KAI FACT magazine
FACT  No.12

Creating a stir in the industry

Saijiro II inherited the name “Saijiro Endo”. But for the third generation, Koji Endo has still not used the name “Saijiro”. There are reasons for that. The first and the second generations contributed to the local community by serving as chairmen of the Chamber of Commerce in Seki City. However, within the scope of the entire KAI Group, it was necessary to have a global influence — not just a connection with the local people. Also, at the time of his promotion, Koji believed that he had not reached a state to expand regional influence. Saijiro II offered wise words for Koji regarding business management. “Everything has to be done well, while also considering other employees’ feelings. Keep as low a profile as possible for three years after becoming President.” Koji listened to that teaching and did not conduct any major change during his first three years — until 1992.He kept this attitude mainly to observe and grasp the internal culture. That was possible because of the wonderful talents left by previous generations.

Of course, Koji wasn’t just keeping quiet. “KAI-K2”, which was released in 1989, was the one Koji’s creations. This KAI men’s razor product was released for the first time with TVCM. This disposable razor could use up to five of the included blades. While this product was considered a disposable razor, it impacted the industry, because it could use replacement blades as well. At the time, there was tacit understanding between KAI and Feather that KAI produced disposable razors and Feather manufactured cartridge razors. “KAI-K2” blurred the lines between the two. However, KAI expected Feather to develop excellent replacement blade products. KAI did not sell any replacement blades separately and instead focused on disposable razors. Even now, “KAI-K2” has been a longtime seller with many fans.

Around the same time, Koji anticipated the future and asked a consulting firm for a business analysis. Instead of communicating problems with his words, he utilized the KAI Group business analysis. The report was condensed into two volumes, each three centimeters thick. Some problems included a slow growth rate of sales, delays in developing the skills of talented employees, inadequacy of the system, and little promotion of the product image. In 1991, Koji launched a new campaign: NK-G500 (New KAI-Growth towards 50 billion yen in sales). The plan was to address each problem in the analysis. Koji set out to double annual sales in five years — all the way to 50 billion yen. This resulted in a change in the company’s culture. Now, the team sets specific goals when planning for any project. Though he inherited the pioneering spirit of previous generations, Koji paved his own way. He teaches employees the best way to accomplish KAI’s mission of product quality.

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