Smoca Dentifrice Co., Ltd.
President & CEO Kazuhito Fujino
- Kanagawa Prefecture
I was born in 1967 as a family member of the founder of Smoca Dentifrice. When I was young, I didn’t study at all and always played outside. I remember I was never a “goody tow-shoes.” When I became a junior high school student, I still didn’t study, but I discovered rugby, which I devoted myself to and where I learned courage, passion and friendship. The experiences are the most precious treasure in my life and are something I can rely on in making decisions to run my company.
After entering university, I was invited by my father to join Smoca Dentifrice as the successor of the family business. My grandfather died when I was a high school student, and since then, a senior manager has been running the company. As he neared retirement, I asked to join when I graduated from university. I gave it some serious thought and decided to enter the company, as I thought it would be a good challenge for my future career. Looking back, I don’t think I thought it through thoroughly.
When I joined the company, it was in chaos. The average age of the staff was over 65, and there were a lot of them who were just listlessly sitting around without spirit or motivation. I worked hard, studied hard, and strived to change the environment on my own. However, my efforts were in vain, as I achieved the opposite effect and increased the debt.
Then, a turnaround came about 15 years ago. I had a chance to meet a famous doctor at a dental university, and he told me, “No matter how good the ingredients in toothpaste are, the efficacy of it is half wasted because it is eventually washed away.” I took the issue back to the company right away to find a solution to the problem. I tried to find a way to retain toothpaste ingredients even after rinsing the mouth. Two years later, we successfully managed to find a way, and proposed it to a marketing company specializing in dental materials. They started manufacturing it right away. Production rose year by year, and our company’s earnings turned around. From this experience, I learned “to sell the efficacy of products,” rather than “selling a product itself.”
When I turned 40, I became the president of our company. I took over the position from my father (the incumbent chairman), who told me that the time was right for me to take over.
Until then, I was focusing on marketing and product development. But after becoming the president, I made up my mind to start learning a lot of things from the beginning, because I now had to be engaged in the company’s overall operation. I started with disposing of bad business inventories and I found that I was responsible for a lot of those businesses, and it made me sad. But I disposed of them anyway, as it needed to be done. This experience made me pledge that I will not fall again.
- Smoca Dentifrice Co., Ltd.
- Osaka Prefecture
- Production, sales, and research and development of cosmetic products, quasi-drug products, and medical equipment