A specialist winch manufacturer, Maxpull is using CAD technology to provide an enhanced customer experience.
Japanese manufacturing is at an exciting time. The past three years have seen large supply-chain disruptions due to COVID and the US-China decoupling, and as a result, corporate groups are looking to diversify suppliers for reliability. Known for their reliability and advanced technology, Japanese firms are in an interesting position. Due to a weakened Yen, observers argue that this is a unique opportunity. Do you agree with this sentiment?
Yes, we at MAXPULL MACHINERY & ENGINEERING CO., LTS are in the midst of exciting times.In the past three years, the manufacturing industry has changed at a tremendous pace, with undetermined delivery dates for parts that could have been delivered the next day until a few years ago, and intensive and continuous price increases forcing us to calculate our costs several times.
In order to cope with these changes, we have consciously accelerated the speed of information sharing and decision making within the organization.
Specifically, we have built a system in which all employees can view and contribute information "anywhere” and "anytime" by making full use of the internal network system, and when we receive information from the market that a component may be out of stock, we immediately proceed with a request for approval, place an order, expand our inventory, and deliver the winch immediately when the user wants to use it. We have built a system to deliver winches to users as soon as they want to use them.
Even now, there are parts and materials that are difficult to obtain in the market, not only in Japan but on a global scale. Can we buy it now or not?" I think this is an important factor for companies to make decisions.
We may be changing from an era in which survival is possible only by walking slowly to an era in which survival is impossible only by running and responding appropriately.
What are the advantages of Japanese suppliers in this current macro-environment?
Since 99.7% of Japanese companies are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), I feel that many managers are quick to make decisions and are able to make small changes. I understand that many SMEs are having difficulties in securing human resources and business succession, but because the Japanese manufacturing industry is highly technological and reliable compared to other countries, we at Maxpull are able to maintain quality and service better than ever before, even with a diversified supply chain.
In the previous year, much has happened around the globe: Japan opened its borders, the WHO officially announced that COVID was no longer a global health emergency and Maxpull has been published in Newsweek and revived the BMW single-winch series. As president of Maxpull, how would you reflect on your business for that period of time?
History shows that when major changes occur, new services and products are created. If there had been no emergency, the single-phase 100V BMW electric winch might not have been revived.
Because we live in an era of natural disasters, we have improved the IP rating (dustproof and waterproof performance) of the motor and included a "brake manual release lever" on the motor so that the suspended load can be lowered to a safe place even in the event of a power failure.
In addition, the load time rate of the motor has been improved from 40% ED to S2 30 minutes in order to extend the time that the operator can use the winch continuously.
This new product was launched during the pandemic, and sales have been steadily increasing.
In May, Maxpull made available the 3D CAD data platform STEP, an industry first. This allows users to see the dimensions and overall shape of Maxpull winches on a smartphone or PC. Furthermore, you can download the STEP files of the winches whenever you like, 24/7, worldwide.
Can you tell us more about STEP?
There is a wide variety of 3D CAD software in the world. STEP (Standard for the Exchange of Product Data) is an ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standard for compatible intermediate files that can mediate between data designed with different CAD software. STEP files can read and store the complete geometry of a 3D model with a high degree of accuracy, which is why we receive requests from all over the world for STEP files.
What motivated you to provide this service to your customers?
Is it possible to create an image of the production of the stand that is attached to the bottom of the winch with bolts and nuts, etc., only from a picture or drawing of the winch from the front or side? Without 3D representation, can we smoothly and intuitively "design a customer's new product with Maxpull winch" or "discuss a customer's factory equipment"?
Without a doubt, 3D data would solve this problem, but it would take an enormous amount of time and effort for busy designers to create 3D data for Maxpull Winch as well.
Therefore, we have created a system that allows our clients to obtain conventional 2D (DXF) and new 3D (STEP) data from our Maxpull website "anyone," "anywhere," "anytime" without the hassle of registration or login.
We have received comments from outside experts that we should have a registration system from the viewpoint of "information leakage" and "understanding potential customers," but we believe that true user friendliness is to reduce to zero seconds the time wasted by designers in "user registration form entry" and "login" to obtain product data. We believe that this is the key to true user-friendliness.
It also allows them to avoid the fear of sales calls and email newsletters that come after registration. Therefore, this service is Maxpull's greatest support to our customers who are considering to adopt the Maxpull winch.
Right now, STEP is only available on the Japanese version of your website, but your new English site will be operating in November with the same content as its Japanese counterpart, including STEP. With English support, this service will become extremely accessible to users worldwide. In addition to English support, how else do you plan on promoting and growing the STEP service?
In addition to "STEP File Download," we have added "3D Browser" to each product list.
This "3D Browser" is an epoch-making system that allows you to easily and intuitively view and operate 3D data even inside the product from a smartphone, tablet, or PC without downloading special applications (3D CAD software, etc.). Therefore, our sales staff can easily explain the internal structure of the winch using the customer's PC without bringing the actual winch to the customer and disassembling it on the spot.
In addition, for example, in the case of special winches, even if the attachment part of a specially processed part is not shown in the product photo but is on the back side or inside, we can find it, enlarge it, and show it in an online meeting.
If you are considering using a winch, please click on "3D Browser" on our website and turn the Maxpull Winch around and around. You will surely find it easy to visualize the entire image expressed visually. In the future, we would like to make more use of Maxpull Winch for presentations outside the company and for internal design reviews.
Previously we discussed the BMW 3-phase winch, however, you released the newly reborn BMW Single-Phase 100V series winch last year where the motor and drum are arranged in two rows, allowing for compactness and installation in narrow spaces, with operation times of 30 minutes. How has this ‘reborn’ BMW winch been received by customers?
Since the BMW single-phase 100V series winches have been received well, we are working on releasing a new three-phase 200V BMW-Air series winch with even more advantages, which may be available by the time this interview is published.
What makes it superior to other winches on the market?
Please look forward to this new product, which will be easier to install on the trestle and more user-friendly, in addition to the disaster countermeasures mentioned above.
Now that the pandemic is reaching its conclusion, many exhibitions domestically and overseas have resumed after being suspended. Many firms are turning to exhibitions as a way to promote their activities and products is participating in such events an area of interest for Maxpull?
I feel that both exhibitors and visitors have a slightly different attitude toward exhibitions than they did before the pandemic.
With the pandemic, the culture has changed from "offline" to "online”. We can get information at 'online exhibitions' by reducing the time to go to the exhibition hall. However, if the information you want to know requires all five senses, it is difficult to get it at an online exhibition.
With the pandemic, the culture changed from 'offline' to 'online'. We can get information at 'online exhibitions' and reduce the time to go to the exhibition hall. However, if the information that you want to know requires all five senses, it is difficult to get it through an online exhibition, and if you want to negotiate on the spot, an online exhibition may be frustratingly slow to respond to due to the time difference between countries.
Therefore, we are planning to hold a hybrid type of exhibition in the future, in which we select and invite visitors who are interested in the online exhibition in advance to the exhibition as our main target.
Are you looking to participate in such events internationally?
Since 2020, the year of the pandemic, we have been exhibiting at "Virtual Expo", a French online exhibition. This year, we have expanded our exhibit to three sectors and are receiving more inquiries from all over the world, so once we accumulate prospective customers, we would like to participate in beneficial events in the region.
In 2021, you stated that your goal internationally was to expand to Southeast Asia, but you were also conducting marketing and sales activities in Europe and the US. Can you give us an update on your current international expansion progress?
Through the online exhibition "Virtual Expo", we received orders from countries such as Chile and Egypt, with whom we had never done business before. Since the language we used to communicate with customers was not necessarily English, we made our product PR video multilingual by adding "Spanish" and "Chinese" to "Japanese" and "English.
Newsweek and www.theworldfolio.comの配信によって have also increased the visibility of the MAXPULL brand in the U.S. and Europe.
In the U.S., online sales of MAXPULL winches are expanding through global trading companies. In addition, we have opened a "MAXPULL Winch Product Stock Warehouse" in the suburbs of Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
We will continue to develop new products and enhance our new services to be closer to our customers so that the "MAXPULL" brand will be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of industrial winches.