Utilizing its experience gained over 80 years, Hirano Steel makes sure its products meet the stringent demands of its clients.
“The source of our competitive advantage is our history.”
Yoshihiko Hirano, President, Hirano Steel Co., Ltd.
Hirano Steel has been supplying wires for use in reliable and high-quality springs for more than 80 years. Yoshihiko Hirano, who has been company president for the last two decades, knows how trading firms like his that specialize in smaller, niche fields are well placed to meet the demands of domestic and overseas markets, despite the significant logistical challenges the latter brings. The Japanese people and corporate culture are also seen as key advantages.
“Many Japanese companies have superior technical capabilities and workers take their jobs very seriously, which helps develop trust with customers,” Mr. Hirano says. “From this, longer-term relationships with partners in overseas markets can be built.
“In the past, we have enjoyed high economic growth and many Japanese companies have lifetime employment. It means that these companies value people and I think that is our strength.”
Although technology — demonstrated by the new DX system for data and promotional efficiencies — and a shift to online sales are important, Hirano Steel continues to provide a personal element to the day-to-day, and for this the employees are fundamental.
“We need to develop our salespeople in order to increase our capabilities,” says Mr. Hirano. “This is vital for face-to-face communication and for the business.”
Mr. Hirano knows the value of the company’s history, another of its competitive advantages, with the motto of ‘honesty and breakthrough’ a core strength. He says his legacy will involve leaving a strong financial foundation for the next generation, but still has several years yet to build on the successes to date.