History of the Janome Sewing Machine Company
Janome Sewing Machine Co., Ltd., popularly known as Janome, is a Japanese company which has set the high watermark of quality sewing machines for nearly a century. Starting out in Japan, they now have manufacturing plants in Thailand and Taiwan, their American subsidiary operations in New Jersey (Janome America) besides owning Swiss sewing machine brand Elna. Together, they form one of the leading brands and biggest production units of sewing machines in the world.
Janome Sewing Machine Co., Ltd. (Japan) is the # 1 maker of sewing machines in the world.* Exporting to over a hundred countries, the company ranks high on brand value and sales. The company is headquartered in Hachioji, with five subsidiaries and ninety-three (93) outlets in Japan alone. Janome owns six plants in total: Tokyo, Osaka and Yamanashi (Japan), Wufung (Taiwan), Sriracha (Thailand) and a die-casting factory in Prachinburi (Thailand). Their fourteen (14) overseas subsidiaries are in locations as diverse as Chile, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, China, U.K, Switzerland, China, Holland and two each in Germany and U.S.A. Most of their research and development work is done in their dedicated R&D centre in Tokyo. Other relevant information includes:
1921-1935: Founding and early innovation
Japanese entrepreneur Yosaku Ose founded the PINE sewing machine factory on October 16, 1921. He took the conventional oblong 'shuttle-type' bobbin and replaced it with a round bobbin. The innovative design improved efficiency and speed of the traditional sewing machine significantly. The new bobbin soon gained ground, and users affectionately called it Janome (pronounced: Jā - No -Mey), meaning 'the Snake's eye' in Japanese. The name stuck, eventually becoming an official trademark JANOME in 1935 and formally adopted as the company name Janome Sewing Machine Co., Ltd., in 1954.
In 1936, the company acquired its first mass production factory for sewing machines. As the brand firmly entrenched itself as a leading sewing machine supplier and innovator, the demand grew outside Japan.
1960-1969: Expansion and growth
In 1960, seeking to expand to the United States, they purchased 'New Home' and their brand (formerly known as New England Single Thread Hand Sewing Machine) to become one of the major players in the American market.
Shortly afterwards, in 1964, they opened up the first exclusive research center for sewing machines in Tokyo. Today it is considered one of the pioneering R&D centers of sewing machine industry.
In 1969, they opened their first overseas factory (Taiwan Janome Sewing Machine Co., Ltd.) in Taiwan R.O.C.
1971-1988: Breaking new grounds
On their 50th anniversary (1971), Janome released the Model 801, a ZZ sewing machine loaded with features and fully automatic operation.
Eight years later in 1979, they stunned the sewing fraternity yet again - this time Memory 7, the first programmable sewing machine the world had ever seen.
It was followed by their second overseas production unit in Thailand (Thai Janome Co., Ltd.) nearly two decades after their first one, in 1988.
1990-2005: Ushering the Computerized Sewing age
In 1990, Janome brought the professional style embroidery right into the living rooms of part-time sewing lovers and hobby-hoppers with Memory Craft 8000. It was the first professional style, computerized sewing machine with exclusive embroidery features.
After a decade of exploring the rapidly expanding world of computers and possibilities it offered - in 2000, Janome had yet another winner. They succeeded in launching MC 10000, a sewing machine which could be plugged into a computer via an USB port.
Janome continued to push the envelope, well and truly opening the boundaries of computerized sewing with twin innovations in 2005. MC 11000, an upgrade of its five year old predecessor, boasted of an industrial-grade rolling linear motion guide and a backlit LCD screen with flexible height. MC 6600P incorporated Acufeed Layered Fabric feed, marrying the precision of high quality robotics and professional sewing.
Today, their operations span across several countries (see World Network) and models targeted at different level of users and their professional or personal needs.
Starting from their Tokyo headquarters and major overseas production units in Taiwan and Thailand, Janome boasts of six plants and fourteen overseas sales subsidiaries today. Their subsidiaries are spread across all major continents (including agents in Africa) and help make the excellence of Janome machines accessible to users all over the world. A brief overview of the major Janome hubs across the globe is as follows:
Founded as the 'The Pride of the West' in 1862, they had been the significant sewing machine producers in the USA ever since they established their primary manufacturing unit in Massachusetts five years later. The name New Home (derived from New England and Home Shuttle, their foremost products) later became their brand identity in 1882, and remained so until Janome purchased them in September 1960
Address: 10 Industrial Avenue, Mahwah, NJ - 07430
Janome Industrial Equipment USA, Inc.
With the sewing machine increasingly incorporating computerized techniques and advanced robotics for precision, the Industrial Equipment facility was established in 2007 in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago. It was to facilitate sales of industrial parts, servo press machines and desktop robots.
To aid expansion of sewing machine business across Canada, Janome Canada was set up in 1977. With offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, Janome is the best-selling sewing machine in Canada. The company is highly rated for its after-sales support and specialized dealership network.
The oldest Janome establishment in Europe was founded Oct / 1968. They started trading under their American name - New-Home Sewing Machine Company a year later, before changing its name to Janome UK Limited in 1990. In that time, the operations grew to over 500 retailers, with a range of different models and options, catapulting it to the top spot in both independent retail and departmental store sectors. Stockport also hosts a training centre which offers courses in sewing and customer service.
Steadily rising through the ranks, Janome's Australian facility is now the top sewing machine company in the continent. Formed in December of 1969 at Melbourne, they now claim more than 80% market share selling sewing machines through exclusive retailers and major departmental store outlets in the country. Janome Australia is also responsible for overseeing their operations in New Zealand. Today they have four other state offices in Brisbane (Queensland), Perth (Western Australia), Sydney (New South Wales) and Adelaide (South Australia).
Janome Latin America Chile:
Janome began its foray into South American market with this sales subsidiary in Chile, formed in 1998. It helps the sale of Janome sewing machines in the country.
The popularity of Janome sewing machines in South America and Central America began to soar and it became imperative to serve the Central American customers. Expanding rapidly, in July 2009 Janome's latest sales office came to being in Mexico. It is particularly famous for exceptional after sales service.
In April 2013, Janome opened its subsidiary sales office in the largest South American country, targeting nearly half the population of the continent. The outlet is aimed at selling sewing machines in Brazil.
Janome Europe B.V.
Janome established the Janome Europe B.V. as their first European office of this century in March 2002. It gave the customers in Belgium and in the Netherlands a first-hand taste of quality sewing machines, exceptional customer service, and opened new horizons for sewing machine retailers across both nations. For over a decade now, it has had a proven track record in client satisfaction.
Janome Deutschland Germany.
In April 2008 Janome put down its roots in Germany. For years, the market in the country was growing substantially and Janome duly recognized the need of the customers in the region. It was only one half of Janome's plan for Germany.
Janome Industrial Equipment Germany:
In the same month, they also established the Janome Industrial Equipment Europe GmbH., the first of its kind in EU, tending to the needs of their sales subsidiaries in the Netherlands, U.K. and Switzerland. As one of the premier engineering hubs of Europe, Germany was the perfect choice for production of SCARA robots, desktop robots, gantry robots and electro press required for mass production of sewing machines in the region. Germany became the third overseas nation after Thailand and USA to have a sales and an equipment office.
This was the original mass manufacturing unit of sewing machines in Koganei, Japan which was finished in 1936. For the next six decades it helped assemble and produce several units of varying models. However, with more offices and industrial production units overseas, in 1998 the Takao and Koganei factories were merged as the Tokyo factory to focus exclusively on assembling of computerized and high end machines. Rest of the production was outsourced to overseas factories. The factory has ISO 9002 (December 1997) and ISO 140001(October 2000) certification for quality
Janome Taiwan Co., Ltd.
Recently anointed as the largest sewing machine factory in the world, the Janome Taiwan Co. was founded in 1969. It has the distinction of being the first Janome overseas operation. The factory has ISO 9002(February 1995) and ISO 140001(May 2002) certification for quality
Janome (Thailand) Co., Ltd.
Janome's second overseas factory was set up in 1988 in Thailand as the company increasingly sought to move machine production abroad. Thailand also has a die-casting factory to go with the original factory location. The factory has ISO 9002(April 2000) and ISO 140001(December 2004) certification for quality
Janome machines offer a wide range of makes and models. Since their inception as a sewing machine company, they have branched out to offer machines to meet quilting and embroidery needs as well. Their dedicated range of machines for embroidery, fibre arts, and serging are as popular with professionals as with entry-level users and sewing schools. Today their electronic and computerized machines are a force in itself. In addition to all Janome brands they include Elna (former Swiss brand), Kenmore (for Sears) and Necchi (for Asian countries) under their aegis.
Their latest product Janome Horizon Memory Craft 15000 is a cutting edge computerized sewing machine which has the largest touch-screen (9") of any sewing and embroidery machine. The AcuLink suit software allows you to connect via WiFi directly to your PC, iPad or laptop. The proprietary apps: AcuEditT (which lets you design your embroidery or sewing pattern remotely) and AcuMonitorT (which lets you monitor your stitch-out pattern remotely) are designed to take the home décor, quilting and embroidery experience to the next level. With processor speeds which beat the nearest MC processor by nearly 100% and the largest workspace of any MC machines yet, this is your sewing machine fantasy come true.
As a business entity which delivers top-of-the-line machines to millions of customers, Janome's corporate responsibilities go far beyond merely the production of devices, R&D and running its factories and sales outlets. Janome has always strived to set the benchmark of sewing machine quality, as well as swift customer service in accordance with the social responsibilities it owes to several people relying on them for their creative or professional needs.
Quality assurance Policy
Today, Janome has factories in several countries. Accordingly, the quality-assurance policies are also devised keeping in mind the local customer base, policies of the country and business needs of the region. The headquarters at Tokyo aim to follow the same tenets of quality they began with: developing appealing products, providing customer satisfaction and gaining trust of users and retailers alike. In addition to the above, any Janome establishment aims to:
Invest continuously in product research, aiming to stay ahead of the innovation curve
Gather feedback on both customers and regulatory policies even before kicking off a product development cycle - to ensure they are met to their optimum level
Set quality policies, quality objectives and constantly keep revisiting them to ensure they are relevant with the changing times and technology.
Inculcate a healthy culture of cross-training and communication to empower the employees
Research and Development
Janome had set up the world's first integrated sewing machine research center in Tokyo in 1964. From setting the technology milestones in sewing machine research to investing in state-of-the-art new machines, the R&D center has since become the face of contemporary sewing machine research. Today, equipped with indigenous die-casting factories, automated control systems, electronic control systems, high speed machine vision and rapid prototyping, it plays a stellar role in marrying the best of robotics, electronics and sewing machine mechanisms. It has also branched out to clean water systems, robot/electro press devices and computerized machines of Janome Memory Craft series.
Meetings - specialized engineers convene meetings prior to any new development, to evaluate and outline the finer details of forthcoming projects. Ad-hoc meetings are held throughout the project to ensure the targets are being met, and quality is monitored constantly
Analysis - from materials to be used for manufacturing, to checking the equipment for their fidelity, many laboratory hours are spent on analysis to ensure the highest quality of end product is made available to customers
Design - given the span of international markets Janome handles, it is critical that they cater to the local needs and fashion their design accordingly. A team of skilled designers ensure that
Overseas and Japan factories/ Corporate Quality Culture
There are several hoops a Janome product has to go through before finishing in the retail market. The three main production hubs each specialize in specific area of sewing machine production:
Tokyo - The crown jewel of Janome's bases, this factory started as the main production unit. Today, with most of the basic machine production having been outsourced, Tokyo focuses on computerized machines, robotics, household bath warmers, electro press units and other high precision parts.
Taiwan - With a capacity of 100K+ units a month, easily the highest in the world, this is a behemoth of a sewing machine manufacturing center. Janome's overseas sales plans took got a solid reinforcement with this plant.
Thailand - Taking rapid strides in worldwide sales and markets, Janome needed to keep up with the demands and Thai Janome Co., Ltd. helped the brand achieve the sort of universal spread that was needed
Each plant goes through a five step process:
Inspect the quality of incoming raw materials, technical equipment supplied by vendors
Automated warehousing features to help store, streamline assembly line supply and deliver the requisite number of units smoothly to various parts of the world
Precision electronics and robotics, used for machining, and fine-tuning the latest machines are useful both in getting consistent industrial quality and preventing health hazards
Production managers at each level of the assembly line are given ownership to monitor, rectify and flag off products to their destination
Janome doesn't sit easy even when the production is done finally. They regularly do random sample tests to ensure the entire batch meets the high and consistent quality of products.
Quality Control Departments
Quality is paramount for Janome products. Janome understands the livelihood of many professionals rely on their products, as much as hobbies and passion of others. The quality control departments are comprised of two main parts
Quality assurance group - these are the people who outline the quality control priorities and design stringent test cases, while staying within the product liability laws, regional compliance and checking the external contact points. The certification of Janome production units are regularly monitored and updated by this group
Product testing group - Testing the devices for both quantity, and quality is under the aegis of this group. Real-life duress is simulated, quality benchmarks are set and comparisons with competing brands are made to finally stamp the Janome brand on to the end-product.
No discussion about Janome brand is complete without outlining the superlative customer service the company provides, both at grassroots level (retail outlet/ dealerships) and as after sales support. Janome prides itself on fast, specialized support all over the world to both end-users and sellers of their products. Customer feedback is often what spurs the next level of technology and support.
Janome Service Centers are located all over Japan for providing direct support to users at retail outlets. In addition there is customer relations office which can be reached through phone, email or fax.
Internationally, each country with an overseas sales office has a vast network of support personnel to assist customers via e-mails, phone or fax. The contact information is available on websites of each of Janome's local offices.
* Not counting straight-stitch cast iron machines
ǂ All figures until end of fiscal year March 2013