"MITSUI GRINDING WHEEL CO., LTD.", a company that has been selling grinding wheels for more than 100 years, with MITSUI MINING & SMELTING as the parent company in Japan. And "MITSUI GRINDING TECHNOLOGY (THAILAND) CO., LTD.” has been established in Thailand for more than 30 years. Of course, business partners are important to run businesses for a long time steadily. In this respect, MITSUI has selected "MITSUYA LIMITED" to be the only distributor of its products in Thailand and operates side-by-side as a manufacturer and distributor.
Throughout the years we have been doing business together, there have always been problems and unexpected situations that needed us to work together to solve and find the best solutions for each other. The most recent, the inevitable impact of the spread of corona virus or Covid-19. Although not directly affected from such a situation, both companies have learned to adapt and prepare to develop business to suit the situation without hesitation in response to the needs of customer that may change according to the situation.
This time, Khun Prachuap Kaewsuanjik, Managing Director of MITSUI GRINDING TECHNOLOGY (THAILAND) CO., LTD., and Khun Manat Borisutbongkot, Sales manager of MITSUYA LIMITED, will share the company's perspective during the past and present Covid-19 situation.
Mr.Prachuap: For the Covid-19 situation in the company's perspective, of course a part of the impact that we encounter is not much different from other companies, such as less orders and no more work for staff. There was an overstaffing problem, resulting in reduced overtime pay and a lack of money, causing some staff to suffer from insufficient income for living and to eventually quit the job. This caused our company to lack skilled staff in some divisions, but we understood this problem well, so we had to change our focus so that the staff who still work with us can survive with income that will certainly support themselves and their families.
Mr. Manas : As a distributor, the sudden stop of production in customer’s factory because of the Covid-19 situation would definitely have an impact on distributors. The first is the delay or postponement of products receiving that are ready to be delivered because of such an immediate decrease in purchase orders of about 30-40%, which Mitsuya Limited understands due to the force majeure that is occuring.
Mr.Prachuap : In terms of customer service, due to the decrease in customer usage, we can balance raw materials and orders. Even though we can't order raw materials, we still have enough stock, and we have raw materials imported from China and Europe. So it is an opportunity arising in the crisis that we can always support our customers. But at the same time, we also reassured our customers by issuing a formal letter to inform them that we can definitely response to customer demand.
Mr. Wachirasak : During the time when the customer has raised the level of Crisis prevention and the product itself requires a technical department to support technical problems all the time, our company relies on communicating more via online and social media channels on applications such as Line, Zoom, Skype, etc. And during the lock-down period, we can deliver products in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region, but for our customers located in the eastern zone, our manufacturer MITSUI has supported us in this area as the manufacturer is located in Chonburi province.
Mr.Prachuap : For Covid-19, we can say that many companies may not imagine it can cause such a crisis, but in this respect, our situation is affected by a loss of customer demand. The nature of our business, which is a Know-how business has not been directly impacted, but what we have learned positively in this situation is more agile decisions. We used to think about what we should do once when we encountered a new situation. This scenario gave us the courage to make a decision, and we took the opportunity to manage the products that we had and saw it as a weakness to improve quality and to raise the level to surpass competitors. In the past, we stressed less about stock, but from now on, we may need to increase our stock to be able to respond to our customers quickly, whether their lifestyle changes or they have encountered any new situation.
Mr. Manas : As a distributor, we cannot deny the New Normal trend. Business development on the part of dealers will focus on developing communication channels with customers for convenience and efficiency. Will we continue to use Direct sales? Do Digital tools need to be adapted to our products that are in a Niche Market, which always need Technical support? Covid-19 is the unavoidable stimulant for Step Change in transforming the business situation to keep pace with the circumstances.
Mr.Prachuap : A business that emerges easily can be easily extinguished, especially when faced with unpredictable situations. It is always a risk that the business will not be successful. But our business depends on Know-how, our strength is that we do business that not just anyone can do. In addition, from the situation that arises, we can see more diverse things. Besides the automobile industry, we try to look at other industries as well to move from the obsolete ones. By checking what is a trend to expand the business, of course these things are not specialized Know how, but it is something that anyone might be able to do, so we have to develop and add skills to make our products more efficient and meet the needs of our customers better than competitors can.
Mr. Manas : In the past, we have confidence in our service and more frequency of communication than ever before, so customers were impressed by the quality of our services. As for product quality, there is definitely no way we will lower the standard since the manufacturing company already set a high standard. Therefore, regardless of any situation, we will definitely serve our customers effectively. We believe that 80% of our customers give us the opportunity to choose us as their trading partner for over 20 years. Of course, on the way, we have already encountered a big crisis such as flood crisis in 2011. We can come through from these histories with the trust that customers have given us for a long time.
Mr.Prachuap : We do the knowledge based business from our parent company to our current generation, and we developed steadily with strengthened production. Therefore, we want our customers to be assured that we will improve the quality of the products to make the customers always feel satisfied and reduce the cost to the customer. Of course, cost reduction is not only a price reduction but also adding value to the product for better and longer use.
We never even thought to make our customers disappointed. "
Mr. Manas : We, as a distributor, want customers to be confident in our products and services, and in this situation, we would like to encourage all customers and entrepreneurs that we can get through this together.