On 18th of May, HQ hold the Conference of leaders of whole Nippon Express group for sharing visions to be a true global logistics company. Mr. Saito, President of Nippon Express, mentioned that we should speedily change without hesitation, and cooperate together toward our Growth. Through the conference, all leaders tightened their relationships and confirmed visions to enhance our service of supply chain solution and contribute customers to develop their global activity.
This logistics route for truck transportation extends 7000 km southbound through Asia. The route connects Shanghai in China to Singapore, passing through Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia. This important route supports logistics between China, which has become the world’s second biggest economic power, and Southeast Asia, which has experienced remarkable economic growth in recent years. The current progress of economic development in Asia is shown from the perspective of the drivers."
For most of the 1960s, Japan’s economy grew at an explosive rate of over 10 per cent a year. This was the decade when the country’s automobile and elec- tronics brands established themselves on the world stage, and Asia became the work- shop of the world.
Of course, those pioneering Japanese manufacturers needed help shipping their products abroad. Enter Tokyo-based logis- tics provider Nippon Express: founded in 1872, the company built its international footprint handling imports and exports for a top Japanese camera maker in the early 1960s. “Now we work with all Japan’s big- gest names in cars and electronics,” declares Mitsuru Saito, Nippon Express president and CEO, “Our overseas network comprises over 20,000 employees in 266 cities across 44 countries.”
Japan. Asia. The world.
In its home market, Nippon Express is the top logistics provider. With a eet of almost 20,000 vehicles and 7 million square metres of warehousing space, it generated around 60 per cent of its $16.76 billion (¥1.86 tril- lion) revenues for the year ended March 31, 2017 in Japan. The company transports everything from heavy equipment like bul- let train carriages and wind-turbine blades through cash and valuables to priceless works of art. (Nippon Express handled the Mona Lisa when it came to Japan in 1974. It is currently advising on the transportation of ancient artefacts at the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo, which is scheduled to open in 2018.)
“Our clients like to say that ‘Nippon Express can deliver anything,’” says Saito. “We have three core strengths: an extensive overseas network; the ability to provide all transport modes—land, air and marine; plus high service quality and advanced technology based on in-house R&D.”
Nippon Express now wants to add more global businesses to its client roster of mainly Japanese names. The goal of the current corporate strategy New Sekai-Nittsu is to transform Nippon Express into “a tru- ly global logistics company,” by targeting increased pro ts at home and rapid expan- sion abroad, in Europe, the United States, but most particularly in Asia.
Why Asia? Just look at the numbers: The economies of key Asian countries grew at an average 6.1 per cent versus 1 or 2 per cent for the West and Japan in 2016. “Most of the world’s production and consumption now takes place in Asia, and it’s where our clients are most active,” says Saito, who pro- jects strong revenue growth of 50 per cent in South Asia and Oceania and 33 per cent in East Asia over the next two years.
China provides a neat example of how Nippon Express is applying its “made-in-Ja- pan” know-how to the needs of new Asian clients. The Chinese car business is boom- ing as the middle class embraces motori- sation. Nippon Express does “milk runs” for local OEMs in the south of the coun- try—collecting components from suppliers, bolting them together and injecting them into the nal assembly process.
A buoyant Asian manufacturing sector means that more factories are being built. Nippon Express responded to demand by establishing a new Singapore subsidiary, NEX Global Engineering, in 2016. The company specialises in the transportation and installation of heavy plant and equip- ment for industrial facilities.
Manufacturing, though, is not the whole story. As Asia continues to evolve into a vi- brant consumer market, there’s also an op- portunity for Nippon Express to transport everyday consumer goods between Asian nations in parallel with the existing model
Our core strengths are
an extensive overseas network, the ability to provide all transport modes, and high service quality.
of shipping big-ticket items like automotive parts and electronics from Asia to the West. “The plan is to move more downstream into areas like food, fashion and pharma- ceuticals,” says Saito.
In Malaysia, for example, Nippon Express has secured special Halal certi cation ena- bling it to transport and store food in line with Islamic law. Indonesia—another Muslim-majority nation with a population almost nine times Malaysia’s—is even more appealing. Says Saito: “Indonesia is one of the countries where we’re most active in ASEAN. It’s becoming increasingly attractive as a large market for food and other consumer goods.”
Nippon Express has developed products like SS7000, a cross-border truck transport service linking key cities in China and the Malay Peninsula to meet booming demand for logistics inside Asia. It’s also getting be- hind the Chinese government’s “One Belt, One Road” policy, for example by team- ing up with Kazakhstan’s national railway company to provide rail-based container transport from China to Germany with its Eurasia Train Direct product. First-half sales for this calendar year have doubled versus one year ago.
In Europe and the United States, Nippon Express already has a robust business serving Japanese multinationals. By expanding into new sectors like apparel and pharmaceuti- cals and increasing the proportion of non- Japanese clients, Saito is targeting revenue growth of 20 per cent in the Americas and 13 per cent in Europe over the next two years.
Rationalisation and innovation
This drive for broad-based growth abroad is accompanied by a push for higher prof- its at home. Focusing on the metropolitan areas around Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, where most Japanese global companies congregate, Nippon Express has radically streamlined its processes through a couple of innovations: rst, a one-stop model that enables customers to buy multi-mode trans- port solutions as a single package instead of having to deal with different departments for land, air and marine; and second, an account management system that serves as a single touch point for the totality of a client’s global activities, resulting in radi- cally more ef cient communication with no overlap between branch, country and regional of ces. Indeed, so effective were these process innovations that they have now been implemented globally.
The same rational spirit is at work in R&D where disparate initiatives have been uni ed under the Logistics Engineering Strategy Group. Technologies now being tested include drones for warehouse inven- tory management and autonomous truck platooning. (Platooning refers to a convoy of several trucks in which only the rst has a driver, while the others are autono- mous). “In the age of IOT, AI and robotics,
President and CEO Nippon Express
outsiders coming in to disrupt our business is a risk,” says Saito. “A large company like us has the resources to create new platforms and become a logistics innovation leader.”
Saito believes the company needs to “self- disrupt” and take a less conservative ap- proach to compete more effectively against the European rms that dominate the eld today. “For the Japanese, Japan tends to loom large in their consciousness wherever they are,” he says. “But we are no longer a Japan cargo specialist: we need to start think- ing of Japan as just one region on a par with the other four regions in which we operate.”
Saito has implemented a series of poli- cies to globalise the business. He is actively promoting local staff to head international subsidiaries—a policy that has won the company major new clients in Europe. In the United States, more than half the com- pany’s clients are already non-Japanese. In December 2016, a new unit, the Global Logistics Innovation Center (GLIC) was set up in Singapore with an exclusive focus on securing global non-Japanese clients. Meanwhile, the company is breaking into new elds and territories through M&A, as it did via the acquisition of Italian high- end apparel specialist Franco Vago.
All these steps mean that the 20 per cent of its turnover that Nippon Express cur- rently generates overseas is set to rise fast. “Building on our track record of serving demanding Japanese customers, we of- fer high-quality solutions tailored to in- dividual customers—something that our competitors nd hard to do,” says Saito. The company’s long-term goal is to raise its overseas sales ratio to 40 or even 50 per cent of the total. And as it pushes ahead with its transformation strategy, Nippon Express is already well on the way to be- coming a “truly global logistics company.”
30 years of Japanese service in the transport and logistics sector means
exceeding our own targets and expectations of our customers in order to
lead the success of our customers’ vision together.
As a special Japanese expression of personal appreciation to anchor values,
traditions and an innovative corporate culture in the focus of the objectives
and visions for the future sustainably with a lasting memorial value,
Nippon Express Switzerland is pround to celebrate it’s 30th anniversary on the 23rd of June 2017 !
The President of Nippon Express Switzerland, in this function the first non-Japanese Managing Director of Nippon Express in Europe, has joined the company in September 2014.
With his back-ground in International Airfreight, he has been dedicating more than 30 years during his carrier to airline companies, with 11 years of experience in countries abroad, namely Ireland, Abu Dhabi, France and Italy. In the last fifteen years to logistics companies in Switzerland.
His experience with Nippon Express has been very stimulating, a global logistics company with more than 60’000 employees, born in Japan and which has been established in Switzerland for 30 years. With a very high level of quality in operations and profound expertise in domestic and international transportation as well as logistics services, the company can count on a solid and loyal customer base. It has reached in the 3 years a majurity in customer service and commercial activities.
To become recognized as a true global player – this is the big challenge for the company and there is still “a long way to go”.
How did you experience your first 3 years with the company ?
It has been a challenge. When I joined Nippon Express, I did find a high level of operational expertise with a notion attached to details and perfectionism, somehow similar to what the Swiss mentality represents. The result is a perfectly working operation, not only in Switzerland but globally.
The sales side was somewhat “underdeveloped” since the main business “rested” on loyal multi-national accounts with a focus on Japan. To develop the commercial spirit and bring a professional sales approach into the company was one of my main challenges. Also, to create clear and transparent structures, competences and responsibilities within the organization.
Thanks you an excellent, young and motivated team, we have been very successfull with implementing the changes. I also realized that the Japanese culture, as different as it might appear to the Swiss mentality, works very well together and is in may fields “complentary”.
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Nippon Express has a particular working philosophy ...
The company is closely linked to exclusivity, quality and rigorous commitment to compliance. It's in our DNA. The development the of quality in the service and the delivery of impeccable execution which our customers experience in Japan is well implemented and now it is the question of replicating this service to the rest of the world.
In our Product Portfolio we offer conventional air, sea and land transport services, as well as specialized logistics services, brokerage services, warehousing and distribution services as well as special projects.
What is the size and areas of action of Nippon Express today?
We operate own offices in Bassersdorf and Geneva.
Our biggest operation is in Bassersdorf, close to Zürich Airport, where the headoffice of Nippon Express Switzerland is located and where we operate an own warehouse of approx 750m2 in size (security warehouse) for commercial cargo and removal goods. With our own trucks, Nippon Express drivers and handling staff, we are in a position to take care of the physical cargo flow “in our own hands” , we are not dependant on 3rd party agents.
In Geneva we are located in the Geneva Cargo Terminal with our own offices and staff. In addition, in Geneva we operate 2 separate bonded warehouses (approx 250m2 in size)
Currently, we employ 28 staff plus several “part-timers”.
The forwarding and logistics industry is very competitive. How do you experience this situation with Nippon Express.
Indeed, some national and global logistics companies are struggling with profitability, cash-flow and sometimes are fighting for their survival. We are in the fortunate position that Nippon Express is in a very healthy financial situation and the company delivers year of year high and higher profits. Also from this point of new, Nippon Express is probably one of the positively “outstanding” examples.
Are there expansion plans in our country?
A company like Nippon Express is always considering possibilities to expand. As a matter of fact we have experienced an average “generic” growth of more than 20% in the recent years. In Switzerland, the transportation and logistics industry is highly developed and competitive. Our main ingredients for success are innovative solutions, personalized service, flexibility and operational excellence.
In future, we are not closed to expand and open more branches and we are very open for investments which are compatible and allow us to grow further in Switzerland.
Nippon Express Switzerland is looking into a very prosperous future !
Every year, the “guilds” of Zürich are celebrating the end of Winter season in form of a big parade with the highlight of burning at the end of the parade a snowman called “Böögg”. The event is called “Sechseläuten” (“six o’clock ringing of the bells”).
On the sunday afternoon, a children’s parade takes place which is organized by the city of Zürich. Traditionally, also the Japanese school of Switzerland in Uster participates with a beautifully decorated coach. The principal of the school with all the Japanese teachers prepare and decorate the coach reflecting the Japanese culture. They all join the parade together with their Japanese students and their parents. Every year this is a great event which demonstrates the a successfull lcombination of two so different cultures between Zürich and Japan.
In line with our strategy of Corporate Social Responsibility and specifically also forstering cultural activities, Nippon Express Switzerland is proud to be able to support the Japanese School in Switzerland every year with logistics support to this event .
History of the Sechseläuten
The roots of the festival go back to medieval times when the first day of summer working hours was celebrated by the “guilds” (Zünfte) across the city. The working hours were strictly regulated to the length of the working day in the middle ages. During the winter semester the workday in all workshops lasted as long as there was daylight, but during the summer semester the law proclaimed that work must cease when the church bells tolled at six o'clock. Changing to summer working hours was traditionally a joyous occasion because it marked the beginning of the season where people had non-working hours during daylight.
Burning of scary-looking ragdolls (“bogey” or “Böögg”) was know in the 18th and 19th century as a ceremony of the end of winter (“burning the spirits of winter”). The combination of the “Sechseläuten” and the burning of official “Böögg” was introduced in Zürich in 2902.