Yoshihiro Kaneda, chairman of Sunstar Group shares his insights and strategies with Synergy Media Specialists.
Sunstar believes that to be truly healthy in body and mind, we must take care of ourselves holistically. How is Sunstar positioned to take advantage of the global health movement that we are seeing today?
I believe Sunstar is well positioned to join this global health movement. In fact, we have been part of it for many years now, even when it wasn’t trendy to be healthy. For instance, our corporate motto encourages us to “Always strive to help people everywhere achieve better health and enhance their quality of life,” and it dates back to 1962. In our founding family, the Kaneda family, we soon understood the whole body was connected, and, as a result, we supported research to learn how oral health is related to the general health, for instance. Therefore, we do believe that taking care of ourselves holistically is the best way to achieve real overall well-being.
Consequently, we offer a wide range of products that serve our needs and help us to be healthier from all perspectives. Spanning from oral care to environmental safety, all our products have a strong body of evidence behind and are designed to improve our quality of life. In addition, one of the main reasons why I say Sunstar is a crucial player in this health movement we are witnessing is the value we give to education and research. During all these years we have not only developed high-quality products, but also contributed to improving oral health awareness among the population as well as promoted research to help our society move forward to a healthier future.
How well suited are Switzerland and Japan in terms of the two countries efforts to strengthen their economic ties?
Both countries are ready to strengthen their economic ties. Traditionally, Switzerland has been one of the most attractive business hubs, and it provides a precious international atmosphere; we have been based in Switzerland for fifteen years now, and the country has offered everything we needed to continue with our internationalization process. Besides, we are located in the Vaud region, an area where innovation and cutting-edge technologies are part of the environment, which is the perfect scenario for a multinational company to grow and expand its businesses. On the other hand, if we pay attention to Japan, it is true that we have seen an impressive evolution in a very short time; the country has gradually opened to international business, and it is becoming one of the most attractive markets for external investors. On top of that, the Japanese sense of loyalty helps foreign companies that understand the culture to establish more solidly.
Definitely, we have integrated many from the Swiss and Western culture that, mixed with our Japanese background, has helped Sunstar to create a unique way of being. As we have mastered in several different fields, we promote a cross-sectional approach to innovation in our company. This, for instance, allows us to apply the latest techniques from engineering to R&D (research and development), or the industrial vision to the development of new consumer-focused products. We did it since the beginning of our history; for example, we would utilize the similar manufacturing technology (tubes filled with glue) but for an entirely different and innovative idea: a “state of the art” toothpaste that would fill the aluminium tubes.
What is the next step for Sunstar in terms of growth in 2019?
Our main objectives for 2019 are strengthening our presence in Europe and Japan and increasing our developing markets. Our business plans, of course, depend on the business sector, but in general they will incorporate our efforts toward solutions related to oral health and its connection with general health, health promotion considering the differences in our life stages and indoor air quality improvement. In our strategy, we will leverage some of our recent achievements — our construction sealer has been selected by several facilities associated with a major sports event in Japan on the basis of a high degree of trust, and we are successfully launching the GUM brand in the Swiss market. As a long-term vision, we see ourselves helping to extend people’s healthy life span and improving their quality of life by continuing to develop products and services that promote general health based on a holistic health care approach.