KAI FACT magazine
From steady sales to their own development, KAI leverages the strength of being close to the market and partnering manufacturers.
FACT  No.15

From steady sales to their own development, KAI leverages the strength of being close to the market and partnering manufacturers.

Founded in 2008, “kai R&D (Guangzhou) co.,ltd.” undertakes quality control and development in China and has built a deep relationship of trust with partnering manufacturers. Taking advantage of this knowledge, they aim to facilitate their own product development from Guangzhou in the future. This initiative leads to a direct market voice in China and financial stimulation for the Japanese side. It will be a great asset for the entire group.

Originating from Guangzhou
Releasing new products!

“kai R&D (Guangzhou) co.,ltd.” was established in 2008. Takumi Yamauchi was appointed as General Manager in July 2018. He has a long history of working in KAI’s development field. Usually, product development requests will either come from the product planning department of the headquarters, or the manufacturers. But the team will also actively think and propose projects for themselves. “It’s more fun to think and develop on your own, and it will lead to the future,” says General Manager Yamauchi. Currently, there is a product proposal meeting once every three months, where each employee proposes ideas. “I want to take advantage of being close to the market and directly interacting with partnering manufacturers,” says Yamauchi. Regardless of whether or not it will be commercialized, this continuing effort of proposing new ideas will improve knowledge and the skills of development. “In development, we want to commercialize, starting with one product that originates in Guangzhou,” says Yamauchi. “For quality control, we want to improve management and judgment skills so that we can consult all the Chinese manufacturers on our own.”

Takumi Yamauchi GM/He had been involved in the development of KAI cosmetics for eight years. Yamauchi has worked as general manager of “kai R&D (Guangzhou) co.,ltd.” since July 2018. Although he has been in Guangzhou only for a year and a half, there are many Japanese emigrants, and the city feels comfortable to live in. He likes exercising and recently enjoyed playing futsal and golf.


What was the product design for vegetable knives made in Guangzhou?

The development department’s first knife design in Guangzhou was a vegetable knife with a vegetable motif. The development department was in charge of the design of the blade, which resembled the shape of the vegetable roots. The Guangzhou side proposed the structure of the knife sheath and the structure of the mold. Some of these ideas were adopted. “I had a hard time making a sheath design that was easy to put on and off, but not too easy to be detached,” says General Manager Yamauchi. Since this product was produced by a partnering manufacturer in Guangdong Province, the development department modified and confirmed prototype samples and made adjustments for mass production.

Total length: 11.8 in Weight: 5.8 oz

Total length: 10.6 in Weight: 4.6 oz

Total length: 9.7 in Weight: 2.9 oz

The great importance of visiting partners

Currently, there are about 40 partner manufacturers. “We are carefully choosing manufacturers, each which have development capabilities. Our quality standards are very high for manufacturers who have never worked with Japanese companies before. It is very important to visit these manufacturers since we would like to make sure that their product quality judgement will meet our expectations, which often may not be so easy in the beginning.”

Noboru Hiratsuka PDM
General Manager of Product Development Department. Hiratsuka was recruited locally in November 2017 after working at development departments such as home appliance manufacturers.

Guangzhou | Article List

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