Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
Industry & Trade | Asia-Pacific | Japan

Nissei Plastic Industrial Co.

Made in America – Made by Nissei


2 months ago

Hozumi Yoda, President of Nissei Plastic Industrial Co., Ltd.
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Hozumi Yoda

President of Nissei Plastic Industrial Co., Ltd.

Hozumi Yoda, President of Nissei Plastic Industrial, sits down with United World to talk about the comparative strengths of Japan’s companies within an increasingly competitive global industrial sector, and the scope he sees within the American market.

The injection molding machine market global trends forecast says that by 2021 the sector is expected to reach $4.86 billion with a growth of rate 2.2% between 2016 and 2021. What are the drivers behind these trends?

There are three main points. The first one regards the automobile sector, as it uses all sorts of materials including plastic. Plastic is very light and the trend now is to make cars lighter in weight, which in turn makes cars more fuel efficient. In the case of hybrid cars, the motors will be increasingly made of plastic components.

Another trend is related to containers for cosmetics for women. Cosmetics containers use plastic and China is a very large market with growing demand. The third factor has to do with the health industry, as it uses a lot of different products and they are becoming more and more disposable. Of course, there are factors of increasing demand in communication-related products, for example mobile phones, but the ones I mentioned are the most important.

 

Many foreign companies, from Europe, China and Southeast Asia, are aiming to enter the plastic market. How can Nissei Plastic maintain its position in the face of increasing global competition?

Plastic materials are quite easy to make, and the production process is very simple. It is only the machinery which is essential. Thus the most important thing is maintaining the machinery so as to keep it moving for a long time doing continuous work, which can be quite challenging. In the case of other countries, for example in Southeast Asia, the machines can suddenly break down and stop due to lack of maintenance and this represents a lot of trouble for manufacturers.

Our job is to be able to succeed in keeping machines operating 24 hours a day. That’s very important. Of course the quality and investment in upgrading machinery is also important, but it’s even more important that they keep running continuously. We at Nissei are always able to provide such machines and this is how we can survive against the global competition.

 

What can you tell us about the establishment and growth of the company?

We started our company in 1947, just after the end of World War II. At first we were making plastic products, but that business wasn’t particularly profitable. However, we grew in terms of molding know-how by doing so. Then we decided to take a leap of faith and manufacture and sell the machines as well. Luckily we became very popular and we started growing quickly.

Usually, companies only make machines, but since we used to make plastic products, we know how to answer customers’ needs properly, and that made us stand out and contributed to our success.

The original founder of the company passed away in 1988, and he was subsequently awarded a place in the hall of fame of the SPI (Society of Plastic Industry). Were he still alive today, he would be very pleased.



What are the sectors for Nissei Plastic with the highest growth potential in the US?

The biggest sector is definitely the automobile sector. We want to focus on that, albeit not exclusively. Plastic, generally speaking, has a bad image but we are trying to make plastic more recyclable and create products that are not harmful to the environment.

 

Can you tell us about some of the eco-friendly products you have in the pipeline?

We can’t disclose much about it, but our latest product would be something similar to what Nakamoto Packs is doing, but in the automotive sector. We want to grow in that sector. In order to do so we plan to develop recycling and eco-friendly ideas which we believe to be essential to sustain our growth.

 

What are your strategies to raise awareness about Nissei Plastic’s brand?

The mobile phone segment is volatile and created some issues for us in the past. The automobile sector in which we are now mainly focusing on is much more stable than before, so we are planning to expand through that.

One of our strategies is related to the Internet of Things (IoT). We are working on our capacity to maintain machinery with fewer people by carrying out certain operations remotely. We are developing a concept that wherever you are and wherever you go you are able to carry out maintenance. If we manage to do this, it will be very of great value to customers.

 

What makes Nissei Plastic’s machines unique vis-à-vis your competitors?

In this industry, other companies mainly sell electric-type molding machines. In the case of companies like FANUC and Sumitomo Heavy Industries, their processes are not really that efficient when compared to ours.

With our technology of hybrid-type molding machines, we can make very good quality plastic merchandise through a more efficient process, and that is where our advantage is.

 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing companies to go global through M&As and joint ventures. Do you see opportunities for Nissei Plastic to expand into the US in this regard?

For us, America is one of the most important markets and one which we always keep in mind. American customers are very good; if there is a good product, Americans are always willing to pay the price for it. It is also a well-suited market for us to try our technology.Meanwhile, in the case of China or Korea, customers are not willing to spend the amount of money pertinent to a product’s quality. America is the most suitable place for us to develop and test our technology.

 

You said in an interview that you want Nissei Plastic’s brand to be associated with the automotive industry especially in the US. What are the new challenges for your company in the US under the Trump administration?

Next February we will open a new factory in Texas, San Antonio, where we are investing $20 million. We will be assembling heavy machinery in there and sell it in the Midwest area around Detroit. We are going to sell our products under the label of ‘Made in USA’. We are waiting to say what Trump is going to say about this!

 

Where would you like to take Nissei Plastic in the coming years?

Globalization is one of the most important aspects of our company. As a matter of fact I have recently been thinking a lot about its meaning. In the case of Japan sometimes it means to expand internationally but also capturing all profits.

I am thinking about a wider concept. I would like to create a network where all countries profit from interacting with each other. I am also thinking about globalization from an environmental point of view. Even in  the case of an SME like us this is very important, and we will strive to create a better environment.


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