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100th

Exclusive Interview Succession & Changes Targeted by a Company with a 100 Year History

In commemoration of the celebrating 100 years in busines since 1920, Mr. Jiro Shinbo held an exclusive interview with President & CEO Isogawa.
They talked about the ShinMaywa Group as viewed from outside, the inherited DNA, and the future prospects.

PROFILE
  • Jiro SHINBO

    Born in Tottori prefecture in 1956. Former Yomiuri Telecasting announcer. He successively held the positions of producer of an information program and Senior Commentator of the News Bureau. Currently, he serves as the representative of the Representative of the Osaka Sogo Research Institute known as a think tank, and also plays a successful role as a newscaster.

  • President & CEO Tatsuyuki ISOGAWA
INDEX
  1. Stance of ShinMaywa which can be seen from the detailed appearance
  2. Carried on 100 years with a passion towards manufacturing
  3. Providing excitement to customers with new value creation
  4. Revitalizing Kansai and expectations on ShinMaywa as a Kansai based company
  5. Mission of the ShinMaywa Group which Support "Someone's" Life
Exclusive Interview

Stance of ShinMaywa
which can be seen from
the detailed appearance

  • Shinbo:

    First of all, I would like to offer my congratulations to your company celebrating 100 years in business. It is easy to say that the company has continued for 1 century, but it is truly amazing. Although the life of people is limited, there are no limitations on the life of a company, as long as it remains active.
    I have known about ShinMaywa for quite some time, but it is the first time for me to visit the headquarters. The appearance of each area is very beautiful, such as the approach to the entrance, and the well-kept garden which create the first impression. I felt "something" which made me believe that "I can trust and rely on the products made by this company." The earnest stance of your company towards manufacturing which has been cultivated to date, also appears in such areas.

  • Isogawa:

    Thank you very much for such a nice complement.
    We were able to celebrate 100 years in business successfully overcoming uncountable difficulties. I deeply appreciate the predecessors who have contributed to the growth of our group companies, the current employees who are earnestly tackling the business activities every day, and all the other people who have supported our company.

conversation conversation

Carried on 100 years
with a passion towards manufacturing

  • Shinbo:

    I have heard that the predecessor of your company was Kawanishi Aircraft. What were the circumstances for the founding of the company?

  • Isogawa:

    Although the predecessor company was Kawanishi Aircraft, before then, Kawanishi Machinery Company was established in 1920. The history of our company started when the "Aircraft Department" was established as one of the departments of the same company. In fact, one of the founders who established Japan's first aircraft manufacturer "Nippon Aircraft Manufacturing Company" in 1918 was Seibe Kawanishi who was the founder of Kawanishi Aircraft. However, Nippon Aircraft Manufacturing Company was dissolved soon after due to the difference in opinions between the co-founders, and Seibe Kawanishi established the new Kawanishi Machinery Company. This company utilized the machine tools and etc. brought from the previous company to start the manufacturing of spinning machines. However, in response to the former aircraft engineers and pilot’s plea to the company saying that "they want another chance to manufacture aircraft," Seibe accepted their request and started original designs and manufacturing from that point. This powerful "attachment" is the origin of why our company was able to carry on our history for 100 years, and is also valuable DNA that we would like to continue inheriting.
    Subsequently, the Aircraft Department was separated and became Kawanishi Aircraft, and Japan entered into a military government era. The period where various famous aircraft, such as the Navy flying boat "Kawanishi H6K," its successor the "Kawanishi H8K" were manufactured, is the founding period of our company.

  • Shinbo:

    Certainly, various famous aircraft were manufactured during the Kawanishi Aircraft period. I remember making a plastic model of the "Kawanishi H8K" when I was a child.

  • Isogawa:

    Isogawa During the period when there were no computers or calculators, I can imagine that the former engineers concentrated on the development so much by repeating calculations regardless of it being day or night. I believe that extraordinary capability of designing, manufacturing and tenacity of the engineers made it possible to deliver so many excellent aircraft in the confusion during the wartime period.

  • Shinbo:

    So, your company had such excellent technology since its founding. I believe that the "aircraft" is a suitable product to show the technological capability. Why wasn't "aircraft" used in the company name later on?

  • Isogawa:

    After the end of the war, the manufacturing of aircraft was prohibited in Japan. Therefore, in order to stay in business, the company name was changed to "Meiwa Industries" with the thought of "brighten up together," then "Shin Meiwa Industry Company Limited (later renamed as ShinMaywa Industries, Ltd.)" was established two years later. The predecessors during this period never stopped preparing for the next generation while manufacturing various products and providing services no matter what, in order for the company to stay in business. The company paid attention to the growth potential of the customization business of dump trucks, taking advantage of performing maintenance services on the vehicles of U.S. Forces, which became the starting point of the current special purpose truck business. During the rapid economic growth period, the company developed a self-priming pump and automatic wire stripping machine utilizing the abundant manufacturing capabilities, which was the beginning of the industrial machinery systems and water treatment equipment business. The special purpose truck business has now grown into the largest manufacturer of customized vehicles in Japan, which holds the top share of most products. The submersible pumps have spread extensively across the sewerage field, and contribute to the conservation of the living environment of Japan. The high-speed and high precision processing technology of the automatic wire processors has been recognized, and is now playing a successful role around the world including Southeast Asia.

  • Shinbo:

    No wonder I often see dump trucks and refuse compactor trucks all over the city, now I know more than half of them are made by ShinMaywa. While manufacturing aircraft, it is hard to believe that ShinMaywa paid attention to the manufacturing of parts called the "customization" business, such as "special purpose trucks," not the entire vehicle. I believe that the company had great foresight because it has now grown into a business which holds the top share.

  • Isogawa:

    Yes, I believe so. Subsequently, the long-awaited manufacturing ban of aircraft was lifted in 1952. In the following year, the company had already started development of the flying boat with excellent seaworthiness which allows for take-off and landing on rough oceans, and resumed the aircraft business. Soon after in the 1960s, the company also created mechanical parking systems and aircraft passenger boarding bridges. In this way, the company established the foundation of the current core business during the process, while responding to the needs of society.

  • Shinbo:

    Shinbo In fact, the product I think about when I hear "ShinMaywa" is the aircraft passenger boarding bridges installed at the airports. However, after talking with you, I understood that ShinMaywa is manufacturing various products that I did not know about.
    I am also amazed that the manufacturing ban on aircraft was lifted at an early stage after the war. I believe that the development of the flying boat led to the "US-2 STOL Search and Rescue Amphibian (hereinafter US-2)" currently being operated.
    In June 2013, when I was involved in an accident while crossing the Pacific Ocean in a sailboat, I boarded a "US-2" when the Maritime Self Defense Force rescued us. I am alive now because of the US-2, and I am talking to the president today.

  • Isogawa:

    I am really glad to meet you. The number of rescues from maritime accidents by the flying boat has exceeded 1,000 cases when the records of the "US-1" are added, which has contributed to various lifesaving situations including the transferring of patients from distant islands. In the future, I would like to expand the area of activities of the aircraft to where its characteristics can be utilized.

Providing excitement to customers with new value creation

  • Shinbo:

    My image of ShinMaywa is that it is a reliable and "extremely careful" company according to my first impression when I visited your company, and the "US-2" aircraft that saved my life. This is why I believe ShinMaywa is celebrating its 100 years in business based on the stable management.
    Considering the next 100 years, society may be in the middle of a transition beyond our imagination. In such a situation, what is your company aiming for, continuation of the current reliable image, or progression into fields that are different than the current fields? Although I am anxious to know what direction your company will be taking, do you think your company can create a "6th business" in the future?

  • Isogawa:

    Isogawa  First, we have to expand the current five businesses as a precondition. In the currently ongoing mid-term management plan, we are performing activities particularly focusing on three items, including (1) Developing new services changed from "Products" to "Services" as a business making full use of the AI and IoT technologies, (2) Overseas business expansion and, (3) Strengthen alliances through M&A and business tie-ups.
    We would like to contribute to society by continuing to provide products and services which will bring excitement to customers, in order to greatly improve the business scale of the ShinMaywa Group more than ever.
    I confidently believe that our company was able to stay in business for 100 years, because we have continued to respond to the demands of customers by updating our products, making full use of our advanced design and manufacturing technological capabilities which meet the needs of the times, and the inherited accuracy and high-quality work, industriousness and earnestness of the employees. It is not easy to envision the future generation however, as a manufacturer, I would always like to be attached to the "passion towards manufacturing" which is the foundation of our company.

  • Shinbo:

    There is always work which requires human hands, no matter how fast the use of IT and digitalization progresses in society. In the future, even if automation progresses in all possible areas, as long as what can be done by IT and the work where people must be involved coexist, I believe that there is always a potential for new business at this "point of contact."

  • Isogawa:

    We created services to improve the convenience and safety of customers by integrating IT into existing products, such as the "Smart Eye Motion," a device to reduce entanglement injuries of refuse compactor trucks, and an "automated <AI> docking system" which automatically connects aircraft passenger boarding bridges to aircraft for example. The advancement of digital technology is steadily changing our lifestyles and the surrounding society. In order to grow continuously in such a society, I believe that we must provide new value that customers realize can only be provided by the "ShinMaywa Group."

conversation conversation

Revitalizing Kansai and expectations on ShinMaywa as a Kansai based company

  • Shinbo:

    Shinbo Recently I realized that the Kansai (the western part of Japan) is being revitalized. When the number of companies moving in and out of Osaka is compared, the number of companies moving in was far more immediately after the Japan World Exposition, Osaka which was held in 1970 however, the number of companies moving out surpassed those moving in after 1982, and the difference gradually expanded. However, there is a possibility that the condition will turn around after such a long time. It may turn around this year. The number of younger people moving in between age 20 to 30 also increased greatly in the first half of FY2019. This is evidence which indicates that there are "places for young people to work" in Osaka. As I mentioned, since a "nice breeze" is starting to flow into the Kansai region, we are expecting your company to show its strength and pride as a Kansai based company. The Osaka-Kansai Japan Expo 2025 will be held as an event which will lead the revitalization of the Kansai region. Technology is drastically progressing every day, even though ethical issues remain. At the technological level, the topics which used to be mentioned in science fiction are already becoming a reality, such as the possible creation of "3D printed organs." The coming "Osaka-Kansai Japan Expo" may certainly become a turning point in the history of humankind. As well as the technological capabilities of ShinMaywa, I believe that the Expo will be an opportunity to disseminate the "Strength of Kansai" to the world.

  • Isogawa:

    In order to respond to such expectations, I would like to change the company to one that meets the needs of the times, while passing the advantages of our group companies to the younger generation.

conversation

Mission of the ShinMaywa Group which Support "Someone's" Life

  • Shinbo:

    Once again, ShinMaywa is an indispensable company for me. I am able to talk to president Isogawa now because of the "US-2." Sometime later, I heard that the "US-2" was created by a considerable number of suppliers and the technological capabilities of your company, which realized the aircraft. If anyone of those pieces was missing, I may not be here today. From my experience at the time, I truly realized that "the life of someone is not only for the person, but always overlaps with the life of someone else, which means that everyone is connected somewhere in society." I guess I'm trying to say "help each other." To build a flying boat, considerable manpower and time is required therefore, I believe that it is not such a profitable business. However, as you mentioned earlier, this aircraft has excellent achievements where it has rescued more than 1,000 lives in the past. An excellent product like this is not so easily found even though you look for it. Moreover, I truly admire the skills of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force who operates this aircraft. It is certainly a desperate act to move people being rescued by a rubber boat, to an airplane that has landed on a rough ocean. As a citizen, I am very proud that the operation of this aircraft is continuing till today. The reason why this business could be continued is because I believe it was supported by the other divisions, Special Purpose Truck, Industrial Machinery Systems, Fluid (water treatment equipment), and Parking systems, particularly the commercial aircraft business in the Aircraft Division. That is to say, that ShinMaywa became a 100 Years Company, because the five core businesses have precisely achieved each of their missions. I am alive today because of all the employees working at the ShinMaywa Group.Shinbo I have wanted to convey my appreciation to each employee of the ShinMaywa Group for some time. I thought this would be a great opportunity to say thank you during this interview.
    I would like to say thank you to all the people at ShinMaywa for saving my life.
    I would like all the people to be dedicated in their work into the future, keeping in mind that the tasks of all the people working for ShinMaywa support the daily life, jobs, and lives of someone around you, or others that you have never met.

  • Isogawa:

    Thank you very much. As you mentioned, I believe that we can continue to contribute to the security and happiness of people in society, by changing our gratitude towards the predecessors who built the history, and all the people who supported the history into strength, and by each employee who works in the ShinMaywa Group achieving their roles. What you have mentioned during the interview today will be deeply remembered by all the employees of our company.
    Thank you very much.

conversation conversation