"I don't think about it alone" Corona's bruise “Bobsleigh method” July 13 19:45

The Corona Shock has severely hit various companies, from large companies to individually run shops. "Zero orders" "90% reduction in sales"-I hear from many managers that it was a crisis situation that I have never experienced. What are you doing at the town factory you once interviewed? I contacted them to find out. The situation was still tough, but he was looking straight ahead. I think we can find hints to survive the post-corona. Immediately headed to the site. (Tomoyuki Mineta, Reporter, Ministry of Economic Affairs)

Town factory plight

Ota Ward is home to thousands of factories, including parts manufacturers and metal processing manufacturers. It is one of Japan's leading town factories.

I visited "Showa Seisakusho". A small business with about 40 employees. It manufactures the parts that automobile manufacturers need to develop new cars.

President Toshikazu Funakubo (40) said of the direct hit of the corona shock.

President Funakubo
"The impact began to appear in the middle of March, and I was in a depression that was unprecedented. I felt "this is bad". I want to recover as soon as possible."

Since the emergence of an emergency in April due to the spread of corona infections, the development of cars by major manufacturers has also stagnated. Showa Seisakusho's orders for May dropped by 60%.

However, the expression of President Funakubo was never dark, despite the difficult management. Why can you look forward? When I asked why, Funakubo-san repeatedly said this word.
"One company doesn't think about it"

Demonstrate great power when gathered

I got to know President Funakubo six years ago. It was when I interviewed "Shitamachi Bobsleigh," a project that developed a bobsled sled for the Olympics in order to convey the technological strength of the town factory to the world. President Funakubo was one of the main members of the project.

Bobsleigh is also called F1 on ice. It is said that famous car manufacturers such as BMW in Germany also participated in the development, and the performance of the sled will make a difference.

Cutting, welding, sheet metal, polishing... The skills of skilled workers in Ota Ward were brought together to create an Olympic-level sled. One company never thought, and when they hit the wall, they help each other and overcome the challenges.

Nowadays, there is a wall called Corona Shock that has no experience in front of President Funakubo, but he says that the mutual help of the downtown bobsleigh type is exerting its power.

President Funakubo
Each one is a small company, but I have experienced and embodied in Shitamachi Bobsleigh that I will show great power when I gather. There is no other person. I hope that I can reduce the negatives of other companies. I would like to cooperate with it even a little."

All are temporary salesmen

One of those sites was introduced by President Funakubo.

We went to a plastic parts manufacturer with eight employees. Orders received from suppliers decreased by more than 30% as of April. The future was never bright.

I want to protect my employment... The maker's president created a "transparent panel for preventing splashes" in order to compensate for the drop in sales.

The downtown bobsled ceremony comes into play from here. President Funakubo, who heard that his colleagues made a panel, immediately purchased the product. I set it up at the reception of my company and took a picture with a smartphone. I advertised to people who are connected through my own SNS, "I am doing a great job."

Introduced panels and won orders in business talks with business partners. Became a temporary salesman.

The local Shinkin Bank also received orders for "I want to put it at the reception counter," and the company's sales increased by about 4 million yen.

President Kurihara
"Introduced me even though it was not my company's product. I was able to meet new customers. Ota Ward is grateful in a region with strong horizontal connections."

Bobsleigh method to spread

Bobsleigh-type mutual assistance goes beyond the town factory. In April, when a nearby Japanese restaurant called for refraining from evening sales, sales dropped sharply. Including the affiliated stores, sales fell by almost 70%.

"I've started to take out!"
One day, a message came in from the owner of this store on the line of President Funakubo.

After reading the store's troubles, President Funakubo rushed to buy a bento and acted as an employee of his company. Other than the president, Funakubo, the management associates who knew the circumstances of this store connected word-of-mouth communication to their associates and their friends.

After a while, in addition to regular customers, “first-time customers” began to visit the stores that they operated, and sales in June recovered to the same level as the previous year.

President Yamashita
"I got a lot of reservations from people I didn't know. Thank you."

The bobsled kyosuke has spread to local liquor stores that sell beer to Japanese restaurants. There was a call for support to "buy for home" the large amount of beer that had become inventories due to the refraining from sales at wholesalers.

Owner of a liquor store
"I thought people were so warm. I thought I'd try harder."

Independent town factory

The unprecedented pinch of corona shock is a circle of mutual assistance that "does not think alone". Not only defending but also trying to exert power in the offensive phase.

President Funakubo is now thinking of bringing together the skilled skills of his colleagues to create a certain device. With the spread of telework, more time is spent at home.

We are finding new needs for cookware for such people. It is not possible to explain the details in the plan, but he says he is aiming for low-cost production while getting the wisdom of his colleagues.

Outside the town factory, we will also set up a base so that we can interact and cooperate with companies of different industries and venture companies. Taking advantage of the corona, we aim to become an independent town factory that goes beyond "subcontracting of large companies".

Now is the time to borrow and rent soy sauce

President Funakubo
"It's like lending and borrowing soy sauce."

It is the words of President Funakubo that left an impression on me.

Can you lend me some soy sauce? Good! Then, in the Showa era, there was a time when I rented and borrowed Yu that would be next to each other. It's almost unheard of today, but it is said that this town factory is the source of the bottom power exerted in downtown Bobsleigh.

The new coronavirus may change the things, services, working styles, and values ​​that are needed.

Large-scale natural disasters continue almost every year. President Funakubo has never been optimistic.

President Funakubo
"It will take some time for the orders to return to their original levels. We must be prepared to continue reducing sales."

The era of unfamiliar fumbling. However, I feel that the appearance of the mutual assistance of the town factory, which I saw in the interview, is a hint to survive in difficult times.

Tomoyuki Mineta, Reporter, Ministry of Economics
Joined in 2009
After working at Toyama and Nagoya stations,
currently in charge of the financial industry