Having sealed its reputation as one Japan’s top manufacturers of envelopes, Mutoh Unipack is now making shopping bags for leading Japanese beverage and skincare companies.
For close to quarter of a century, Mutoh Unipack has been one of Japan’s premier manufacturers of paper envelopes, leveraging monozukuri – the Japanese manufacturing philosophy based on craftsmanship and the pursuit of perfection – to create products of the highest quality that are free from defects.
Since the 2003 introduction of Japan’s Act on the Protection of Personal Information, paper envelope makers have had to focus even more on quality to ensure that their envelopes can protect and secure the often sensitive nature of their contents, says Mutoh president Fumio Yamano. “If the customer finds one defective envelope, they have to inspect all the other envelopes, which requires extra effort. In such a case we are causing extra work for the customer, and as a manufacturer of those products we should avoid such situations,” he says.
“The essence of monozukuri when manufacturing any products is whether our product is accepted by users or not. There can be whatever type of good materials, or design, or specifications between manufacturers, but if the users don't accept it, it doesn't make sense so it's just a matter of utility. In the field of monozukuri, what I usually value is getting the point of view, or perspective, of users or customers.”
While Mutoh will continue to follow its belief and focus on the production of paper envelopes (which currently makes up 80% of its business), it has been reorienting more focus to its other area of business, shopping bags, in response to lower demand for paper in our increasingly digital world. “We have been manufacturing shopping bags for over ten years now, and the quality of our products has been highly evaluated by customers. One of our major customers is one of Japan’s most well-known alcoholic beverage companies which is very strict in terms of quality, and they do an audit of the plant where the bags are manufactured,” adds Mr. Yamano. “We also deal with famous Japanese skincare products, which are very expensive and require a very high-quality product from us, involving precision down to one millimeter. By accepting these companies’ standards, the quality of our products has risen.”
Apart from the main business, Mutoh is actively engaging in its local community. For example, the company joined the Koto City Honeybee Project and keeps bees on the grounds of its head office for the purposes of enhancing city greening, urban biodiversity and public welfare.