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Marine and motorsports part of the new make-up for pioneering Showa Denki Group

Article - November 7, 2023

For industrial equipment manufacturer Showa Denki Group, expanding into new fields like marine and motorsports has rejuvenated the company.

I feel that we embody the pioneering spirit through our pioneering actions.”

Kensaku Kashiwagi, CEO, Showa Denki Group

“I firmly believe that a life without risk is not worth living,” states Kensaku Kashiwagi. And it is thanks to this adventurous mindset that the President of Showa Denki Group has helped the company to move from being a relatively unknown Japanese manufacturer of industrial equipment, to a partner in a successful motorcycle racing team and a leading name in the sports boat industry in the United States.

Around 2019, Mr. Kashiwagi recalls he sensed a significant shift in the market, with a surge in customer interest and discussions revolving around Showa Denki Group products, particularly in the field of electronic devices. “At the same time, the company became more commonly known as SDG (an abbreviation of Showa Denki Group), which was further bolstered by its involvement in a motorcycle racing team. Racing machines are visually striking and highly captivating, garnering excitement from spectators. In 2021, Honda’s top racing team and SDG join forces, and in 2022, the SDG Honda Racing Team was launched.”

The team has participated in three championships so far: the Japanese Championship, followed by the Asian Championship and finally the Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race of the World Endurance Championship. “In the Asian Championship, we won four races but unfortunately lost the championship last year,” adds Mr. Kashiwagi  “SDG-Honda is a top team, and we always strive for victory, even when it may seem impossible.”

This desire to strive for the best even in the most difficult circumstances is indicative of the culture at SDG. While the pandemic was a difficult time for businesses around the world, SDG saw it “as a significant opportunity to make a substantial impact and achieve a level of success”. And that success translated to the company doubling its sales volume in 2022. “Trust is the most crucial sentiment for customers,” Mr. Kashiwagi stresses, “and I attribute a key factor behind this growth to the trust our customers have placed in us.”

While client trust remains paramount for SDG across the Pacific Ocean also, success has come in a different form in the United States, where SDG entered the boating industry through its acquisition of Texas Boat World, which offers the best in new and used motorboats, trailers, and motors. Bass fishing is a highly popular sport in the U.S. and competition is rife among boat manufacturers. “Currently, in both the bass boat and the industrial equipment industry, dozens of small and medium-sized companies are merged into several companies or business transfers due to problems such as a lack of successors and other reasons,” says SDG’s top executive. “However, we can beat other competitors through our global support network and the personal trust built up through our marine business and our motorcycle racing team.”

Aside from trust, Mr. Kashiwagi highlights three other key words that define the company’s business approach and his management strategy. “The first is ‘cool’. I want our products and sports teams to epitomize coolness, and the SDG Honda Racing Team and SDG Marine Factory team are both very cool.”

“Taking care of our employees is important to us, and so I would say that the second keyword is ‘benefit’,” he adds. “The third keyword is ‘pioneer’, and it is my mission to astonish customers with the products and solutions we offer. I want them to perceive our solutions as something they have never seen before. Take SDG Marine, for example; every new product we introduce is a first in the Japanese market. I feel that we embody the pioneering spirit through our pioneering actions, and in my opinion, this keyword holds great importance for the future.”