Success through a unique strategy
In 1964, Mr. Seigo Tohsen established Tohsen Sawmill Company Limited with just one sawmill. His son Seiju Tohsen is the current Managing Director of Tohsen Co., Ltd., and even as a high-schooler assisted his father in managing the young company. The Tohsen Sawmill was a late arrival in an era when the sawmill business in Japan was flourishing, so creativity and effort were needed in order to source enough timber stock. Mr. Tohsen skilfully processed small-diameter and low-quality trees, and made his business profitable from the resulting wood chips and sawdust by-products. This strategy hasn’t changed to this day. In the 1970s, when price-competitive lumber from abroad started to arrive in Japan and put many domestic Japanese producers out of business, the strategy enabled Tohsen to survive and grow. Through mergers and alliances with struggling sawmills and other firms in the region, Tohsen developed its own business model. Smaller local factories do the parts of lumber production where they have special capabilities, and supply their semifinished products to Tohsen for further processing. This minimizes logistics costs, while securing a stable supply of timber. Tohsen also invested in kiln drying facilities in order to compete against foreign lumber.