Interview November 2012

Takahisa Kashiyama

Takahisa Kashiyama, director of OOCL Logistics (Japan) Ltd,

OOCL Logistics (Japan) Ltd

As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Orient Overseas (International) Limited (OOIL), OOCL Logistics Limited is one of the world’s largest integrated international container transport, logistics and terminal firms.

BCCJ ACUMEN spoke to Takahisa Kashiyama, director of OOCL Logistics (Japan) Ltd, about the global brand’s fully integrated logistics and containerised transport services.

What is OOCL’s approach to the logistics business?
Our services are designed specifically to fulfil the requirements of each client. To this end, we are constantly educating our employees about not only technical logistics elements, but also theoretical supply chain management. This ensures that we fully understand each client’s needs and their expectations of our services.

How do your services differ from those of Japanese logistics and supply chain firms?
We are asset-light and very flexible in our pricing, which enables us to better meet our clients’ needs. Some customers may ask for high-quality services with advanced IT systems or exclusively designed operational facilities. Others, however, may request much simpler or standardised services, such as carton picking. We are able to meet the needs of every customer.

Our organisation has minimum management and administrative manpower. Thus, all members of management have a hands-on approach to providing solutions for our clients.

What is the state of the logistics market in Japan?
Some companies seem to be aggressive in the area of mergers and acquisitions, and are enjoying economies of scale. However, because historically Japan’s third-party logistics market is extremely segmented, while we are not against the idea of consolidating operational functions to better serve our clients, we do believe targeting and return on investment analysis should be undertaken with extra care.

What changes have you seen in customer demand since the Great East Japan Earthquake?
Our retail clients have increased their sales volume because of the need to re-establish the affected area. Some companies have based their headquarters in the Tohoku area and we are impressed by their exhaustive restoration efforts.

At the same time, because of the logistics needs of the affected area, we continue to face a shortage of both infrastructure capacity and means of transport, such as warehouses and trucks.

What is the future of the logistics and supply chain market in Japan?
The country has an ageing population and a diminishing number of children. Thus, we must accept that the economic situation will alter drastically within a few decades, and must adjust.

From an industrial perspective, convergence may occur and we will have to survive as best we can in the new environment.

Because of production shortages, Japan may start accepting more immigrants, especially from nearby Asian countries. This may attract more foreign firms, especially retailers, to the Japanese market.

What is important for foreign firms coming to Japan?
The ability to understand the language and cultural differences. In recent years, Japan has been said to be experiencing the Galapagos effect, meaning that the market and culture of Japan are different from those of other countries.

What logistics features do you provide that may be particular to Japan?
Our public transport system, especially in cities, is very advanced compared with that of other Asian countries. In addition, the logistics infrastructures are quite mature and have a long history.

Road transport usually costs the most, but is on a par with the cost of rail and ocean transport. However, road transport is the most flexible method for moving goods.

What is your customer focus?
We welcome customers from around the world, and specialise in retail for domestic warehousing and transport services, as well as manufacturing and retail for international supply chain management services.

How do your value added services benefit customers?
Our competitively priced podium system provides visibility to our clients. This cloud system allows operations to start immediately, once passwords and IDs have been issued, obviating the need for cumbersome system investment.

In addition, our logistics service centre in Shanghai has over 20 Chinese-Japanese-English trilingual resources that provide clients with specific customer services at competitive prices.

How do you solve cost saving, over-stocking and miscommunication issues?
We believe that the most effective problem-solving approach to any supply chain issue is to provide visibility throughout the value chain stream, from beginning to end.

In addition, to make the value chain stream tangible for customers, we often implement our Cost-Plus pricing approach to show clients our base costs.

We always try to take a cross-functional approach to supply chain issues, working together with the client’s management and logistics officers, as well as their sales and merchandising personnel. This gives visibility to issues that should be shared.