Mitsubishi: the Sun also Rises in Valencia

In the the visitors room of the Mitsubishi plant at Museros there are four photos on the wall. The first one shows the original production plant in 1964, surrounded by fields. The latest is from 1996, with the factory grown to its full size.

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But it was back in 1974 that the Japanese giant Mitsubishi looked to Europe in order to set up its first production plant outside Asia, and decided that Valencia was the ideal location, because of its logistics and its climate.

Perhaps the significant lack of earthquakes and the abundance of rice dishes were also factors.

Residents of the quiet village of Museros, more used to the putter of tiny tractors, and even horses, among the orange groves than to heavy machinery, are no longer surprised to see groups of Japanese people wandering from the factory to a nearby bar for lunch, although it is more surprising to see a group of British, or Polish or even Russian people doing the same thing.

The explanation is simple; Museros is the home of MVEC, Mitsubishi’s education centre for the whole of Europe, and is constantly full of Mitsubishi clients and distributors learning about the latest products and technological advances.

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Sending people on these courses is treated as a reward, not a punishment, and so it was decided that the participants should go somewhere nice. And having ruled out Birmingham and Frankfurt, they chose Valencia.

Mitsubishi is not the name of the company’s founder; ‘mitsu’ means ‘three’ and ‘bishi’ means ‘stone’ or ‘diamond;’ which explains the company logo.

Not only is Valencia unique for having a Mitsubishi production plant, but also, unlike the production centres in Asia, basically in Japan and Thailand, the Museros plant produces all three categories of components; insert carbides, drill heads and endmills, while the other plants focus on a single product.

When the many varieties of these basic products leave the factory next to the underground station, they serve not only Spain, but also the rest of Europe. In fact 60% of the production is exported.

Valencia has also exported four of the Spanish engineers trained in Museros, who were considered so professional and well trained, that they are now displaying their talents back in the original Japanese plants.

The company’s belief in training is exemplary, and courses ranging from technical questions to English to emotional intelligence are taking place in the plant all the time.

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The Museros plant currently employs 133 workers, and every 5 years a new Japanese CEO takes over at Mitsubishi, Valencia. The current head of the Spanish operation, since April 2012, is Miya Higashi, although the day to day operation is run by the General manager Eduardo Ruiz.

The company considers Valencia an ideal location, for its climate, its skilled workforce, its lifestyle (you can also have a relaxing café con leche in the Plaza de la Virgén) and its port.

Who would really want to set up the only European production plant of a giant Asian multi-national anywhere else?

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