Supplier profile: SHOWA: “We are simplifying to strengthen”
Showa Best Glove was the result of the successful acquisition in 2007 of Best Manufacturing, founded in 1951, by Showa Glove Japan, which began in 1954. Since then, Showa Best Glove sold exclusively through its worldwide distributor network to end users in every industrial, medical and retail sector.
Now under our new name, SHOWA continues our legacy of innovation to distinguish the company as a global leader in hand protection. With 58 patents owned and more than 100 researchers dedicated to developing new, environmentally sustainable ways to protect hands at work, we continue to be recognized for our portfolio of more than 1,800 specialized gloves for the industrial, professional and homecare categories. And we still remain the only glove company that manufactures nitrile disposable gloves in the United States.
We have eight production facilities around the globe and approximately 4,500 employees. Our investment in research and development speaks to the value we place on innovation-driven excellence, which we manage at every stage of design and production with 100 percent integrated manufacturing.
What has been your company’s business strategy to gain market share?
To deliver innovation, performance, sustainability and precision quality manufacturing that ultimately strengthens our ability to support our global distribution network. That has always been our top priority and this transformation continues our commitment to always provide the highest quality service and leading-edge technology to our customers. We are unique in the industry as we manufacture over 90 percent of the products that we distribute globally and, as a result, we deliver consistent quality by managing the process from end to end.
Also, we work shoulder-to-shoulder with our distributors to offer solution-based options for end-users. We pride ourselves on offering hand protection training, on-site safety evaluations and expert sales professionals based strategically throughout all regions of our distribution.
Describe the core branded products of your company that you promote most heavily.
Two of our most popular sub-brands are ATLAS® and N-DEX®. These product families were revolutionary in the hand protection market. N-DEX was introduced in 1991 as the world’s first disposable nitrile and was patented by Best Manufacturing. ATLAS was introduced in 1994 and was the world’s first seamless liner, flat-dipped glove with a latex palm-coating by Showa Glove. The technology was remarkable at the time of introduction and solidified our company as a global leader in innovative products. Beyond these we offer a full complement of products in chemical protection/liquid proof, cut protection, multi-purpose, sustainability, specialty and disposables across industrial, professional and home care categories.
In 2013 we launched the world’s first biodegradable disposable glove, GREEN-DEX®, with Eco Best Technology®. More recently we added three additional products to round out the family. We now offer a 14", 15MIL unlined (and flock lined) biodegradable nitrile glove and a nylon seamless knit glove with an oil-resistant nitrile coating, which is the world’s first biodegradable multi-purpose glove. SHOWA’s sustainability commitment is part of a long-term strategy to offer our customers options in environmental stewardship.
How do distributors contribute to your success in the marketplace?
By working closely with our sales professionals in the field and utilizing our expertise to secure end-user business. Our partnership with the distribution network is paramount to our overarching sales strategy. Working side by side, we strengthen one another and, as a result, we execute seamless strategies to secure and hold business.
Do you offer distributors training or other value-added services?
SHOWA has a state-of-the-art training facility at our headquarters in Menlo, GA. We schedule regular seminars to keep our partners trained and well-informed of our latest innovations. In addition, we facilitate training sessions at end-user locations, distributor offices and via WebEx. Training, samples and Sentinel Surveys are all part of our value-added services. A Sentinel Survey is a comprehensive analysis of hand protection at the end-user level, addressing safety concerns and improving cost-to-wear ratios. And we have a best-in-class customer service team that fields hundreds of calls daily, further supporting our field efforts.
What business characteristics do you look for when selecting to work with a distributor?
We look for partners that share our vision and our values. It is imperative that our partners are committed to sustainable growth and strategies that exhibit a long-term commitment to the business opportunity. Our passion is based in value, consistent quality and integrity.
Describe your current financial picture.
We are a privately held company based in Himeji, Japan and do not publish our financial results. However, driven by new products, our year-over-year performance since the acquisition in 2007 has exceeded our most ambitious expectations.
What should distributors know about your company’s future, in terms of short- and long-range plans?
We are simplifying to strengthen. Our new name, accompanied by our new brand mark and corporate identity, simplifies the company’s comprehensive hand protection portfolio under one unifying brand to facilitate easier customer ordering, manufacturing and global distribution.
Instead of selling our products all over the world under several brand and product names, we are bringing these offerings together under the SHOWA brand to streamline interaction with our customers and end users. Now they will have simpler, clearer and faster ways to find, specify and use the right protection for the job at hand.
This transformation allows us to continue to focus our energy and time on enhanced hand protection and innovation, particularly in the areas of sustainability and customer-focused and regional R&D.
Innovation, sustainability, integrity and consistent quality are the driving principles that will shape the future of SHOWA.
SHOWA 800-241-0323; www.showagroup.com/global