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Takumido: Nurturing craftsmanship, uniting SMEs, and transforming industries

Article - January 24, 2024

Takumido is committed to revitalizing traditions, fostering expertise, and building a brighter future.

At the heart of Japan's manufacturing sector, Takumido, under the leadership of Mitsunori Suwa, its Representative Director and President, is making waves with its unique approach to revitalizing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Specializing in breathing new life into struggling businesses, particularly those in manufacturing, Takumido focuses on preserving the rich tradition of Japanese craftsmanship on a global stage.

"Our mission is to drive and revitalize struggling businesses, leveraging the strengths of Japanese manufacturing values," says the company president. "These are things to be preserved, given their great appeal for exceptional quality, meticulous production processes, and punctual delivery."

One of the ways Takumido aims to distinguish itself is by fostering collaboration among its group’s companies, often SMEs lacking public listing and financial resources. This desire for alliances extends beyond traditional boundaries, with firms pooling their strengths to cover functions like marketing, PR, and supply chain management.

"One company can be really good at financing or marketing, but it may be lacking in other areas. Each can contribute its expertise, and any weaknesses can be compensated by others," Mr. Suwa explains, highlighting the example of Pluseeds using Takumido’s marketing support along with Hartwell's PR knowledge. The key is maintaining a trustworthy monozukuri reputation.

There is a common awareness that Japan's aging population poses a challenge, especially in the transfer of essential skills. Takumido's unique approach to this involves rethinking retirement age and allowing skilled elderly workers to contribute on a more flexible basis, focusing on passing down valuable attributes to the younger generation.

"This helps address the pressing issue while allowing older workers to find joy in their work and life, fostering a sense of usefulness in society," the president emphasizes.

Recognizing the importance of digital transformation, Takumido is actively developing a unified IT infrastructure, focusing initially on areas such as sales and marketing, with a gradual expansion to supply chain management and production control.

"Whether frequency of client interactions or website traffic metrics, we will access everything from one centralized location," explains Mr. Suwa.

In the face of rising competition from countries like China, Takumido banks on the aforementioned collaboration within its group’s companies to preserve a competitive edge. Aiding the expansion of smaller Japanese firms is not only within their own nation but also overseas, with enterprise-level management at the forefront.

"Our concept revolves around our uniqueness and cutting-edge niche products," Mr. Suwa notes.

With a view to an overall international expansion strategy, targets are on optimizing resources, leveraging factories in the Philippines and Thailand as central hubs for growth in Asia. The company remains cautious when required, stressing the consolidation and strengthening of core operations at its headquarters, with an objective to establish a stable foundation within the domestic market.

The Japanese firm's business model clearly involves acquiring struggling companies, but Takumido has a different perspective to others by providing comprehensive support, becoming the headquarters for each of those SMEs, and allowing organic exploration of funding or partnerships. This long-term commitment sets it apart from traditional private equity funds.

"Our concept may put us in a unique position to welcome new companies," Mr. Suwa proudly adds.

As Takumido looks toward the future, the president envisions the company following through on the substantial growth potential and an expanding workforce, with the focus remaining on investing in optimized factory spaces, embracing AI technology, and establishing a manufacturing hub.

"If there are those who share our vision globally, we’ll gladly want to hear from them and will enjoy working together," he concludes.