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From Asia to Latin America –
Changing the World with Kubota’s
Construction Machinery

Eriko Ogawa
Group 4, Sales and Marketing Department Construction Machinery Division Kubota Corporation

On experiencing a high regard for things made in Japan in South America

I majored in Spanish at university. While at school, I studied abroad in Peru for a year and had the opportunity to travel around South America. At each place that I visited, I heard many people talk about the high trust they put in Japanese goods. This experience led me to seek a position at a Japanese company manufacturing industrial goods that are loved around the world. From among many such products, construction machinery caught my attention, as I could easily relate construction machinery – playing an essential role in building a city and a nation – to the betterment of people’s lifestyles. I felt a strong sense of empathy with Kubota, as its mission of being of service to society was stated loudly and clearly.
After joining the company, I was assigned to the Construction Machinery Division, as I had hoped. I have been involved in the sale and marketing of construction machinery ever since. The Sales and Marketing Department, Construction Machinery Division, with which I am affiliated, has several groups dedicated to each market, and I had been working on major markets, including those in Japan, North America, and Europe. Now I belong to a team developing new markets beyond the three major markets. My current responsibilities are rather broad, ranging from Asian countries to Latin America and Africa.

The importance of taking action after comprehending the real intent of users

What I find particularly challenging in the Asian market, which is one of our priorities, is that the level of demand maturity differs significantly from country to country, in tandem with the scale and development level of each economy. Take India and Indonesia as examples. These countries are just getting into the full swing of developing social infrastructure and urban foundations. This being the case, what we need to do is to conduct low-profile but constant efforts to create demand, such as increasing recognition of Kubota’s construction machinery and providing local employees with sales and service training opportunities. In China, on the other hand, the market has been formed, and many of our daily activities need to be focused on figuring out how we should compete against other players. In order for us to survive the tough competition against rapid emerging Chinese local manufacturers, we need to come up with an optimal sales strategy by listening carefully to what the market really wants.
Having worked for various markets, I have come to realize the importance of trying to find what is really wanted. When I was in charge of the Chinese market, someone informed me that a need existed for 2-ton machines, which came in between 1.5- ton and 3.5-ton machines in our selection. Because it was a segment that no other competitor was addressing, people in my company were rather skeptical about the information. So, I visited China to hear what our customers had to say about the idea, in order to determine its business feasibility. After the most persistent efforts to find out the real intent of our customers, we were able to conclude that 2-ton machines had a latent market in China. We then explained to relevant departments what our customers were looking for, and we eventually saw the launch of 2-ton machines. I am happy to say that our 2-ton machines have since won favor with many customers in the Chinese market. This experience of thinking over what our customers really wanted helped me to form my basic approach as a Kubota person.

Assisting in the success of the Construction Machinery Conference in Asia – A fulfilling and selfenlightening experience

Dealers and distributors from the Asia-Pacific region at the Construction Machinery Conference in Asia (Eriko Ogawa: the fourth from the right in the back row)

What I find particularly challenging in the Asian market, which is one of our priorities, is that the level of demand maturity differs significantly from country to country, in tandem with the scale and development level of each economy. Take India and Indonesia as examples. These countries are just getting into the full swing of developing social infrastructure and urban foundations. This being the case, what we need to do is to conduct low-profile but constant efforts to create demand, such as increasing recognition of Kubota’s construction machinery and providing local employees with sales and service training opportunities. In China, on the other hand, the market has been formed, and many of our daily activities need to be focused on figuring out how we should compete against other players. In order for us to survive the tough competition against rapid emerging Chinese local manufacturers, we need to come up with an optimal sales strategy by listening carefully to what the market really wants.
Having worked for various markets, I have come to realize the importance of trying to find what is really wanted. When I was in charge of the Chinese market, someone informed me that a need existed for 2-ton machines, which came in between 1.5- ton and 3.5-ton machines in our selection. Because it was a segment that no other competitor was addressing, people in my company were rather skeptical about the information. So, I visited China to hear what our customers had to say about the idea, in order to determine its business feasibility. After the most persistent efforts to find out the real intent of our customers, we were able to conclude that 2-ton machines had a latent market in China. We then explained to relevant departments what our customers were looking for, and we eventually saw the launch of 2-ton machines. I am happy to say that our 2-ton machines have since won favor with many customers in the Chinese market. This experience of thinking over what our customers really wanted helped me to form my basic approach as a Kubota person.

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