
- Where are you going to lodge your students? After all, you need a hotel and some kind of minimal infrastructure. Or will they keep driving to Gorelovo from the city every day?
- St. Petersburg is a large city with a developed hotel network. We work with a number of hotels and can accommodate any number of guests comfortably at any time.
- What is the state of the project today?
- We plan to launch a tender to select a general contractor in the nearest future. Tender documentation is ready. We plan to start construction works this year. And we want to finish it in 12 to 18 months.
- What are the parameters of the production part, training center, office, warehouse?
- There will be about 10,000 square meters of warehouse and production floor space and 4,500 square meters of office space, which includes a training center and conference rooms.
- How did relations with YIT develop from the very start of your cooperation? Do you have any wishes or suggestions?
- The relationship is good, businesslike. Work issues arising in the process are resolved promptly. I can say with confidence that we were not mistaken in our choice.
- Last year, at the Innoprom exhibition, you presented a report: "Industrial cooperation and the development of industrial technologies." Among other things, it dealt with companies that could be your partners or suppliers. Who would you like to see as neighbors in the industrial park?
- We are glad to see everyone.
- After the site is built in Gorelovo, will you vacate your offices in St. Petersburg?
- Most likely we will reserve some of the offices. There are some units that it makes sense to keep there. But the main staff will move to the new headquarters, of course.
- In terms of perspective, does the SMC have expansion plans at Greenstate?
- Yes, we fully admit a possibility of such a development of events. Recently we were in Japan and claimed there that we were too modest in assessing our expansion plans. If I were an YIT, I would not hurry too much to sell the area north of us. There are about 20 hectares left, and I do not know how much we need, but maybe we will need all the remaining land. A large international company that we are, it is not too fast that we take our decisions though.
SMC Corporation was founded in 1959 in Tokyo. Having started with the production of industrial filters, SMC became a world leader in the field of pneumatic automation in a short time. It manufactures and supplies pneumatic and vacuum equipment for the automotive, oil, electronic, medical industries, semiconductor manufacturing enterprises and others. Today, SMC occupies more than 30% of the global pneumatic automation market, well ahead of its closest competitors. SMC Corporation annual sales exceed $ 5.3 billion.
In Japan, there are 6 SMC factories. The SMC sales network in Japan consists of 54 local units and 94 distributors. The corporation has representative offices in 83 countries of the world, where 57 subsidiaries operate. In Russia, SMC Corporation specialists work in 73 major industrial centers. The Russian headquarters of the company are located in St. Petersburg.