Yoshio Aoshima: "Sekisui S-Lec is a leading company in glass interlayer technology for the automotive industry. We produce the special films between the layers of glass used for windshields, called Chukan-maku; glass interlayer.
In 2018, our firm in the Netherlands celebrates its 20th anniversary.Before coming to the Netherlands, we had a sales office in Germany. At that time, the films were imported from Japan and sold to customers all over Europe. Business was going great, and we decided to invest in a European Production Base. This was twenty years ago. We set up a European base to execute production, sales, and marketing here in Roermond.
In June 2017, our R&D centre was established at the Chemelot Campus in Limburg. One of the core strengths of the Netherlands is that it is open to innovation. Innovation is emphasized at several campuses in the Province of Limburg in the south of the Netherlands. Our R&D centre has only just started. With Maastricht University and start-up firms and ventures in the surrounding regions, founding our R&D base here appeals to Sekisui’s strength of providing R&D to external parties. We have a high market share in Europe. And expectations from our partners are also high.Since we joined the campus, the number of proposals we have received from partners has increased. We can now perform our complete business process from processing raw materials to the production of final products, R&D, and marketing and sales right here.
LIOF is very active in supporting corporate investors. When we established our plant here, LIOF provided services and helped with procedures. Ten years later, we invested in a new chemical plant for raw materials and expanded our business. We once again received support from LIOF. Now, twenty years after the first investment, we are enhancing our business and will expand the plant capacity within two to three years. We are in contact with LIOF for this new project as well.
Several reasons led to us to decide on Limburg as the location for our new base. We had looked at the peripheral areas of Düsseldorf and other parts of Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Limburg was a convenient location for our imports from Japan with the port of Rotterdam and Schiphol airport nearby. Roermond is situated in the centre of Europe from where we can reach out our customers across the continent by land transport. Furthermore, Dutch tax legislation is also incredibly attractive compared to other countries.
inally, we believe that good communication with employees is very important.Nearly all the Dutch speak English and I am glad that I can communicate with all levels of employees, including factory workers and sales operators. Their English is even better than mine. Ease of communication became the key deciding factor for us.
In addition, there are great facilities for Japanese expats in the region. Maastricht, which is just a 40-minute drive from here, has a Japanese supplementary school and a Japanese community. This provides a great sense of comfort for Japanese people living here. Lastly, I personally think that the mentality of the Dutch and of the Japanese fits together well. The Dutch are open to accepting people from different cultures just like the Japanese. This makes it easy for us to work together. That is why I can really recommend Limburg. Let’s enjoy living and working together here."