THANK YOU Corporation (Hachioji City)
Founded in 1983, THANK YOU Corporation (formerly known as Maruki Unyu) has made great strides in “planning logistics” that gets ahead of client needs. On January 5, 2007, the company set up Hachioji Logistics Center with a site area of 3,835 m2 and a storage area of 6,155 m2, while its headquarters are located in Fuchu. It has grown steadily in spite of the severe economic situation since the collapse of Lehman in 2008. Here is an interview with Mr. Satoru Akiyama, President of THANK YOU Corporation.
Around 10 years after I joined a company headed by my father, Japan was in the middle of the bubble economy, and companies like ours in the logistics industry faced the risk of “bankruptcy in the black”, meaning that we had a tremendous volume of orders that we could not process, while facing a shortage of staff. We could not recruit new staff because the wages in many other industries were higher than in logistics due to the bubble economy.
Around that time, my father resigned as president and handed the business over to my uncle. My uncle had worked in finance, so I took on planning and sales as a senior managing director. To begin with, I attended many distribution seminars. Our company had grown mainly by transit distribution for leading transportation companies in the Santama area, but we could not overcome the staffing shortage. I came up with the idea of joining distribution seminars to learn about the situation and prospects of the industry, our major clients. As a result, I gradually came to understand the product flow from upstream to downstream in industry and the expectations for logistics companies at every stage.
This marked the starting point of our “planning logistics.” First, we launched a business of “cooperative distribution of food products”, which means delivering hundreds of food products of a certain manufacturer to individual supermarkets and retail stores according to their orders at a time. Our expertise in delivering consolidated cargos made the service possible.
Then, in January 2007, we set up the Hachioji Logistics Center in Yarimizu, Hachioji City, featuring various types of warehouses including low-temperature, refrigerated and frozen ones. We have rolled out a variety of services centering on “cooperative distribution of food products.”
External view of Hachioji Logistics Center
Since opening Hachioji Logistics Center, we have added various services to our business. A good example is providing assistance for mail-order companies and Internet retail outlets. In addition to our existing major businesses of handling logistics work for our clients, we offer more tailored contract services. As well as carrying products into and out of storage and product packaging, we handle the processing of orders in call centers, proposals for packages, preparation and printing of direct mail and instruction guidelines supplied with products and taking pictures of products. We can also prepare hand-written letters, take measurements for apparel and even introduce food processing manufacturers to our clients.
Staff of the logistics center taking orders from customers
In fact, we moved to Hachioji 20 years ago. In 1992, we established “Shunokan in Hachioji” (in Utsuki-machi, Hachioji City), a membership-only storage service that changed the image of existing storage places and trunk rooms. It offers popular storage services including “Excellent” class (bookracks) exclusively for books and documents and “Personal” class (containers). In addition to taking all possible measures against dust, insects and mold and a 24-hour security system, the Shunokan has multifunctional rooms including a library, free areas and meeting rooms which users can use creatively. Fortunately, we not only attract personal users but also handle the safekeeping of precious collections of some university libraries in the Santama area.
The Hachioji Logistics Center is in charge of planning logistics, while “Shunokan in Hachioji” is pursuing a way of advanced storage systems and trunk rooms. When we established the large Hachioji Logistics Center, we were helped by two key factors, support from Hachioji City and a pool of talented people. Hachioji City offered us a tax break under an ordinance for supporting active companies, to promote employment in the city. The second factor was without doubt the pool of highly motivated people, which was a decisive factor for us to move into Hachioji. There are many non-profit organizations based in the Santama area, which is evidence of many people with high awareness. In Hachioji Logistics Center, 80 to 90 of about 140 staff working daily are married women part-timers who no longer need to look after their grown-up children, and they are core members of our business. In recent years, residential land development has expanded in the vicinity of Hachioji, so we expect highly motivated people will continue to move into the area, which makes it a suitable location for our business.
External view of "Shunokan in Hachioji"
The library in "Shunokan in Hachioji"
Address: 2-175-1, Yarimizu, Hachioji City, Tokyo
Headquarters: 3-39-1, Shiraitodai, Fuchu City, Tokyo