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  • Negotiations in Turkey made in a whirlwind of four languages

Reason for joining ZEON and the early years

  • Interview photo 1

Driven by the desire to work with diverse people and perspectives, I chose a manufacturer engaged in overseas operations.

It had always been an ambition of mine to work overseas. While many companies are engaged in overseas business today, determining what industries were conducting business between nations used to require research, and during my research I became interested in material manufacturers involved in the international B-to-B market. With so many material customers out there, I thought that working for a research laboratory or the plant of a manufacturer would be a stimulating experience, as it would mean that I'd be interacting with individuals representing a wide range of ideas.
A closer look allowed me to see that material manufacturers were creating unique products for specific niche markets. It was hard to choose from the many companies that boasted being "the world's No. 1" in their sectors, but in the end I chose ZEON because of the outstanding quality of its people and its atmosphere.
At ZEON, administrative employees are often assigned to a plant on their first assignment. I was assigned to the Takaoka Plant in Toyama Prefecture, where I worked in accounting during my first two years at the company. Working for a manufacturer, we have to fully understand the manufacturing environment, which is why the experiences I gained during those two years have provided me with a great advantage in my current position.

Current work

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Selling adhesive tape materials worldwide
Keeping pace with product information, markets and people

In my third year at ZEON, I was transferred to the domestic chemical sales department, and then one year later, in the autumn of 2012, I was assigned to my current post in the overseas sales department.
I deal in adhesive materials used in products such as cellophane tape and pressure-sensitive adhesive tape for tape makers in Turkey, Poland and Taiwan. And I spend about half of each month outside of Japan.
I find there's always so much to learn. Take, for example, pricing. The products I sell are made of a residual component called the C5 fraction, which remains after other major components such as gasoline have been extracted from crude oil. This means that even when product demand remains relatively stable, the price of C5 fractions may fluctuate wildly in line with crude oil demand. It can also mean that a change in demand for gasoline in the U.S. can cause fluctuations in the price, which in turn requires renegotiating the prices with, for example, a Taiwanese tape maker. You can't hold the upper hand in negotiations unless you maintain a broad perspective on the mid- to long-term price outlook.
Since this complex mechanism isn't easy to understand, experience is very important. Naturally, unless you are knowledgeable about the material itself, you won't be able to offer a solution that meets a customer's needs for a less expensive product with stronger adhesive properties. That's why you have to keep on learning every day.
I remember one meeting in Turkey with a local agent who was Italian and the owner of a manufacturing company who was Turkish. Our conversation kept swirling around in English, Italian, Turkish and – for some reason – Spanish. I'm fairly confident about my English, but even so, business negotiations can be tough. Still, as I'm tossed about in the rough seas of global business, I feel that my days are quite fulfilling.

Dreams of the future, life outside my job, and a message

ZEON is a company that allows you to be adventurous.
A place where a significant amount of freedom is given commensurate with capability

I'm still fairly new at ZEON, and so I expect to discover the real excitement and difficulties of sales in the future. My goal at the moment is to achieve solid growth in regard to my current responsibilities.
I think ZEON is a company that allows you to be adventurous. As long as you follow company and department policies, you're free to do things in your way. Of course, you need to be able to show results, but as your skills grow, greater freedom awaits. That's why I'm looking forward to the future.
When seeking a job, people are often told to find work that they want to do. There is a limit, however, to the types of jobs available, and no company will let you solely pursue your own interests in your job. So my advice is not to place too much stock in that idea. Instead, start by finding a workplace that will suit you, and then consider what you'd like to do there. As for ZEON, it's a great workplace for me.

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