Machine Tools BusinessBusiness Details
We simplify problems at manufacturing sitesWe leverage networks to provide solutions
In the Machine Tools Division Headquarters, we respond to needs arising from every kind of manufacturing or production scenario, providing cutting-edge hardware and software to help resolve the problems faced by customers. We immediately recognize changes that production sites are required to make (such as changes in processing materials, higher speed / precision, reductions in costs, and greater environmental friendliness), and support the front line of production by leveraging our know-how and networks in the production equipment field, and implementing higher added-value, proposal-based marketing.
* Department names and positions are based on the time this interview was conducted in October 2019.
What is the mission of the Machine Tools Division Headquarters?
To automate manufacturing and production locations. and achieve greater efficiency through the use of machine tools
We support manufacturing sites by handling all kinds of machine tools, such as metal forming machines, plate processing machines, and measuring equipment, and delivering them to the end user via the sales office. For factories that deal with automotive and aviation parts, or electronic devices such as smartphones, we submit proposals for equipment to achieve automation and efficiency improvements.
Over the past 10 years, there has been tremendous progress in the technology available to the industry, and a variety of new machines has emerged. Recently we have seen increased demand for factory automation using robots and the deployment of new technologies such as 3D printing. For example, the latest 3D printers to appear are capable of processing metal. These are machines that take an unheard-of approach, which is to combine the traditional method of cutting away materials with the technique of forming an object from nothing. Deploying such machines removes the need to create molds for the metal components, and is leading to significant changes in the approach to metals processing. Because this enables greater efficiency on site and higher precision of products, we frequently propose it to customers.
We have a wide variety of customers, from small-scale factories to the plants of major manufacturers where several hundred to several thousand people work. By working with sales offices to receive information from customers, and sometimes making visits to customers together, we break down their needs, and submit proposals that differentiate ourselves from rival trading companies. When we manage to seize a sales route from another company, and win a major order for delivery to a new customer, at that second I feel a joy so intense that my body actually trembles. When I see the customer succeed in increasing sales efficiently by fully utilizing the equipment we deliver on site, I get a sense of fulfillment.
Overseas work has also increased. When a customer ramps up a local factory overseas, we provide know-how related to the ramp, attend when shipping equipment manufactured overseas, and offer support to enable a smooth start to operations, after which the department responsible for after sales follow-up takes over. Because Yamazen has developed its business extensively overseas, we also have abundant local information. By strengthening our cooperation with the overseas machine tool departments, we will share fresh local information and customer information to implement even more careful support.
What are the strengths of the Machine Tools Division Headquarters?
“Human power” that connects people inside and outside the company and leads to detailed proposals
The first is the number of suppliers we have. We exchange information with the manufacturer’s sales teams on a regular basis, and work hard to expand our network. I read newspapers and specialist magazines, but information obtained directly from the front line is especially important. That we have so many suppliers in the Machine Tools Division Headquarters is entirely due to the efforts of our colleagues in the past, who worked to strengthen their sales abilities, and cultivated these relationships. In order to expand the network of suppliers further going forward, it will be important to capture information on new products and sectors as quickly as possible, and to make approaches. I feel very keenly that trading companies are all about human power.
By having a broad lineup of suppliers and building relationships of trust with manufacturers we are able to extract more proposals, and we can produce more detailed proposals for customers. In the case of one customer, we were able to produce a proposal, based on the information we received from a sales office, that was different to that of our competitors, involving consolidating the production line, reducing the number of pieces of equipment, and freeing up space by installing new equipment, which pleased the customer.
Another of our strengths is teamwork. The Machine Tools Division Headquarters consists of a small and select group, with very little distance between people like myself and my superiors or others senior to me, so I have no hesitation in consulting them or asking them for advice on a day-to-day basis. I too have made many mistakes, but each time I was rescued with speedy assistance from my boss and others senior to myself. I think that the difficult experiences you undergo when young lead to the ability to deal with a variety of scenarios in the future, when you have your own team to manage. I want young employees to also take up challenges, without being afraid of failure.
What role does the Machine Tools Division Headquarters fulfill with regard to society?
Support Japanese manufacturing, and be a bridge to the world
Even in a global context, Japan's manufacturing is of the highest level. By supporting the manufacture of automobiles, aircraft, ships, electronic devices, medical parts and so on, we will contribute to the further development of Japan. In addition, by developing overseas markets for high-quality products from Japan, I would like us to become a bridge between Japan and the outside world.
Through deeper cooperation and greater sharing of information between Division Headquarters within the company, in Japan and overseas, we think we can offer even more carefully constructed proposals to customers around the world. I hope that by sharing information about customers, we can determine our targets as a company more reliably, and further broaden the reach of our sales teams.