Trading firm EIWA has moved beyond its role of merely selling products to become an engineering firm offering fully comprehensive solutions to its clients.
“We serve as a bridge connecting the strengths of different companies to provide value-added products and services to our customers.”
Yoshinori Abe, President, EIWA Corporation
Japan’s aging and declining population poses a major challenge to Japanese companies due to the subsequent reduction in the workforce. To address this challenge, more investment in automation technologies is required, which presents major business opportunities for trading and engineering firm EIWA. “Fortunately, we have the sensors and automation technology needed, so we have the potential to become a leader in this field,” says company president Yoshinori Abe.
EIWA operates in four main business fields: industrial measurement and control equipment; measurement and inspection instrumentation; environmental measuring and analysis instrumentation; and industrial machinery. Established in 1947 at the beginning of Japan’s post-war industrial boom, the Osaka-headquartered firm has grown in tandem with the nation’s manufacturing industry, with adaptation being key to its success and survival. Like many trading houses in Japan, EIWA, in more recent times, has transformed from a mere buyer and seller of goods to offer more services and solutions to its clients as an engineering and manufacturing company.
Not only offering single-unit products, EIWA provides tailored services that meet its customers’ specific needs and demands, which entails coordinating various products from different companies and selling them as integrated systems. “This approach allows us to combine and link different products, offering clients a comprehensive solution. Our sales services now also provide engineering expertise directly to customers,” adds Mr. Abe.
“This new feature of our company was implemented to address the challenge many companies face with the retirement of skilled workers. This phase of transition is becoming increasingly common among companies. Unlike manufacturing companies, which can only sell their own products, we have the advantage of selling products from various firms as a trading company. We serve as a bridge connecting the strengths of different companies to provide value-added products and services to our customers.”
The focus on meeting customer needs is essential for EIWA to continue to grow sustainably in difficult times, the president stresses, with the company offering solutions that cover everything from design, to procurement of materials and installation work. “We have a manufacturing subsidiary, so we are confident that our integrated manufacturing and sales proposals will give us a competitive advantage over our competitors. In addition, when making new proposals, it is important to improve the relationship of trust with customers that we have cultivated since our founding and to improve our sales skills. Our strategic focus is on expanding and diversifying their functions even further.”
Such diversification and expansion opportunities have come through evolving demands in energy brought about by the move towards environmental sustainability. The recycling of lithium-ion batteries, for example, is one area which holds major potential for EIWA, and aligns well with the company’s existing business related to industrial waste. Hydrogen and ammonia, meanwhile, are attracting attention as clean energy solutions, and EIWA affiliate, FC Development Co., Ltd., manufactures JARI (Japan Automobile Research Institute)-standard cells and various evaluation devices used for water electrolysis hydrogen production and methanation (CO2+ hydrogen). “We sell these to universities and company research institutions. This opens the possibility of new business opportunities for us,” adds Mr. Abe.
Looking towards global expansion, while its focus will remain on serving Japanese-based clients, EIWA aims to leverage its presence in China to expand in fast-growing Southeast Asia. When it comes to import and export of goods, the company already works with international partners and has forged partnerships with manufacturers in European countries. “By offering a mix of Japanese-made and imported products, we can differentiate ourselves from other trading companies in Japan, avoiding competing solely on price,” states the EIWA president “When we identify reliable overseas suppliers, we view them as partners.”
Regarding his vision for the future, the recently installed Mr. Abe, who has taken the helm of the company at a defining moment, says he sees EIWA continuing to move beyond selling products to offer comprehensive solutions to its customers, whether by developing the solutions itself or through collaboration with our customers or partners.
“Being a solution provider is the core focus of our role as a trading company,” he says. “We see ourselves as a crucial link for numerous companies. The demand for digital transformation (DX) is increasing rapidly. While we possess expertise and know-how within our company, we recognize the need to incorporate external talent to develop our human resources further and adapt to the changing needs of society.
“At EIWA, providing training and upskilling opportunities for our employees, based on our company’s philosophy centering around the combined efforts and cooperation of each employee of our company, is crucial to enhancing our collective capabilities. By continuously improving the skills of our workforce, we can deliver superior solutions to our customers and meet their evolving needs effectively.”