100 Next-Era CEOs in Asia 2014 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

Neuron Japan Co.

CEO Shinichi Iwamoto

1960
Birthplace
Osaka
Message to young people
Japan is currently living off the "leftovers" from the time of the country’s high growth period. The high-quality lifestyle we are now living in was won by our ancestors through their sweat, hard work and wisdom. We take this rich environment we have inherited for granted, but the time has come where it is no longer possible to continue doing so. We need to be aware of Japan's strengths and weaknesses and increase our power. In order to do so, we have to think about what we can contribute and what we would like to leave behind to move forward together!

I was the eldest of three children and we grew up in Higashi-Osaka, which is known as an iron works town. Both my parents were working, making me a latchkey kid. I was just like any other mischievous boy, but because I was asthmatic I did not participate in many sports events at school. I was constantly injured and sick, too. I was quite serious in high school, but started going out more when I was in university, so much so that I became known as "fun-loving Shin." In my last year, I studied abroad in San Francisco and my dorm had people from different countries, so it was good exposure to foreign cultures. After I graduated, I started working for a machine trading company in Tokyo. I visited different factories and discovered that companies making good profits always had clean, well-organized factories. I learned that keeping a factory organized leads to a higher profit and customer satisfaction and that is what I have tried to incorporate into my business.

In 1989, my brother and I joined our father’s company. I was the second generation, so I constantly felt the need to work hard to prove myself. At that time, organizing the factory and cleaning the exterior was a low priority, to the point where it was almost neglected. It was far from being the clean, well-organized factory I wanted it to be. There were times when I was not taken seriously by the staff around me when I told them that to convince our customers to view our products seriously, we must start by presenting a clean appearance. A few years later, my father collapsed from heart attack and I took over the company. In 2000, I became chairman.

In 1996, we decided to move the factory to a new location as part of my effort to create a "clean iron factory." However, we encountered a major problem. The molding machine, the main machine in our factory, could not be moved. It’s a special machine created for a niche industry and there are no longer any engineers who can build them. We had to quickly design a new molding machine and build it. Failing to do so would have been like stopping the heart of the factory, so we had to be meticulous in our design. That was truly a difficult time, but the machine that our staff built together ended up becoming a key factor in improving our performance.

I will further research the two main issues related to metal; "fatigue" and "corrosion." I will install the latest computers and improve the technology to analyze metal fatigue and calculate metal’s strength. Instead of expanding the company as my ultimate goal, I would rather ensure there are capable people left behind in this country.

Company Profile

Name
Neuron Japan Co.
Headquarters
Kyoto
1973
employees
32
business
Design, manufacturing and research of expansion joints
url
http://www.neuron.ne.jp/