GeoConnexion talks to Myzox President, Hiroki Mizoguchi, to find out how Japan’s leading provider of survey accessories is measuring-up to modern-day challenges
GeoConnexion (GEO): Established in the 1950s, the company has established itself as Japan’s leading manufacturer and supplier of survey instruments and a major player in the Asian market. And with a global sales network in more than 50 countries, exports to wider markets are presumably now fundamental to the company’s continuing success. If so, where are you currently concentrating your sales and marketing efforts?
Hiroki Mizoguchi (HM): Currently, our international sales are focussed on emerging nations in South East Asia, West Asia, and the Middle East. That said, we will be expanding sales to the European market from the latter half of 2020, with new products to be released in the coming months. We will simultaneously be developing new products to meet the needs of this market. Needless to say, we will be conducting sales promotion activities that match the requirements of customers in all markets, using our brand power and distribution arrangements to satisfy continuing needs in our main Asian markets.
GEO: The company places much emphasis on the culture of Monozukuri. Can you explain the thinking behind this?
HM: Monozukuri is a Japanese way of thinking and acting that places emphasis on high quality at each and every point. We apply it to the development, manufacture and supply of all our products, attaching equal importance to the need for high quality in accuracy of measurement, ease of use and durability.
As surveying technologies evolve in areas such as GNSS, scanners and drones, so do customer needs for easier ways of on-site working. Much of our reputation is built on studying such needs in detail and incorporating practical answers in our development of new and improved products.
GEO: What recent developments/improvements have been taking place in your design and manufacturing operation?
HM: In Japan and some other developed countries, the workforce engaged in surveying and civil engineering is both ageing and declining in numbers. Yet labour costs continue to rise. To address this problem, our design and manufacturing operation is geared to delivering solutions to customers that offer labour-saving and efficiency improvements.
GEO: How is Myzox adapting its product offering to the ever-changing role of surveyors?
HM: With our wide range of connections, from manufacturers to end users, and from dealers to consultants, we develop and adapt products that keep pace with changing working methods. Our marketing teams visit surveying and civil engineering sites on a regular basis and keep up-to-date with the latest trends at trade exhibitions and by participating in workshops conducted by partner surveying instrument manufacturers and dealers.
GEO: The Myzox product catalogue now lists some 4,300 analogue and digital instruments and accessories and is regarded by many as essential reading. Can you say something about this?
HM: In printing and distributing 100,000 copies a year, it serves as an information source to the industry on new and improved products. The number of brands and manufacturers we handle now exceeds 250, and this number is increasing annually.
GEO: Having recently entered the drone market, how do you see this evolving? And do you see scope for offering complete drone solutions, including airframes?
HM: We certainly see aerial surveying that employs UAVs for data capture as a growth market, particularly where it complements conventional ground-based surveying and measurement. We entered into an agreement with Amuse Oneself Inc. for its TDOT Series drone LiDAR system. This was the first company to commercialise green laser LiDAR … a development that overcomes past challenges with its ability to measure rivers and coastlines. We are currently introducing
While we have no plans to manufacture drones or LiDAR systems ourselves, we will be active, in partnership with companies such DJI and Amuse Oneself Inc., in promoting their benefits to a wide audience in Japan and abroad.
GEO: Myzox has traditionally concentrated on the needs of field surveyors for conventional measurement instruments. Do you see potential for offering more complex systems such as mobile mappers, Total Stations and/or GNSS receivers?
HM: Again, while not manufacturing such equipment ourselves, we will be working with companies that do to offer peripheral equipment and added-value Myzox products and services. These will add to our strength as a top brand supplier of surveying accessories and measuring tools for the construction and civil engineering sectors.
GEO: The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly had a major impact on business. Do you have a recovery plan in place? And what do you see as the major challenge going forward?
HM: COVID-19 has had a big impact on sales but has, on the other hand, granted us extra time to focus on developing new products. Industries in all countries have been affected and there can be no question that economies are stagnant, but we are planning ahead so that we can make a difference when this difficult situation comes to an end. When it does, we will be in a position to help economies and employment recover. Doing our best at this moment puts us in the best place for the next moment.