Interview - August 28, 2019

Hoping to visit machining sites around the world: Interview with Takashi Yamazaki, President of Yamazaki Mazak (2/2)

Seeing things firsthand is important

Yamazaki Mazak has a new president for the first time in 18 years. Its new president, Mr. Takashi Yamazaki, has been mainly engaged in sales and marketing and has extensive international experience. He says, “I would like to continue to visit machining sites around the world. It is important not only to read reports from our sales team but also to visit and see firsthand the sites where our machines are actually used.”

– You have been engaged in sales and marketing for a long time.

When I visit a customer, I not only talk with the customer in their office but also tour their production site. I talk with management executives and also operators who put our machines into practical use in the field, while also observing the machine operation conditions. The feedback I hear at a customer’s site is not always good news. I always bring back both positive and negative evaluations of functions, machine quality, and after-sales services to share them in the company. I have done this continuously as a sales and marketing representative. Even though I may visit customers less frequently in the future, I would still like to get firsthand knowledge of machining sites around the world as much as possible. I think that it is important not only to read reports from companies but also to visit and see firsthand the sites where our machines are actually used. I am always writing reports on planes as I travel so that I do not forget anything I have learned at machining sites around the world.

– You emphasize feedback of information to the company.

Our company has traditionally had the idea that sales and marketing should lead the whole company. However, even if a sales representative requests that a certain machine be developed, for example, it may be hard to get development staff to undertake it unless they are convinced. This is why it is necessary to share information that the sales and marketing section collects from customers and then discuss it with all members of the company. Nobody moves unless they are convinced.

– Based on this assumption, please tell us about the direction of technological development.

Simple standard machines have become hard to sell, and I feel that customers are looking for solutions for their whole production systems. However, there are various aspects of solutions, such as machining know-how, software using IoT, and measures for automation. Whatever the case, customers’ needs have diversified; so, we will promote the development of products and technologies that meet their needs flexibly and efficiently. In addition, I think that there is great potential in combining cutting technology with laser technology. Our company has been accumulating both technologies for decades, and I would like to promote the development of products using them. Furthermore, we recently have increasing solutions for which both a customer and Mazak think hard together about a subject faced by the customer. This is more of a joint project than a solution. It is ideal to run dozens of projects in parallel; however, we have to further strengthen our structure to do so. In any case, I think that such business will grow larger in the future.

– Are there any things you are trying to do, such as maintain your health?

Competing in triathlons is my hobby. I participate in races 3 or 4 times a year. In this past June, I participated in a race with a total distance of 113 km across three events: swimming, cycling, and running. I started competing in triathlons at 42 years old, and I have been training my body ever since. I think that it has resulted in maintaining my health and improving my endurance, because it has enhanced my physical strength. Thanks to this, I have been able to perform my work quite well.

 

Insights    Shu Yasumi, editor-in-chief

The most impressive words from Mr. Yamazaki was, “Our company has traditionally had the idea that sales and marketing should lead the whole company” in the middle of this article.  I totally agree with the idea.  Any machine tool builders must be led by their sales & marketing teams since good machine tools are developed not only by the R & D department of the builders but in the interactions and/or mutual dependencies with builders and customers.  There is no doubt that the policy is the essence of the strongness of Mazak.

 

Hoping to visit machining sites around the world: Interview with Takashi Yamazaki, President of Yamazaki Mazak (1/2)

Source: SEISANZAI MARKETING Magazine August 2019 issue

This article was translated by “T-4OO”.

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