Founded in Japan during 1916, NSK first started its operation with the manufacture of ball bearings. As on date NSK manufactures full range of bearings and offers them worldwide. Apart from bearings, NSK has also diversified themselves to automotive products, precision machinery and mechatronics products.
Headquartered in Tokyo, NSK has operation spread across 30 counties across the globe. NSK currently operates around 64 manufacturing plants spread across the different continents. Apart from this, there are 117 sales site, 15 R&D centres, and 5 representative offices. With an annual sales of 1020.3 billion Yen, NSK is recognised as one of the dominant force in its field.
Takehiko Yamaguchi, founder of NSK, started a partnership firm in 1914 called Nippon Seiko Limited. The company mainly sold goods such general machinery tools, gears and goods for machine manufacturing. There was a strong market requirement for industrial bearings in Japan during the period and in this back drop Yamaguchi founded NSK Ltd in year 1916 with sole aim of producing bearings in Japan.
NSK then continued its expansion by setting manufacturing units in Japan. This included steel ball bearing factory at Ota-ku, Tokyo during 1934, a bearing manufacturing facility in Fujisawa and also a press factory at Fujisawa.
Under the leadership of Hiroki Imatzo, who was the 4th president, NSK reached new heights. Imatzo took steps to modernize NSK’s manufacturing facilities. Under his leadership, NSK expanded its bearing applications and also ventured into new products other than bearings. During this period NSK got listed in stock exchanges of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.
Soon after, NSK expanded its global portfolio by establishing technology sites in USA, Europe, ASEAN , Brazil and China. In 1964, NSK entered into joint venture with BorgWarner Inc (USA) to manufacture and sell automotive parts. At the same time NSK continued its global expansion to countries such as Australia, Brazil, France to sell industrial machinery bearings. In 1988, NSK took a major step in the path of diversification, by establishing Foundation for the Advancement of Mechatronics in Tokyo.
Later years saw NSK expanding its global footprint with setting up of new manufacturing plants and creating joint partnerships. Today, NSK aspires to become a global corporation providing that provides high value to its customers.
NSK Growth Strategy
NSK strongly believes in maximising and leveraging synergies among their business units. Bearings forms the core business for NSK, and since the inception NSK has continued to apply its motion control technologies to develop superior products.
In order to achieve better scale, NSK separated automotive bearings in 2004 from its bearing business. Automotive bearings are now part of automotive business unit.
In their global strategy, NSK made China their focal region. NSK’s first manufacturing unit in China was started in 1995 and thereafter NSK expanded its strong hold by expanding production bases in different Chinese provinces such as Dongguan, Suzhou, and Zhangjiagang.
Automakers are one of the major customers for NSK and this segment accounts for more than half of the sales in bearing business. Also automotive industry is characterised by fierce competition. NSK counters this by offering custom solution to its customers and with high differentiation. NSK also strives to expand its product line as per changing customer requirements. Also, customer feedback is an important aspect that NSK focuses. This enables NSK to obtain relevant information regarding new projects and obtaining a head start of development.
Among its automotive business, NSK commands the leading share in EPS (electric power steering) systems. These systems are highly energy efficient steering system that can reduce fuel consumption by 3-5%. The demand for these systems is expected to increase in coming years and with head start NSK is in advantage.
With production and design facilities all around the world, NSK also supports its customer global expansion policies. In this NSK draws expertise from its global supply chain and local production network.
Major customers for NSK’s Precision Machinery business are Electrical and IT companies, semiconductor industry, Machine tool makers etc. NSK’s technical expertise in tribology, material engineering, analysis and mechatronics helps go achieve competitive edge in this segment.
Another factor that contributes to NSK’s growth is the synergy between its business units. For eg: the technologies applied in the precision machinery and parts business gives supporting expansion for the automotive product business as well. NSK also tries to integrate related technologies, as in the case of tribology in bearing business and high precision mechatronics used in precision and parts business.
Another advantage that NSK has is its related customer base. Many of NSK’s customer for Industrial bearings are also customers for other components. This helps NSK to maximise business capabilities.
NSK has transformed itself into a customer oriented company by organising its business units. Also each business units are measured individually, which enables top management to oversee the growth in each unit.
NSK are formidable brand in standard ball bearings, however NSK is now trying hard to gain market in bearings for general industrial use.