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Nissui`s new food service dept head sees growth with new territories

April 7, 2008

Eiichiro Yamamoto, who has just been appointed as general manager of food service product department, has both managed food service product sales force and product development at Nissui. When asked if he has tough responsibilities amid a harsh business environment, he denied the notion in no time and explained how he will cope with the market.

Suisan Times: Sales for food service have been suffering, with a negative impact with Chinese-food scare.

President: Eiichiro Yamahashi

Eiichiro Yamahashi, General Manger, Food service Product Department: Not really. I visit branches nationwide on a regularly basis but I could say general morale of sales staff is high. I don`t deny the fact that our business is affected by high raw material costs and Chinese-made foodstuffs. That`s more reason to promote how safe Nissui`s food service products are. Market condition is tough, but we consider the situation favorable chance and we are putting up a strong battle. In fact, our sales of cooked products in February and March grew by 5 to 6 percent compared to a year before.

ST: How will you strengthen your department?

EY: Our top priority and first job to make a dent in is building a strong food service brand. We would like to market attractive products that everybody recognizes and have a presence.

ST: What`s your concrete image?

EY: When asked what Nissui`s food service products are like, I believe we need to offer more attractive products that five or six out of ten people can recognize and appreciate, although we have signature products, such as crab cream croquette, deep-fried white-meat fish and fried oyster. For that purpose we need to utilize clients` ideas and opinions to develop better products from market demand perspective.

ST: You`re the right person as you are well-acquainted with both headquarters’ and sales forces` standpoints.

EY: I have managed both food service product development department and food service sales force and that is my strength. A key success factor of food service department is communication with clients, in parallel with development of product capabilities. Since I am provided with new opportunities, I will try to invade a new territory no one has dealt with and create innovative products.

ST: What`s your challenge besides brand building?

EY: Nissui`s food service department is somewhat contented as we have a wide variety of items, ranging from seafood, ready-meals and agricultural products so that sales staff are able to offer different sales presentations, but it creates an adverse affect because sales can`t concentrate on certain areas. Therefore, my responsibility is setting priorities and serves as a traffic cop to direct sales to appropriate sections.

ST: Raw material procurement is becoming tight.

EY: We have strong sourcing and fear less on securement but still supply quantity is limited. So increasing value-added products is important. Otherwise raw materials will be taken by other departments in the group companies.

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