“Mitsui Grinding Wheel Co., Ltd.” is a well-established company with a history of over 100 years in grinding wheels with Mitsui Mining & Smelting as its parent company. Its Thai corporation, “MITSUI GRINDING TECHNOLOGY (THAILAND) CO., Ltd. (hereafter referred to as MGT)” was established a quarter century ago.
One of the major reasons for the long-term success is the presence of “MITSUYA LIMITED” (Mitsuya), the sole sales agent in Thailand. Mr. Jyo Kimura, the current president, is a former Sales Manager of Mitsui Mining & Smelting and a director of the Thai corporation.
We did an interview with Mr. Kimura and with Mr. Masakazu Sato, Assistant General Manager of MGT, on the progress and efforts of the two companies in Thailand.
Mr. Kimura : Not only for industrial parts such as automobiles, home appliances, bearings, springs and blades, every product around us, such as daily necessities and medical equipment, uses a grinding wheel for finishing work. Mitsui Grinding Wheel Co., Ltd. has a proven achievement in manufacturing and selling such whetstones. More than 30 years ago, I was in charge of export sales from Japan to Southeast Asia for the company. The demand in the Thai market was high and many whetstones were being shipped to Thailand at that time. However, the Thai tariff at that time was 40% (currently 3%). Even though labor costs are cheap. This is almost never profitable. Moreover, we can’t compete with cheap products from local or foreign companies. It was 25 years ago that we decided to establish a Thai local corporation.
Mr. Sato : Although Mr. Kimura’s days with the company was before my appointment, I hear that he really put all his effort into the company. It was before the rush of Japanese companies advancement into Thailand. We thank Mr. Kimura for the present success of the Thai corporation. He was with the company for about 10 years before moving to Mitsuya, and we have maintained a good relationship ever since.
Mr. Kimura : Mitsuya has three investors, two Thai and one Japanese, and was named “Mitsuya” from the meaning of “three arrows” in Japanese. During good times or bad times, the three people are united together like a single strong arrow and overcome the difficulties. I heard that sort of thought is put into the name.
Mr. Sato : MGT grinding wheels are 100% made to order. There are a variety of sizes and specifications, so we need to understand customers’ needs and deliver the best products. To realize that, we must have hearty sales by consulting properly with customers. In that respect, the sales staff of Mitsuya is full of reliable members. They have accurate understanding of whatever difficulties or problems customers may have. “Leave the Thai market matters to Mitsuya.” Every customer stationed in Thailand gives such a message to their successors upon leaving.
Mr. Kimura : Success or failure of sales activities depends on employee education. Grinding wheels are not something that anyone can sell by going to visit customers with pamphlets. First, let the sales staff know and understand the whetstones they handle. Second, let them touch and teach “the actual thing”. This takes a considerable amount of time, but because of this, first-class sales staff are nurtured. It is also important to create an organization to clarify responsibilities. There are currently four team leaders under the Thai sales manager. A regional responsibility system is in place, which makes the location of responsibility clear. It is important to have a system of competition but in a good sense, keeping tension.
Mr. Sato : With various economic ups and downs, we have been collaborating and supporting each other with Mitsuya always being a really reliable partner. As a manufacturer, we can devote ourselves to manufacturing, research and development, as much as we can rely on sales from them.
Mr. Kimura : Although it has been a quarter century, it seems to have gone so fast. Within that time, I recall the currency crisis of July 1997. All work was gone at once. The 2011 flood is also a memorable event in a way. We were able to continue sales activities even in such situations because of colleagues who worked hard together, and there were members of MGT who trusted us.
Mr. Sato : If you have a problem with grinding wheels in Thailand, leave it to Mitsuya and us! We will meet customers’ expectations with hearty consulting and quality products.
■ Whetstone for Surface Grinding
■ Whetstone for Cylindrical Grinding
■ Whetstone for Centerless Grinding
■ Other whetstones for grinding
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