Samurai · Special Project: "High Performance Filtration Equipment FILSTAR" Interview
Norihiro Watanabe (right) Profile
In 1996, he joined Sumisho Kiden Hanbai Co., Ltd. (now Sumitomo Shoji Machinex Co., Ltd.).
He moved to China from 2006-2011. Mainly in the automobile industry, he was providing equipment to support the launch of factories and expansion of factories. After that, he joined SC Machinex Asia (Thailand) in July 2016 after working for 4 and half years in Tokyo. He has a character that combines boldness and precision and is famous in the industry as a charismatic salesman.
Looking back on the manufacturing industry in Thailand in recent years, especially in the year 2013, due to the impact of the first car tax reduction and etcetera, manufacturing was in good shape particularly in the automobile industry with the annual production volume of automobiles exceeding 2 million units. Manufacturers have anticipated the future and have been making aggressive capital investment. However, the market situation of Thailand has changed, and now the annual production volume of automobiles is less than 2 million units, and the struggle continues. Under these circumstances, companies are increasingly required to save energy and make environmentally conscious decisions, and the demand for energy saving and environmentally friendly products is expanding. At this time, I will talk to Mr. Goto of INDUSTRIA (THAILAND) CO., LTD. and Mr. Watanabe of SC Machinex Asia General Manager regarding the high performance filtration device "FILSTAR" which exhibits promising features with energy savings and environmentally friendly measures.
Samurai editorial department (following, Samurai)：Thank you for your time today.
SC Machinex Asia seems to exhibit good sales of "FILSTAR", doesn’t it? Mr. Watanabe, you sold FILSTAR even when you were in Japan and China?
Watanabe：No, I did not know about FILSTAR until I moved to Thailand.
After I transferred to Thailand and I asked various customers, "Do you have plans for capital investment?” Everyone said "No". It is natural that market conditions in Thailand are severe. However, I have heard of the trouble about coolant (Cooling liquid) from every customer. When I was looking for attractive products which are able to solve such troubles for customers and as capital investment, I found FILSTAR.
Samurai：I see. What exactly is the problem with the coolant?
Watanabe：When I went to a Japanese manufacturing factory, I also heard about the trouble with coolant even at that factory. I thought "What kind of problem is it?", and then I actually saw it, the originally clean coolant becoming muddy and full of sludge (dirt that comes out in the process of wastewater treatment at the factory).
Under that circumstance, customers must make precise products in microns. I understood the trouble of the customer's coolant that heard in various places in the true sense. And at that time, I recalled about the high performance filtration device "FILSTAR". I immediately contacted Mr. Goto and told him, "I have something I'd like to consult with you about soon. I am aware that tomorrow is Saturday, but can I meet you?"
Goto：As soon as Mr. Watanabe returned to Thailand, he came directly to my office from the airport.
Watanabe：When I consulted with Mr. Goto, he told me that "FILSTAR can probably solve the problem with the coolant". After that I demonstrated FILSTAR at a customer's factory together with Mr. Goto, and FILSTAR received high praise.
Samurai：There are other products similar to FILSTAR, but why did you choose FILSTAR?
Watanabe：The good point of FILSTAR is ease of use, and it looks stylish. Of course, FILSTAR is also excellent in terms of performance.
Samurai：Mr. Watanabe, you were convinced that FILSTAR would sell, weren't you?
Watanabe：Yes. Because when I go to various factories and do demonstrations, everyone is surprised, "Why can FILSTAR filtrate so cleanly?" I also thought so at first, so I fully understand everybody's feelings. FILSTAR has received high praise at all factories at which I demonstrated in Thailand.
Samurai：About your company, I had an image of dealing with big equipment, but when I actually heard the story it was different.
Watanabe：Of course, we also sell large equipment. However, we are now linked by fate to work with Mr. Goto, so I would like to recommend a wonderful product like FILSTAR. Since we are a trading company of machinery equipment and electrical equipment, we would like to listen to customers' various problems and propose solutions.
Also, as we listen to customers' story, they tell us deeper problems. We would like to suggest using FILSTAR to solve those problems.
Goto：I have absolute confidence in the quality and performance of FILSTAR. I am very happy that Mr. Watanabe has evaluated the performance of FILSTAR with such excellence.
Watanabe：I would like customers to purchase excellent products like FILSTAR and want them to be satisfied. I believe that my customer's satisfaction will lead to more business.
Goto：I am very happy that Mr. Watanabe said so. Mr. Watanabe bought FILSTAR as a sample equipment for demonstration immediately after he realized the performance of FILSTAR. I feel his enthusiasm very much.
Samurai：I see. Where are the sample machines for that demonstration now?
Watanabe：We customized FILSTAR by ourselves and it became like this! We call it the "GYOSHO set (road show set)".
Samurai：his is amazing! Also, it is suspicious (laugh).But, you cannot get on an airplane and bring the "GYOSHO set (road show set)" with you, can you!?
Watanabe：No, no. (Laugh). This is a picture of my staff who is going to Vietnam. He has FILSTAR, doesn't he?
※Mr. Haginaka who goes around to meet customers with the GYOSHO set (road show).
Earlier, the one I showed was our "FILSTAR for overseas business trip" set, and this picture is the "Mobile FILSTAR".
Samurai：Great! "Mobile FILSTAR" is for domestic business trips (laugh).
Watanabe：We bought ourselves joints and hoses, and we handmade the whole kit (laugh).
Samurai：I am impressed with Mr. Watanabe's enthusiasm.
Goto：Yes. When I do the demonstration with Mr. Watanabe, he does not care about getting dirty, and he puts his hand into the coolant tank and demonstrates it. I think that his demonstration is very popular with customers.
Samurai：I would like to learn more about the attitude of taking the initiative action like Mr. Watanabe. Please tell me what you are thinking about for the future prospects of FILSTAR.
Watanabe：In 2018, I would like to develop a full-fledged "Business related to water" centered on FILSTAR. I would like to find a partner to be a distributor in ASEAN countries other than Thailand. And the goal is to use FILSTAR to provide solutions related to plant facilities and the environment.
Goto：Actually, by the introduction from Mr. Watanabe, we are planning to start trading with Sumitomo Shoji Machinex Co., Ltd. even in Japan.
Watanabe：When I accompanied Mr. Goto, my senior whose name is Mr. Yamamoto was coming from Japan on a business trip by chance. When I introduced FILSTAR to my senior, he was pleased with FILSTAR. As a result, our company wanted to handle the product even at the headquarters in Japan.
Samurai：That's a wonderful business spreading way. I think the encounter between these two people is a really wonderful thing.
Watanabe：I am grateful for the fated meeting with Mr. Goto, and I'd like to set up a business that can be exciting in the future. However, it is still a secret now.
Samurai：Thank you very much for today.