At the height of Japan's high economic growth period, it was said that anything produced by the crushed stone industry would sell. "The UH50 was the first HCM machine that we introduced. At all events, productivity per hour was outstanding and it contributed greatly to the company's sales results." Said Shoji Yamanoi, Founder and Director of the Fujisaka Group.
Yamanoi was particularly warm in his praise for the machine's operability. At a time when large excavators were of the wire type, operation was entrusted to skilled operators. The shift from wires to hydraulics meant that the machines could be operated smoothly by less experienced operators.
"HCM's hydraulic excavators are so well balanced that even a child could drive them easily. We tried other similar-sized manufacturer's machines but to be honest, there was a big difference. HCM's hydraulic excavators, including the UH50, were so revolutionary they could be said to have changed the history of construction machinery." said Yamanoi.
On the other hand, today's construction machines leave Yamanoi feeling a bit sad. "The wire-type construction machines couldn't be operated by just anyone. So, the expert operators were very proud of their skill. Every time a new machine was introduced, they would all gather round for a photo with it. That excitement is missing now." That might sound like an indulgent complaint, but Yamanoi used to operate the big machines himself at construction sites and his words show his respect for the skilled operators of the time and the construction machines that continue to evolve.
Fujisaka Group Owner (Founder), Shoji Yamanoi
Located adjacent to the Tokyo metropolitan area and with an abundance of good quality crushed stone resources, Tochigi Prefecture has maintained its position as Japan's top producer of crushed stone for several decades. The Fujisaka Group currently supplies products all over the country as one of Japan's leading crushed stone producers. Fujisaka stone was used for the surface layer of the Joban Expressway and for many other expressways in the Kanto district. In future, the company plans to improve its production capability by consolidating its production facilities for crushed stone products in one plant while at the same time expanding its quarrying area. This will lead to both more efficient production and more efficient transportation.
In the area of environmental business which became a focus of the company in the latter half of the 1990s, it introduced large-scale, environmentally-friendly processing facilities. Showa Corporation, a member of the Fujisaka Group, has established large receiving facilities and transportation systems to make effective use of the vast quantity of industrial waste generated in the metropolitan area. The company recycles everything it receives as industrial waste and sells it as recycled products. It supplies base course materials for roads, foundation materials for buildings and fuel for woody biomass boilers. The company plans to grow its forestry business as its third pillar along with its crushed stone business and environmental business. "Of course, we will respond to the recycling-based society in the coming era. The rules in the industrial waste recycling industry are very strict and our employees are always alert when they are working. Maybe, in 3 or 4 years' time, the respective shares of the company's business will be reversed." according to Yamanoi. Even as the era changes from Showa to Heisei and now to Reiwa, the driving force of the Fujisaka Group shows no sign of abating.
* Source: Statistical Yearly Report on Crushed Stone, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
EX1200, successor to UH50
SR2000G working in the waste recycling
The changing times have brought change to the internal recruitment process. Recruitment activities that were previously focused on the local area have in recent years begun to expand to recruitment of new graduates nationwide. The aim is to let in a breath of fresh air and introduce new challenges.
Nevertheless, appreciation of employees who have already contributed so much remains unchanged. The working hours of employees were reduced as part of work-style reforms. All group companies adopted the 5-day workweek system and overtime fell by 30% with the introduction of the attendance management system. "All our employees are diligent and hard-working. Diligent employees are the best kind for small and medium-sized enterprises." The Fujisaka Group continues to protect its employees even while growing its size through M&As. It continues to donate large sums to forest conservation every year as a way of repaying the "mountains" for the vast blessings they have bestowed on the company.
The retention rate of employees is high, and all of them from veterans to young are active.
"Both the employees and the machines of HCM and HCM Japan are diligent and hardworking. However, the corporate culture does not lean towards being adventurous." This is Yamanoi's frank assessment of HCM. The employees are honest, do not use hard-selling tactics and provide reliable after-sales follow up. The machines are easy to use and work consistently. On the other hand, that seriousness and diligence sometimes may appear to be too conservative.
"What impressed me when we entered the industrial waste recycling business was the enthusiasm every company had for research. They create a lot of exciting machines based on their own ideas. In that respect, the crushed stone industry everywhere uses the same sort of machines." (Director Yamanoi)
Yamanoi has high regard for the construction machinery engines and ultra large dump trucks for domestic use once made by HCM. "And then there are the hydraulic excavators and wheel loaders ... HCM's technical capabilities always amaze me. I think it's important to keep on evolving, but what I want from now on is "innovation" rather than "evolution"." It is important to keep the corporate culture of diligence and honesty, but don't be afraid to explore new adventures.
A smiling Yamanoi concluded with the following comment. "Before I go to my grave, I want you to surprise me once more with something that will make me glad I believed in HCM." The baton has been passed to everyone at HCM.
EX5500, a ultra-large excavator that had been once introduced in Fujisaka
|Engine rated power (PS/rpm)||400/1,800×2|
|Feature||UH50 was the largest Japanese hydraulic mining excavator when it was launched, in terms of operting weight, bucket capacity, and engine horsepower. By combining all of large size hydraulic excavator technologies from UH12 to UH30, UH50 was designed for aiming reliability and durability of the structure and hydraulic components. Large, elevated cabin with head guard, large hydraulic cooler, and component layout for easy maintenance are standardized.|
UH50 stands silently on the hill of the minig site at Sano main factory. The arm of this excavator is engraved with "Wa (harmony)", symbol of the Fujisaka Group unity.
|■Business:||Manufacture and sale of crushed stone for concrete and roads, manufacture and sale of aggregate (stone dust) for building construction, intermediate treatment of industrial waste, industrial waste collection and transportation, sale of natural stone, civil engineering and construction contract work, and transportation business|
|■Representatives:|| Kazuhiko Fukazawa, Chairman
Tsunemitsu Furukawa, President
|■Address:||1532 Nakamachi, Sano City, Tochigi|