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Nynas recently opened an office in Japan. Meanwhile, Japanese companies are becoming increasingly open to doing business with foreign suppliers.
The timing for Nynas' new Japanese office couldn't have been better. Over the past three years, the business climate in Japan has changed. Following the massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011, many domestic raw material suppliers were unable to make deliveries for several months, and their customers had to look overseas to continue production.
"Traditionally, Japanese companies have relied primarily on domestic suppliers, but as a result of events three years ago they're now more open to business partners from abroad," says Pascal Verhoie, Nynas Regional Director for AMEA.
"This is a good trigger for us to grow our Naphthenic business in the country," adds Shigeru Sano, General Manager of Nynas' recently opened representation office in Tokyo.
Verhoie says the benefits of Naphthenic oils are already well known in the local market.
"We want to offer a good alternative in the market, emphasising our reliability as a global supplier," he says. "This is an advantage not least if something extraordinary happens in Japan."
So far, Nynas has mainly supplied insulating oils to transformer manufacturers and process oils to adhesive makers.
"But our journey has only just begun," Sano says. He is focusing initially on the central part of the country, but he expects a geographical expansion in the future. "There are so many major transformer and tyre manufacturers in Japan – that's our main target area for growth."
With an office in Tokyo, the business opportunities go beyond the Japanese domestic market, Verhoie explains.
"There is also tremendous potential for Nynas to acquire international accounts via the new office, given the large number of Japanese businesses operating on the global market," he says.
All good things aside, the Land of the Rising Sun also presents challenges.
"It's a very special market," Verhoie says. "Everything is very precise – logistics are different, with just–in-time delivery only, and customer service must be of the highest standard. But we have solutions in place and are well equipped to meet these requirements."
Experienced General Manager
Shigeru Sano is Nynas’ General Manager for Japan. He has long experience with international companies operating in the Japanese oil and chemical industry. Before joining Nynas he worked for DSM, a Dutch chemical company, and he has held various technical, sales, marketing, manufacturing and supply chain roles spanning more than 20 years.