BREAKTHROUGHSUCCESS CASE

NVCE Reveals the Latent Needs of Customers & Drives Ours Expansion Into Tokyo and the Kanto RegionTOHO Co.,Ltd

2019.01.15

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Masaya Kunimoto became CEO of Toho Co., Ltd. in January 2018

Extrusion molding is a technology that forms shapes by squeezing material through a mold. Just like a pasta maker, extrusion molding is a technology that forms plastic into form long, rope-like uniform shapes. Founded in 1967, Toho Co., Ltd. has been dedicated to extrusion molding technology, offering flexible manufacturing that serves a variety of industries.
The company’s motto reflects their diverse products: “(Slightly) Weird & Cool Products,” from a “(Slightly) Weird & Cool Company.” From tricky tasks like multi-material fusions and prototyping completely new materials to creating unique shapes, Toho enjoys working together with customers to build tangible “Eureka!” solutions using extrusion molding.

Toho’s business has been based on extrusion molding, with their head office in the Osaka/Kansai region and factories in Hokkaido, but recent years have allowed for expansion into the Tokyo/Kanto region market. Preparations are in progress to open a Tokyo office, but joining NVCE made Toho even more eager to expand its market reach. We talked with CEO Masaya Kunimoto to learn more.

Extrusion molding technology has the flexibility to respond to diverse requirements like extremely long shapes, fusing different materials, and making new materials to achieve very specific purposes

Why did you join the New Value Creation Exhibition?
We were invited by a rep from SME Japan. Our main office is in Osaka, but we were already thinking about expanding into the Tokyo/Kanto area market. One day I happened to mention that we were looking for a way to meet potential customers in the Tokyo and Kanto, then they immediately recommended NVCE. That’s how we got involved.

Have you seen positive effects or changes in your business due to joining NVCE?
Many of our customers in the Tokyo/Kanto region were trading companies, but NVCE has led to more opportunities to talk directly with other manufacturers. I would say that one of the biggest merits of Toho joining NVCE is that we can directly ask about issues.
For example, we couldn’t understand just exactly how a certain adhesive elastomer would be utilized. Company reps were talking back and forth, discussing problems with this and that. Our staff was able to suggest possible solutions right away, the whole process has gotten faster. Development is our strong point, we make multiple samples to address the customer’s issues, and we try to do it quickly. Joining NVCE made it possible for us to work directly with manufacturers in the Tokyo/Kanto region and provide a rapid response.

What kind of response did you get from NVCE visitors?
Just like the name suggests, I felt that many people who went to the New Value Creation Exhibition were searching for something new. We specialize in small lot development, so visitors said that we were cool, and I thought we got a very good response from the crowd.

Can you share a real example of getting business from an exhibition visitor?
We have plenty of cases of product orders thanks to NVCE. Toho usually joins 5 or 6 trade shows every year, but NVCE is our only exhibition in the Tokyo/Kanto region. Many of the people at NVCE are looking for something specific, so talking with visitors allows us to discover the latent needs of customers. I think it’s a highly productive exhibition.

Can you tell us about your future projects?
Toho doesn’t just develop products for sale. We propose solutions to issues that customers are having with their own product development, and this often involves circumstances of horizontal development. So we want to expand into new markets by specializing in development while accepting small lot orders.We want to continue to increase our customers in the Tokyo/Kanto region. The Kanto region office is already built, and we will eventually get that branch to serve as a starting point for new business.

Toho’s factory in Daito, Osaka

Interview Date: October 30, 2018

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