100 Next-Era Leaders in Asia 2017-2018 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

Daiwa Corp.

CEO Kazumitsu Sone

Message to young people
Japan is trying hard to excel in the world. I would like you to improve Japan’s position in the world.

I have expanded my company by aggressively renting warehouses and putting customers into them later. I have taken bold measures to achieve the company’s expansion, renting large warehouses before having customers lined up to use them.

We rented a warehouse as big as 10,000 tsubo (about 33,000 sq. meters) before we had secured customers. It was a big challenge and we worked really hard. I battled with other company executives a lot at the time.

The warehouse was especially big for a company of Daiwa Corp.’s size, and it’s rare to rent such a large warehouse before securing tenants.

I want to continue with the expansion strategy and aim to reach annual sales of \20 billion within the next 10 years. We now have about 20 warehouses in Tokyo, Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures.

I also want to tackle the general notion that warehouse operators are passive entities by doing simply what customers ask them to do. Instead, I want to give customers advice to maximize their profits. I just happen to do logistics service, but ultimately I want us to maximize customers’ profit. Because of this, I prefers to call my company a “logistic creator” instead of a warehouse operator.

We are committed to employee training as we have provided workers with training programs, developed and operated by experts, for the past 22 years. Employees go through the program, including discussion sessions over several nights at a hotel and through online learning, with the aim of helping them reach various managerial positions.

It’s not that 10 out of 10 people who take the program show tangible benefits in their daily work. But two or three say they remember what they learned from the program after five or 10 years. Also, we have a sense of bonding after the program, so I believe it pays off.

I began my career as a salaryman at major trading house Marubeni Corp., where I worked for three years after graduating university.

I entered Marubeni in April, and by December of same year, I was ill from overwork and drinking too much. But working for Marubeni made me good at building close relationships with people.

Marubeni offered so much for me to learn as a rookie salaryman, but I knew Daiwa Corp. was my family business and I would have to leave Marubeni to work for my father’s company. So, in 1993 I entered Daiwa Corp., established by my grandfather. I first worked for a warehouse and then as a manager of a sales division. I became an executive officer 15 years ago and assumed my current post in 2011.

One of my mottos is to make dramatic improvement in the quality of work every year. I also want to make Daiwa’s logistic services perfect.

But it does not mean I always aim for 100 percent. I aim for nine wins and six losses every year. Fifteen wins and zero losses would make partner companies and employees suffer. That is not sustainable. I don’t like a management style that aims to just get through the present and not worry about the future.

Company Profile

Daiwa Corp.
Warehouse management