Since being founded as a specialist button maker in 1919, Kanase has also established itself as a go-to manufacturer of acrylic sheets.
Specializing in acrylic sheets and polyester buttons, the century-old Japanese company Kanase boasts a fully integrated manufacturing process: it crafts its world-class products from resin materials created in-house.
Kanase’s acrylic sheets, known as ‘dream plastic’, have a range of applications. “They’re used for products such as aquariums, displays, sign boards and furniture,” says the company’s president and CEO, Seido Kanaya. “Different customers have different ways of using them. We tailor our products according to their needs.”
While Kanase is in competition with giants such as Mitsubishi Chemical, Kuraray and Sumitomo Chemical in the acrylic sheets market, the firm’s smaller size actually gives it certain advantages over such companies, Mr. Kanaya says. For example, it can offer a more personalized, more flexible, speedier service.
“For instance, if a customer needs 10 acrylic sheets urgently, I can call the head of the factory to change production immediately and finish the order in one night, before shipping the next day,” he explains. “Customers can receive their orders in two days. If they call bigger companies, they may be able to get the same products – but they will receive them a month later. There is a big difference in delivery time.”
Kanase’s button business, the company’s founding activity, is currently the less profitable of the manufacturer’s two main areas of expertise. However, a commitment to giving back to society fuels Kanase’s determination to preserve its long-standing tradition of making high-quality buttons.
“Our most important social responsibility is to keep our employees’ jobs,” Mr. Kanaya says. “This is the reason why I have been very patient.”