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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Anest Iwata is seeking to start a new business in an area different from its existing business that has been in existence for more than 90 years|Anest Iwata's Challenge for Open Innovation

Founded in 1926, Anest Iwata has been a leader in Japanese coating machinery and air compressors for over 90 years. The company has developed several world-first products and continues to grow into a corporation with offices in more than 20 countries, over 1,700 employees, and 35 group companies. The company has decided to introduce an accelerator program for the first time. What was the thought behind this decision? We interviewed Mr. Kenichi Osawa, Senior Executive Officer, and Mr. Eisuke Miyoshi, Executive Officer.

Strengths in manufacturing products used in all industries for over 90 years

Anest Iwata's Open Innovation Challenge

-Anest Iwata continues to contribute to all industries with its coating equipment and air compressors, but can you tell us again about your history and strengths?

Osawa:Our company was founded in 1926. Three years had passed since the Great Kanto Earthquake, and the year the country's era changed from Taisho to Showa. At that time, Japan did not have manufacturers such as Toyota and Nissan, and automobiles were imported from overseas.

Anest Iwata's Open Innovation Challenge
Kenichi Osawa, Senior Executive Officer, Anest Iwata

Among the tools was a spray gun for applying paint when repairing automobiles, and the founder took note of this. The founder of Anest Iwata (Iwata Seisakusho at that time) was born with the idea of creating Japan's first domestically produced spray gun.

Currently, we have a domestic market share of over 70% for spray guns, and our electrostatic spray guns and robot systems for rotary coating contribute to the coating of various areas such as home appliances, automobiles, construction, and aircraft.

Anest Iwata's Open Innovation Challenge

Miyoshi:Other hydraulic equipment is used for all liquids except paint. For example, they are used to apply adhesives for automobile interiors and edible oils in food factories. Another business is the compressor business, which accounts for about 30% of the domestic market share for small compressors. These compressors are used in the automobile, food, and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries, as well as in air for medical treatment equipment in hospitals, and in brake and door opening/closing systems for railroads and electric buses.

And the Vacuum Equipment Business, which pioneered the air-cooled oil-free scroll vacuum pump. They are used in a wide range of applications from research facilities to production sites, including semiconductors, flat panel displays, advanced technology facilities, adsorption transport, vacuum packaging of food, vacuum insulation thermos bottles, and more.

Developing these businessesAnest Iwata's strengths are its advanced technological capabilities and market share cultivated over more than 90 years, global bases in more than 20 countries, and its sales and service network.Spray guns have been used in many industries over the years. In particular, spray guns are indispensable for "products coated with paint" that exist in the world, and have been supported by all industries through repeated version upgrades over a long history.

A sense of crisis that existing businesses alone will not be able to stand on their own

-What was behind your decision to introduce the Accelerator Program this time?

Miyoshi:Simply put, we had a strong sense of crisis that there was a limit to our ability to continue to grow with our existing businesses alone.

Osawa:We have been in the coating equipment and compressor business for over 90 years, but the world has changed remarkably, and the environment surrounding coating equipment and compressors has also changed dramatically. Paint, which is an organic solvent, is neither friendly to the painters nor to the atmosphere, and compressors use electrical energy, which causes CO2This is because they exhaust the

Of course, we have continued our efforts to reduce the environmental impact of all our business activities, including energy conservation, noise, vibration, odor, and water quality.2It is undeniable that there is an element of conflict with the "reduction of

Miyoshi:And even though we make products that boast the top market share in Japan, if fewer people use our products due to the declining population, the market is certain to shrink accordingly. No matter how much we improve our existing business, there is a possibility that the younger generation will no longer choose painting as a profession, and painting itself may change to something completely different.

Anest Iwata's Open Innovation Challenge
Eisuke Miyoshi, Executive Officer, Anest Iwata

Because of this sense of crisis, we are working on research to explore the possibility of painting by drone, developing environmentally friendly chemicals, and ergonomics to make our products easier to use, but we don't think that is enough. We want to make it happen,Go beyond existing frameworks, approach environmental and social issues from a completely different angle, and create business pillars in new areas.Things to do.

However, there was a limit to how far we could go in generating ideas within the company. Instead of creating new businesses based on "enclave" ideas, we had been creating new products as extensions of existing businesses, such as spray guns and compressors, and we could not come up with new ideas on our own.

So, through the accelerator program, we don't haveWe would like to let young members know "new ideas and ways of thinking of startups" and link them to new businesses in the future. We want to increase the number of young people with an entrepreneurial spirit in Anest Iwata through collaboration with startups.I thought about it.

Anest Iwata's Open Innovation Challenge

We are not thinking about revenue right now. We would like to consider an area completely different from our existing business.

-I think you want to challenge a completely new area, rather than synergizing with existing businesses.

Osawa:We believe that it is fine to operate completely "off the beaten path". For example, we have no idea what approaches we alone can take to the social issue of "eliminating poverty. Similarly, we cannot imagine what approaches we can take to problems in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.

That kind of thing,We would like to consider new businesses in areas that we in the manufacturing industry have not thought of, so we would appreciate a wide range of startups applying for the position.I believe that this is a good idea.

-When it is a new business in an enclave, it may be difficult to gain the understanding of top management for reasons such as not affecting market capitalization.

Osawa:Of course, if it is too far off the beaten path, it may take time for people to understand it, but an idea that creates new value cannot be explained from the start by embodying its potential and future earnings. That is where we believe we have to do our best.

Besides, with this initiative.Rather than wanting to create a "profitable business right now," they want to create a corporate culture where new ideas are used to create new businessI guess so.

The best way to create that corporate culture is to come into direct contact with entrepreneurs and start-ups who are actually launching businesses with new ideas. We want to change the company, even if only gradually, by having our young members be stimulated by start-ups who are half a step or one step ahead of them, and by having their ideas become richer. That's why,I'd be happy for startups to hit us with any ideas they have!It is.

We are willing to use as many assets as we can, including the technological, financial, and human resources we have developed over the past 90 years, as well as our global bases and sales channels in more than 20 countries.On the basis of using them,Businesses that are completely unrelated to existing businesses and can solve environmental or social problemsWe hope to collaborate to create a

Anest Iwata, which boasts the second largest market share in the world for spray guns, is recruiting startup companies for co-creation! |Anest Iwata Accelerator 2020
writing (e.g. as a profession)
Tomomi Tamura 
He joined Snow Brand Milk Industry in 2000. He then worked for an advertising agency and as a sole proprietor before joining BizReach in 2012. Engaged in content creation, he joined NewsPicks in 2016 as an editor on the BrandDesign team, and is now a freelance writer and editor.
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