Made in Thailand
Thai Agricultural Machinery manufacture equipment “made in Thailand” and put their faith in lean processes, creative ideas, and appealing designs.
It is seldom that agricultural implements cause a stir. But anyone who watches the self-propelled combine harvester built by Thai Agricultural Machinery (TAMCO) as it cruises the rice fields in Thailand is instantly fascinated. In their red and yellow livery, these brightly colored machines gleam from afar. They bring something of a carnival mood to the rice field. “Colorful products are much in demand among our customers,” emphasizes Mr. Kittisak Yokubon, Executive Vice President at this agricultural machinery maker.
From his office at the headquarters in Phitsanulok, 370 kilometers North of Bangkok, Mr. Kittisak gazes out the window across the company’s extensive grounds. In terms of logistics, this is the perfect site for him and his firm, since he is close to his customers. This city, with its population of more than one million residents, is located in the central region of Thailand and thus is at the heart of the fertile rice growing area. “We can quickly deliver our products into the neighboring regions, too — to the north and the north-east of Thailand. In addition, the city of Phitsanulok is a gateway to the AEC market.” 95 percent of his customers are entrepreneurs, working as subcontractors to farmers. Mr. Kittisak ships his attractive and colorful combine harvesters to as far away as Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Ghana.
Growing with combines
Thai customers want innovative and efficient machines. Mr. Kittisak sees this as a clear mission: “We give our customers the tool they need for success,” he says quite self-assuredly. “They want absolute reliability in our products.” That is one reason why he assigns topmost priority to customer-oriented product development. The concept is bearing fruit. Since its founding in 1991, TAMCO has grown to a staff of more than 300. And in its many years in operation, it has become evident that more and more successful customers are using TAMCO’s innovative and effective machines to work the paddy fields in Thailand. That is further backing up the mission of TAMCO.
Lean and flexible
A glance at the manufacturing operations reveals the basis for success: modern concepts. “We recently introduced the Toyota Production System. Implementing that concept makes efficiency, flexibility and lean processes especially important to us,” says Mr. Kittisak. This requires machines that fit into the concept. TAMCO works with the so-called “pull system” — the company produces parts only when they are needed. This helps reduce inventories and has a relevant effect on batch size. “That makes the TruLaser 3030 perfect for us. We can respond to changes in production quantities quickly, flexibly, and without any great amount of effort for set-up.”
He was also convinced by the high quality in every part leaving the machine. This is especially important for the TAMCO combines, since they have to withstand tough conditions. The rice fields are sometimes dry and sandy, sometimes wet and muddy. That makes rugged and durable components the measure of all things. Modern production equipment helps even the most complex components live up to what the manufacturer promises.
Getting started in laser technology also brought with it greater design latitude. “That triggered a major step forward in creativity.” Mr. Kittisak supports this with carefully tailored training courses. One example involved a TRUMPF workshop on part design at the Phitsanulok site. Employees from manufacturing, design and management learned what the TruLaser 3030 and the TruBend 3120 could do. “We wanted our people to think outside the box — in an intense exchange with the TRUMPF experts,” says Mr. Kittisak.
Contact us: MastersofSheetMetal@trumpf.com
This article was first published in spring 2014.