Going beyond the role of a supplier, as a distribution agency of semiconductors and electronic components, CoreStaff exceeds expectations by passing useful information to its customers.
Founded in the year 2000, CoreStaff was born from a demand gap in the semiconductor industry being identified and has quickly grown to become an international player. “Japanese customers liked an interactive connection, small portions and short lead times, so when the big, traditional companies couldn't respond, we handled them one by one,” explains president and founder, Masaki Tozawa.
“Now, we offer this service for the broader market, often to smaller-sized companies, and to customers from many different areas of Japanese industry. We are committed not to big customers, but to small to medium-sized customers.”
This support for the procurement needs of microbusinesses and SMEs, which saw subsidiaries launched in Germany, China, Thailand, Hong Kong and the U.S.A., is a key aspect of CoreStaff’s competitive advantage.
“We handle many suppliers of varying sizes and buy from many distributors so if we sell just one or two items to the customer, we have several other items to offer as a supplier, which is another of our strengths.
“It allows us to respond to those small orders and needs of the SMEs. Also, in those situations, being the catalog distributor is a major positive, giving us the agility to supply those types of smaller orders from smaller companies.”
One challenge for the likes of CoreStaff is the competition from counterfeit products being pushed onto its customers.
“It's a very big problem, but we have an analytical facility which does safety inspections to check if it’s counterfeit,” Mr. Tozawa highlights. “This is done at our Nagano logistics center where we have specialist equipment to identify what cannot be done by sight alone. It’s not easy, but we have a good technique to find it, and that’s a strong point of ours.”
Expansion out of Japan is a clear goal for the company and the president is confident about its uniqueness translating well to overseas markets.
“Due to our original style, few companies are competitive like us, although there are many traditional distributors who we consider our rivals,” says Mr. Tozawa. “We are, however, looking to expand beyond our Japanese customer base, but that remains our immediate focus as the market has been changing rapidly following the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a big opportunity for us.
“I am, of course, very interested in the global market because we have started some catalog distribution, offering 30 to 40 brands, with many people having contacted Japanese or other semiconductor component suppliers. Unlike others, we have two aspects — as a distributor of the catalog products and as a customer-based service provider — and our hybrid support of both digital and analogue is a unique style. And we have plans to build a bigger distribution and logistics center in the near future.
“We respond to high demands on a case-by-case basis, so after several years we can match our clients' own needs and style of service with ours by analyzing and reacting to the data we gather. Our latest objective is to solve the problem of many Japanese companies struggling to meet orders given the ongoing chip shortages.”
In terms of expansion, CoreStaff is already progressing a number of developments.
“We recently launched in Taiwan as there are many suppliers there but we couldn’t reach them,” Mr. Tozawa explains. “So far, we have six overseas branches, and I'm interested in Thailand, Vietnam and Southeast Asia as being present locally makes both contact and local solution services so much easier. Customers have been very pleased with this approach so far and I believe there are many situations around the world, which is the reason we keep expanding.”
As the company continues on its ambitious path, Mr. Tozawa reminds his colleagues and other young people that trial and error is an important aspect of evolution.
“We lost 20 years on some issues, but we have to try to change.”