Jesenice based Sumida Slovenija is a successful global niche player in toroid transformers, antennas and special cables for the automotive industry. The winner of last years’ best FDI award is one of the few Japanese companies with production facilities in Slovenia. One of the keys to its success: strict adherence to the kaizen method of continuous improvement.
There are not very many cars running on European (and also on Asian) motorways without at least one part produced by Sumida Slovenija, a practically unknown midsize company producing electrical and electronic parts for the automotive. The company is a part of Japanese Sumida group and is specialized in the manufacture of toroid transformers, antennas and special cables. It supplies top European brands from Audi to Porsche, Mercedes Benz and BMW.
Last year Sumida Slovenija received the prestigious Invest Slovenia FDI Award for one of the best foreign investments. The company recently moved to new premises near Jesenice, close to the Austrian border, one of the results of the last two years of investments. The key investment, however, was a new production line for electrostatic modules used in hybrid cars. With it, Sumida Slovenija joined a growing number of Slovenian automotive companies developing and producing parts for cleaner cars with hybrid or electrical engines.
This investment is set to double the company's revenues. This year’s revenues are estimated at 24 million euros, already a hefty 50 percent gain from 2011's 18 million. In 2011 Sumida Slovenija employed 238 people – since then the number has almost reached 300. That’s a big leap from the company's humble beginnings in the late eighties. In 1991 the company was called Torus and had eight employees. By the end of the nineties the company was growing fast before being taken over by German automotive industry supplier Vogt Electronics. As the German firm became part of the Japanese group Sumida, the Jesenice based company was also renamed to Sumida Slovenija.
The company is steadily improving its market position by relying heavily on automation and quality management. Its customer base has expanded to Asia in the last decade, with customers like Hyundai and Honda. To succeed in an increasingly competitive global market is not an easy task: earlier this year Sumida Slovenija was faced by an unexpected slump in demand. The company found a solution by opening new markets in North America. After opening new premises this summer, management expressed their firm belief that Sumida Slovenija was one of the best companies in the group. Sumida Slovenija is one of the few Slovenian companies strictly following the famous Japanese principle of continuous improvement called Kaizen. Funnily enough, the company started to adopt the principle back in 1998. The company from Upper Carniola (northern Slovenia) has had something Japanese in its nature long before it became part of the Sumida group.