A Japanese manufacturer of plastic drainage fittings and drain traps is looking for partners in the EU, especially in Germany and Italy. They wish to engage in license and manufacturing agreements. The drainage parts offered by the company aim to achieve high customer satisfaction and durability in a market where most competitors’ main focus is to cut costs. They wish to pro-actively work with EU partners and offer a high-end alternative in a stagnant market.
This Japanese company is the only company in Japan that specializes in the detailed manufacturing and selling of plastic drainage fittings and drain traps. They sell these products to Japanese kitchen, bathroom, and wash basin manufacturers. The company has their own R&D facility on its premises, allowing them to integrate the manufacturing process with design, production and sales. This tactic has resulted in an over 50% market share in Japan.
They have a long history with experience dating back to the 1970s. They played a large part in changing domestic kitchen drain traps from cast iron to resin. The wire-type pop-up drain plug they released in 1984 became the standard to replace the conventional rubber plug with chain. Due to its domestic popularity and wide usage this has become the companies’ main product. The company established a sales company in China in 2005 and has ongoing dealings there. In Europe, there were episodic transactions with an Italian company.
In Japan cost-effective and simple drainage fittings are used for inexpensive kitchens and bathtubs, while high-end systems have functionally superior, well-designed drainage parts of the highest quality. European drainage parts are currently almost exclusively designed for the lowest cost. Whether used for high-end home sinks or tubs, or for commercial products bought at home improvement stores, a single-function uniformly designed component is used for the drainage function in Europe.
The Japanese company wants to bring alternatives to the EU that provide added value aside from low cost. For commission manufacturers, they hope to conclude a license agreement resulting in joint development with manufacturers that are manufacturing similar products. In this case the Japanese company will offer their products, or their patented technology and know-how, to the potential partner. The commission manufacturers then commercialize and sell the products. The advantage of this contract would be that the partner does not need to purchase finished products from the Japanese company. The potential partner can then utilize parts the company already owns or manufactures to make the final product. This will result in a lower overall cost.
In the reverse a manufacturing agreement is also possible, where the Japanese company manufacturer’s parts based on the needs of the EU partner. Considering the logistical costs shipping from Japan, ocean shipping by container units’ would be most practical, but the Japanese company is open to the idea of further consultation and discussion with potential partners. The Japanese company is hoping to actively cooperate with potential partners, apart from providing blueprints they are willing to dispatch staff to the EU for hands-on technical training. They also exhibit at a large relevant trade fair in Milan, Italy.
- Specific area of activity of the partner: The Japanese company is seeking for partners in the EU, particularly in Germany and Italy. The reason for focusing on these two countries is because the company feels they have the largest number of potential partners, but the company is happy to consider potential partners from all over the EU.
They are looking for partners who can appreciate the added value of high quality convenient solutions for bathrooms and kitchens, which are not commonly found in the European market. Therefore, it is also preferred for the potential partner to have a good and established network to producers of products that could benefit from these solutions.
The Japanese company has been awarded a prestigious Japanese design award four times. Products awarded with this prize are usually praised for their inventive design that manages to challenge pre-existing norms. For example, one of the technologies produced by the Japanese company is their wire pop-up system. In general, competing products suffer a lack of innovation. Nearly always the same type of rubber plugs, pull-up knobs, click clack plugs, or bar types are used to collect water in kitchen sinks, bathtubs and wash basins.
On the other hand, the Japanese companies’ in-house developed products are easy to install and uninstall, and have passed long-term repeatability tests for quality assurance. In rare cases of damages, the company offers its pop-up system with spare parts for easy replacement and increased economic value.