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MISUMI Vietnam: It’s all about time

Source:International Metalworking News for Asia- August 2020

Date Published:8/12/2020 02:08:27 PM

Yasuo Shimokura, General Director, MISUMI Vietnam Co., Ltd believes that Vietnam has a huge and growing opportunity, and with that Misumi strengthens its foothold and continues to expand its presence in the region.  

By: Kathryn Gerardino-Elagio


There is a tremendous potential in Vietnam as a key emerging market. Thus, Japanese company Misumi Group Inc. has deepened its regional footprint in the country to meet the growing demand in the manufacturing business sector. Therefore in July 2016, MISUMI Vietnam Co., Ltd was established. It is now the leading manufacturer and distributor of standard components for factory automation, press die and plastic mould; bearing the Japanese standard for high-quality products(Q), competitive cost(C), and short & accurate delivery lead time (T).

General Director Yasuo Shimokura believes that Vietnam has a huge and growing opportunity, and with that Misumi strengthens its foothold and continues to expand its presence in the region.

“In Vietnam, Misumi supplies more than eight million of these products with 3,000 brands and 110,000 stock items in Vietnam. The level of product variation is by far the no.1 in Vietnam. In addition, the company has been expanding its product range that includes electronics, tools, and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) and consumables,” Mr. Shimokura remarks.

As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry says: A goal without a plan is called a wish. For the first three years, MISUMI Vietnam made operating losses. It was an expected and necessary loss, as the company invested a lot in company asset and people to immediately capture the market share during that time.

“Since last year, we are making operating profit by balancing top-line growth and bottom-line profitability. But with the COVID-19, we now focus more on stringent profit and cash flow management.  During this difficult time, “Cash is King for business,” he describes.

Mr. Yasuo Shimokura, General Director 

Strategies for sustained performance

In Vietnam, FDI (Foreign Direct investment) especially in areas, such as mobile phones, electrical machineries or electronics manufacturing are still growing. MISUMI Vietnam targets to capture customer needs in those industries, especially focusing on Japanese and Korean companies by leveraging our existing business relationship in Japan and Korea.

MISUMI Vietnam also aims to penetrate local manufacturing companies including SMEs (small- & medium-sized enterprises). Mr. Shimokura explains that in order to realise more diversified, resilient economic growth in Vietnam, SMEs and what is called, supporting industries, must be developed further and faster, not just relying on FDI.

He states, “I believe MISUMI Vietnam can contribute to the development of SMEs and supporting industries in Vietnam by providing various standardised high-quality products, in short and accurate time, with transparent price, and with convenient method of purchasing using web/mobile channels.”

“Currently and for the next five years, we focus on inside Vietnam market, as it still has a huge and growing opportunity. Having said that, our biggest customer target is outside Vietnam technically – EPEs (Export Processing Enterprises),” Mr. Shimokura declares.

He adds, “EPEs tend to have a big product demand, yet require special technical attentions in trading terms, delivery conditions, pricing methods, tax treatments, etc.  We cannot disclose more specifics as these are our critical business know-how. We will further grow our business with EPE customers by utilising these specific business knowledge and expertise we have accumulated.”

Trends in industrial production and trade

Mr. Shimokura sees the demand for factory automation will increase drastically in the next 10 years. According to him, two factors support this prospective.

First is that FDI keeps a good level. In 2019, it reached to US$20 billion, with major industries such as mobile phones, electrical machineries or electronics. “Even with negative impact from COVID-19 for certain period, I believe the growing trend will not change in the long run,” he declares.

Second is the raise of labour cost in Vietnam. Labour cost increases between 5-10% every year in the country. Mr. Shimokura indicates, “This greatly affects the overall management, especially for a company which is exposed to global competition. Many corporate executives and managers actually mention that among the top management issues are: cost down, localisation, and automation. The two factors cited support that we are at close to the dawn of the Factory Automation and the demand will rapidly increase in the coming 10 years.”

Competitive edge

There are three critical factors that differentiate MISUMI Vietnam from its competitors, tells Mr. Shimokura.

1) E-commerce solutions such as web/mobile channel. E-commerce solutions: Some media refer to Misumi as specialised in manufacturing business. E-commerce is not yet so common in B to B manufacturing field, but if you look at growing trend of E-commerce in consumer business such as Shopee Tiki, Lazada, you cannot doubt the same trend will soon occur in B to B manufacturing business.

He reveals, “MISUMI Vietnam has already invested a lot in our website and mobile system solutions and has made operational improvements specifically accustomed to Vietnam market. Customer can search/compare products, check price/delivery time/product specification, get a quotation, and complete an order at “one stop.” I believe no one can catch up with MISUMI Vietnam in the field of B to B manufacturing E-commerce anymore.”

2) No.1 product variation & stock quantity: “As said previously, we currently supply more than eight million of products, 3,000 brands, and 110,000 stock items, from standard components for factory automation to electronics, tools, and MRO consumables in Vietnam market. And we will continue to increase our product line up further. I believe no other competitors can supply more product variations than MISUMI Vietnam,” divulges Mr. Shimokura.

3) Global, diverse culture & people: Misumi Vietnam is Japanese company located in Vietnam, however, its culture & people are so global and diverse. “Our employee nationality is Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese. They all speak English as company official language. Some got MBA or graduate level of education. We give world class training on logical thinking, strategy building, and financial analysis. Non-Vietnamese employees learn how to do business in Vietnam including relationship building with local government authorities, suppliers, and customers. However, we never compromise our integrity and compliance, as we have pride in our global business standard,” he expounds.

Mr. Shimokura believes that their people are not only the smartest & brightest, but also with the most global mind and highest business standard, which can be ever sought in Vietnam and Asia.

A true standout

Mr. Shimokura’s clear and focused mind are one of the things that make MISUMI Vietnam a standout. His ability to navigate through the different phases, the positives and the ones that need to be addressed. There is no substitute for hard work, Mr. Shimokura continuously look at better ways of doing the tasks he currently do. 

“I have worked in various industries/businesses from project finance, retail credit card, E-commerce, to manufacturing/factory automation, and I have always focused on how I can build effective business strategy to win in certain market, and how I can involve people into a goal; with driving passion, clear/simple strategy, & detailed operation designs to connect company goals down to people's mind & action. I always challenge what I want to do even when I may face some difficulties or risk. This life time is only once, so I don’t want to regret by not challenging something, rather I want to try, learn, and move forward even when I make a stupid mistake and fail,” he says.

Mr. Shimokura articulates, “Looking back, I could say that I have somehow sought for a global working environment, passionate about involving and leading people into certain goals, and trying to enjoy every moment I live through. Thus, for me “pressure” is not something I have torture with, but rather a driving force to grow myself, move myself forward.”

“What if you failed with tremendous pressure? Don’t worry. Life is never too late to challenge again. Let’s keep challenging, making mistake, growing from the mistake, and challenging again until the end our lives,” he beams.

Mr. Shimokura started his career with a Japanese governmental bank specialising in international trading, economic support in developing countries. After getting his MBA (Masters in Business Administration) in the U.S., he changed his career and worked at General Electric, and now with Misumi.



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