The Roland name is synonymous with music and sound technology and is home to one of the world’s best-known and famous Electronic Music Instruments brand. Back in 1972, Roland was founded by Ikutaro Kakehashi in Osaka, Japan.
Headquartered in Hamamatsu, Japan, Roland Corporation is one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of electronic music instruments including instruments for keyboard, percussion, guitar-related, DJ/media production devices, professional audio and video devices. Roland’s slogan “Inspire the Enjoyment of Creativity”, has brought new products like guitar effect pedals and digital piano in meeting the demand of music fans all over the world. The new concept namely Roland GO: MIXER and Aerophone Digital Wind Instrument, for example, have successfully attracted new customers; and become the ‘Game-Changer’ for the company.
Roland has positioned itself strongly in the international market with worldwide production, physical distribution and sales offices in USA, Europe, Asia and Oceania. Roland’s manufacturing processes are based on state-of-the-art technologies as well as quality assurance supported by human hands with strict environmental standards. Besides long-standing factories in Japan and China, in 2014, Roland has established a new manufacturing facility in Malaysia after deep consideration to invest.
“There are many factors why we choose Malaysia, in particular, Port Klang as our investment location. It is an ideal location to shorten lead-time from Production to Delivery, easy access to electronic and mechanical component makers, excellent human resources who have good knowledge of English language and faster learning curve of skills. Malaysia also has the well-maintained infrastructure, comparatively low operating cost, political stability, in addition to the great support that we received from the Malaysian Government particularly from Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA)” said Mr Jun-ichi Miki, CEO of Roland Corporation.
Roland Manufacturing Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. (RMM) was incorporated on 17th November 2014.
“We had great cooperation from the Malaysian Government, particularly MIDA when we first set-up RMM. The Malaysian government was very pleased with the coming of a company that produces Electronic Music Instruments such as pianos, drums and other instruments for the first time in Malaysia. We thank you for the government’s interest and support. MIDA was very quick and responsive to our requests. MIDA played an important role, and provided advice and facilitation that drove our smooth establishment here,” said Mr Yoshimichi Kano, Director of MI Services Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. (MIS) and RMM.
“We started with 50 employees, and currently we have more than 800 employees working in the Malaysian plant. We had expanded rapidly within four years of operations, and the company is still growing. After a successful operation, we then introduced one of the keyboard models namely ‘FP-30’, amplifiers and drums, and DJ products in the Malaysia’s factory. In future, up to 60% of all products will be transferred to Malaysia’s plant. It is definitely a fast speed within a short period,” said Mr Kano.
To strengthen the company, in July 2017, Roland managed to obtain the Principal Hub incentive scheme approval from MIDA. In January 2018, Roland established MIS to undertake Principal Hub activities in Malaysia, and it is now the base for Roland’s regional and global business functions. This regional hub is now Roland’s second Headquarter after Japan that acts as the Group’s Global Procurement and Distribution Centre to support Roland’s sales units throughout the world.
Roland is currently showing a strong commitment to the creation of high-value jobs for Malaysian as the company has been hiring and upskilling local talents. Back in 2017, Roland has established a training programme that focuses explicitly on young Malaysian talents studying in Japan. Selected Malaysian graduates are employed and trained by the company at Roland’s Headquarters in Japan for two years to equip them with specialised skill sets required for their jobs.
Each year, Roland is committed in taking young Malaysian talents from Japan Universities, and currently, 14 Malaysian graduates have been employed under this training programme and five of them had completed the training and currently working in Roland Malaysia. By doing these knowledge transfer activities, it will benefit both parties, as this regional operation will undertake most of the Group’s product testing activities soon. They will also be developing new music instruments and customising Roland’s products to meet specific requirements of regional markets. This is certainly in line with Malaysia’s aspirations for the companies to undertake R&D and innovation activities, which are keys to increasing competitiveness and sustainable growth.
Five of the trainees commented that with two years of training experience, and the support received from all Japanese colleagues, they have managed to develop their skills and were able to better understand the Japanese work culture especially the “One Roland” culture and “The Roland Way” of working. They hope that they can convey the same work culture to the Malaysian workforce.
Mr Jun-ichi Miki, CEO of Roland Corporation, commented that he was happy that the trainees had successfully completed their training and will be joining the Malaysian team, to undertake activities at Malaysia’s manufacturing facility soon. “The programme is beneficial to train future specialists for Malaysia’s plant and continuous improvement processes,” said the Roland’s CEO.