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Kubota Corp.

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Kubota Corp. is a multinational company with experience manufacturing a wide array of different products, which can be divided into three groups: internal combustion engines and machinery, industrial products and engineering, and building materials and housing equipment. These groups constitute a product line that includes cast-iron pipes, engines, vending machines, valves, pumps, air conditioning equipment, and water and sewage treatment equipment, as well as agricultural and construction equipment.

Established in 1890 in Osaka, Japan, the company has grown to acquire subsidiaries and affiliates that manufacture and/or market its products in more than 130 countries.[1]

Kubota is traded on both the Tokyo and New York Stock Exchange.

Contents

[edit] History

[edit] Oode Cast Iron Works

The multi-billion dollar company Kubota Corp. was founded by a Japanese teenager named Gonshiro Oode after five years of apprenticeships.

As a 14-year-old, Oode left his family’s home and headed for Osaka, Japan. He was accepted as an apprentice at the Kruo Casting Shop. Though his initial tasks mainly involved babysitting and running errands, his diligence resulted in his promotion to metal casting.

After three years, Oode joined Shiomi Casting to produce metal domestic items. He saved his earnings until he raised ¥100, which was enough to found his own company.[2]

Oode Casting was immediately successful, and was forced to expand three times in five years. (Much of the early success was the result of contracts to provide modern equipment to the Japanese army for the Sino-Japanese war.)

The company name changed to Oode Cast Iron Works.

[edit] Kubota Iron Works

In 1897, an Oode customer named Toshiro Kubota “took a typically Japanese step to promote Oode's success” by offering to adopt Oode as his son.[3] Both Oode’s parents were dead, so he accepted. As a result, Kubota became an official sponsor of the company and Oode received inheritance from Kubota.

The company once again changed its name, to Kubota Iron Works.

Patronage of the Kubota name allowed Gonshiro to devote more time to developing new casting techniques. The result of his research was a jointless-type cylindrical mold to produce jointless cast pipes. He also invented a method for domestic cast-iron pipe production and established a mass production facility.

During the Russo-Japanese war of 1904, Japan committed its country to modernization, which required more pipes and cast iron. (Once again Kubota benefited from the wartime economy.)

When World War I broke out, Kubota focused on manufacturing machine tools. It eventually branched into building steam engines and iron-making machines, while the main Osaka factory concentrated on producing machinery. New facilities were opened in Amagasaki and Okajima to manufacture iron pipes and castings.

During the war, Kubota’s sales branched outside of Japan’s borders by exporting 2,000 tons of iron pipe to the South East Asian market and spread into Europe with pipe sales to Groningen, Holland for its city waterworks project.

Kubota established regional offices in Tokyo, Kyushu, and Kure.

The end of World War I was met with recession in Japan. In order to stay competitive, Kubota emphasized innovation and technology. It invented heat-resistant castings and automatic carbon feeders. Meanwhile, the postwar demand for cast-iron pipes increased, which led to Kubota acquiring Sumida Iron Works to gather a larger share of the market.

In 1922, Kubota began manufacturing oil-based engines for agricultural and industrial purposes. It also invented a product called settanki, which was a fuel economizer that used waste gasoline.

[edit] Kubota Incorporated

Kubota became incorporated in 1930. The 1930s would be a decade of great expansion dominated by military and industrial influences. Kubota quickly began producing engines, pipes, and machine tools—all to benefit the approaching war effort.

After World War II, Kubota’s agricultural equipment division and its cast-iron pipes aided in the restoration of Japan. Kubota began developing machinery specifically designed for Japanese agriculture, including the first domestically produced rice-cultivating tractor. It also introduced a line of rice transplanters. By the end of the 1960s, Kubota had designed an entire mechanized system for rice production that included equipment for earthmoving, rice planting, harvesting, and threshing.

In 1952 Kubota entered the plant-construction business by designing a cement-mixing plant, which garnered it a reputation for building technologically modern facilities. It also developed a line of housing materials in 1957, the most successful of which was Colorbest, a light and nonflammable roofing and external wall material. Its product line also included home siding, aluminum-cast fences and gates, and interior home products.

Meanwhile, Kubota continued to expand its traditional product line, cast-iron pipes, by developing asbestos cement, vinyl, and spiral-welded pipes.

The new company slogan was “from country building to rice making.”[4]

With considerable local success, Kubota decided to extend its reach further outside of Japan’s borders. It established subsidiaries in Brazil, Taiwan, Iran, France, Thailand, and the United States. It opened international offices in Taipei, Los Angeles, Bangkok, New York, Athens, Jakarta, London, and Singapore.

In order to satisfy these new markets, Kubota developed custom-made equipment for each individual agricultural environment. However, its immediate success in new world markets was met with backlash from abroad. While Kubota was able to access other countries relatively free of charge, Japan was restrictive to international involvement in their economy. The result was import surcharges being laid against Kubota.

The 1980s was another decade of great expansion, research, and development for Kubota. It established a business planning and development office in 1982 to promote innovation and opened a research and development headquarters two years later.

Early success was seen in electronics. Kubota soon became a major producer of sensors, scales using microcomputer technology, optical-fiber technology used in steel mills, computer equipment and other electronic equipment. It started acquiring, merging, and setting up joint ventures with other technology companies. It purchased Akashic Memories Corp. outright and acquired minority stakes in MIPS Computer Systems Inc. and Exabyte Corp. It formed a joint venture with Maxtor, creating Maxoptix Corp., and merged its Ardent Computer Corp. with Stellar Computer, forming Stardent Computer Inc.

Meanwhile, Kubota established its first equipment manufacturing plant within the United States, in Gainesville, Georgia. It made attachments for front end loaders.

[edit] Kubota Corporation

In 1990, Kubota Ltd. became Kubota Corp.

Kubota Corp. invested $50 million for a 5.4 percent stake in Cummins Engine Co. in hopes that Cummins would build engines for its European operations.[5]

As the 1990s progressed, Kubota’s high tech computer operations were falling apart. It was sued by the cofounders of Ardent Computer Corp., who alleged Kubota forced a merger to transfer new innovations to its other subsidiary, Kubota Graphics. Kubota denied the allegations. Still, as the decade progressed, it removed itself from the U.S. high tech market and even dissolved Kubota Graphics in 1994.

While its new venture had not been tremendously successful, Kubota was still receiving orders for its pipes. Orders increased for earthquake resistant ductile iron pipes and water storage tanks for emergency use following the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995.

[edit] Kubota’s Environmental Focus

In 1969, Kubota’s corporate slogan was: “create an environment affluent to human beings.” In 2006 it was: “let’s make our habitat more beautiful.”[6]

During these 37 years, Kubota received a number of environmental awards for its products. It also initiated the Environmental Audit System in 1995, which called for stricter laws and regulations to maintain environmental improvement.

[edit] The Company Today

Kubota Corp. headquarters are based in Osaka, Japan. It has 24,464 employees. Its president is Daisuke Hatakake and the vice president is Moriya Hayashi.

Its most recent fiscal year ended March 31, 2008. Revenues are listed at US$10.9 billion (¥1.15 trillion).[7]

[edit] Equipment List

[edit] References

  1. Company Information. Kubota Corp., 2008-10-01.
  2. Kubota Corp. Funding Universe, 2008-10-01.
  3. Kubota Corp. Funding Universe, 2008-10-01.
  4. History of Business in the Kubota Group. Kubota, 2008-10-02.
  5. History of Business in the Kubota Group. Kubota, 2008-10-02.
  6. History of Business in the Kubota Group. Kubota, 2008-10-02.
  7. Annual Report 2008. Kubota Corp., 2008-10-02.

[edit] External Links