Fukue: U.S. ahead in area of ‘intelligent industries’

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 47 views 

story and photo submitted by the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith

A Mitsubishi executive gave approximately 200 who attended a talk Oct. 7 at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith a glimpse of the company’s history and where it’s headed with a new plant in Fort Smith.

Ichiro Fukue, senior executive vice president and representative director of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., said his company sees Fort Smith as "playing a crucial role as we expand our American manufacturing base in this important wind turbine technology."

Fukue was in Arkansas for an afternoon groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site of the company’s planned wind turbine plant at Chaffee Crossing, speaking just before noon on the UAFS campus to a group of community members and UAFS faculty, staff and students.

Fukue told of the economic competitiveness among the United States, Japan, Korea and China. He said Japan is seeking to reposition itself within this economic competition, while China and Korea are "clearly seeking to expand their economic leadership."

"In the area of ‘intelligent industries’ that require new and revolutionary use of technology, the United States continues to enjoy an advantage," said Fukue. "But the self adjustment mechanism of currency exchange rates and the inherent increase of labor costs will balance the competitiveness among each country."

Fukue said the U.S. has a better environment for manufacturing capability than Japan does because of a better infrastructure that supports its supply chain for components as well as what he termed an extraordinary workforce.

"More important is that the United States remains a huge market, and getting products to the consumer is simply easier," he said, predicting that Korea and China will face the same economic slowdowns that currently face Japan.

Fukue related that there are 42 group companies within the Mitsubishi family, all leaders in their various sectors.

"Consolidated total sales is around $687 billion U.S. dollars," he said.

Fukue said the Power Systems Headquarters is one of the most advanced divisions within MHI and has three major branches.

"Among the three branches, the MPSA (Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas) is the largest and most robust," said Fukue. "It already has 1,000 employees and the new factory here in Fort Smith will be a welcome MPSA manufacturing base."

Fukue said companies, like the societies in which they work, are ever changing.

"We evolve by creating new markets," he said, "by inventing new technology, by being incubators for new ideas. As an international company, we seek to work with the best and the brightest from around the world.”

He said profits alone do not allow a company to lead.

"It’s about its people. That is one of the reasons why we are breaking ground on a wind turbine facility not far from here, providing us with the opportunity to work with young people so that we can achieve our mutual goals of energy independence, innovation and leadership."