As early as the mid-1980s, VAT opened its first branch in Japan in Tokyo. In the year 1993, the branch office was then moved to Yokohama. As a railroad junction, Japan's second largest city offered excellent logistical conditions thanks to its connection to the Japanese high-speed train network Shinkansen.

A few years later a second branch was then added in Ako, west of the Tokyo region. Following the relocation of sales, logistics and service activities to nearby Himeji, the Ako site was closed in 2015.

Subsequently, the Yokohama branch was responsible for "Eastern Sales," while Himeji was responsible for "Western Sales" and the service center. However, there was a physical distance of almost 700 kilometers between the two locations.

In November 2021, the two sites will be relocated to the southern edge of Tokyo, in Haneda, in the Mitsui Fudosan Industrial Park (MFIP Haneda).

Extended service and even better accessibility in the Tokyo metropolitan region

The industrial park in Haneda, which will open in 2019, offers a modern infrastructure and Tate Kazunori, VAT General Manager Japan, sees the location directly at the airport as a major advantage. Tokyo International Airport is only a ten-minute drive away, which means better global accessibility and mobility: "Access from and to other countries will be significantly improved."

The decision to locate there was made at the end of 2020 with the aim of overcoming the limited capacity of the old site and merging the two units, Tate Kazunori said. Himeji had not been able to offer repair of systems and equipment in the display and solar product sectors. The Haneda service center, on the other hand, will provide this service. Last but not least, the integration of functions previously spread over two locations will make internal workflows and communication immensely easier, he said.

The last touches are still to be done

Setting up the new service center and moving it on schedule requires a great deal of commitment from everyone involved. One of the main objectives is to keep the period during which no customer service is possible - the "off-support period" - as short as possible This is a challenge because not only the employees have to move, but also all the equipment for maintenance has to be transported to Haneda and rebuilt there. As far as possible, customers should not be affected by this at all, but should be able to seamlessly take advantage of the necessary support for the maintenance of vacuum valve systems and equipment.

With a view of Tokyo airport

The first to move now will be the Yokohama site in November 2021, followed by Himeji. By the end of 2021 at the latest, all functions will have moved to Haneda.