Customer Story


The Road Has To Be Made If It Cannot Be Found After Years of Exploration!

Customer Story_HIG

Amid  the current employment situation  in which many young  jobseekers pursue their goal of landing a job as a government employee or a highly-paid job with a large  company, HIG has established itself as a conventional manufacturer with the dream of creating a greater, better world. As a youth in his mid-twenties, who once engaged in  NC data modeling, CEO Jaehyeok Ju founded HIG and, twenty years later, his company became a leading solid mold manufacturer - including large molds for the manufacturing  of automotive panels, doors, and trunks -, with over 80% of its sales originating from exports to Japan. CEO Ju revealed the secrets to his company’s remarkable growth: taking on ceaseless challenges, securing product quality and reliability, and establishing good interpersonal relationships.

In 1997, At 26, He Survives in Strange Region
A young entrepreneur named Jaehyeok Ju was the man behind the mystery of KRW 4 billion in annual sales. Je  launched his company alone and eventually began manufacturing  large molds. His success story is remarkable enough to inspire a spirit of enterprise in the minds of young people who face serious unemployment  difficulties, as that  is also the story of CEO Ju himself. Jaehyeok Ju quit Kia Motors when the company was merged with another company. He went to Gyeongsan, where he restarted his 
life at the age of 26, in 1997. Using the eight months of salary that he received upon resigning from the company, he launched a firm based on  modeling software, manufactured molds based on the OEM order method, and supplied them to his clients, thereby managing to continue his business. According  to CEO  Ju: “Since a  subcontractor has the quantity of orders varying depending on the contractor, I had to diversify the sales structure to stabilize my business.” As  the owner of a new  firm, he began  to aggressively penetrate the Japanese market. He installed agents in Japan to secure customers, and  invested  intensively  in his operations there. But people around him cast a suspicious 
eye on him, believing  that he was running a loss-making business. CEO  Ju said: “Without generating sales, my firm invested an average of KRW 100 million per year for six years, giving the people around me cause for concern. But this period laid the foundation that today generates 80% of my firm’s sales, in other words, the sales coming from my exports to Japan.” During that challenging period, HIG endeavored to broaden its markets and to execute diverse government-assigned projects based on industry-university cooperation. Ju even acquired patents related  to the molding of lightweight and high-strength steel plates,  in preparation for a solid growth base.

Powerful Equipment Is the Key to Manufacturing Large Presses
HIG saw  the  limitations of  the OEM method in satisfying  its customers with  its molds, and consequently established  its own factory in December 201 4. CEO  Ju stated: “With 
the  financial support of  the government, we established a factory, even though we would have to repay the finance later. We constructed the necessary  infrastructures, which allowed us to win more orders, in the belief that we can eventually  increase our  initial sales of KRW 200-300 million from exports to Japan to KRW 4 billion. And that was a turning point for our growth.” With the establishment of the factory, CEO Ju planned to buy the necessary machines, taking on yet another challenge.When manufacturing  large molds, the frames of  the machine must be strong enough  to allow a high degree of accuracy and uniform manufacturing dimensions,  so powerful machines  are  the  first-priority purchase requirement.  In addition, we had not only to secure a large size manufacturing capacity but also to be capable of machining diverse shapes flexibly. We also had to be capable of achieving high-precision surface roughness. Thus, CEO Ju gave long and serious thought to his decision on purchasing  the machines, by  closely comparing foreign-produced and homegrown machines.   He  f inal ly  chose  Doosan’s multitasking doublecolumn machining center, the DCM. DCM is cable of machining  larger work pieces compared to other machines in the same class. With a wide choice of ram spindles and diverse automatic-change head attachments depending on the machining requirements, the DCM can not only manufacture molds and perform five-side machining, but also perform free-form machining by at  least one degree division, machining of 
complex and diverse shapes, and simultaneous 5-axis machining capable of 0.001-degree division  increment. Notably, the DCM boasts the 5-face machining support system, which is convenient  for machining  large-size work pieces, and the intelligent machining control and monitoring function, which is designed to enable over 8 hours of non-stop machining, thereby eliminating the assignment of one worker to one machine required with existing machines. It thus is of great help to small and medium-size firms facing manpower difficulties and declining profitability. HIG  took  two years  to adjust  the DCM  to  its operating conditions. CEO Ju stated: “All machines take a certain amount of time after being set up to properly perform in their respective manufacturing environments. To boost  the effectiveness of such machines, we need good cutting tools and 
peripheral devices. Moreover, we should check the machines’ accuracy frequently. When we installed Doosan’s machines, we had to make a lot of effort to adjust them to our working environment, but after a testing period, we stabilized the machines and made them suitable for our manufacturing requirements. In this stabilizing process, the most important thing is the ability to respond to after-sales requests.” He added that Doosan offered quick and efficient after-sale services, making it possible to shorten the test period. Currently, HIG owns two DCMs.

Young HIG Ceaselessly Takes on Challenges
After establishing a branch in the Philippines, HIG expanded  into  the design area earlier this year and bolstered  its CAD/CAM design specialist team. CEO Ju stated: “We entered the Philippines mainly because of labor costs, but if we send excellent domestic human resources to educate the  local people,  it will eventually create a good opportunity, and we should eventually be able  to establish  factories  to expand our large-mold volume. In 2018, we will complete the construction of our factories in the Philippines to make our Filipino branch the hub entry to Asian markets.” As Mazda,   Toyota  and  other   Japanese automakers  look set  to start  the production   of new vehicles in the second half of this year, 2016 will be a busy year  for HIG. Towards the end of  last year, HIG won orders  for  the manufacturing of  large molds from Malaysia, and expects an estimated KRW 10 billion  in sales  for  this year. He added: “Without  the manufacturers,  there would be no service businesses, and the country’s economy would lose competitiveness. To create strong small and medium-size firms and viable conventional manufacturers, we  should  find ways  of generating  future growth and development. If there  is no way, we will have to  follow our own  road.” People are sure  to applaud  this entrepreneur  in his mid-forties who entered the business as a bold young man  in his twenties, taking on various difficult challenges but succeeding in the end. He now sees great hopes and dreams lying ahead of him.