My main jobs are to supply construction companies with maintenance and reinforcement materials for extending the lifespans of deteriorating highways and tunnels, and to deliver fiber sheets, which are the material used for the rolls at steel mills and in office automation equipment, to our clients who are rubber roll casting manufacturers.
When I am marketing products that I have procured, if I am just delivering a material, that is of no use to a factory. These things can be used only when you first have a shipping certificate, public records, and so on, but there was a time when I caused a major inconvenience in that a factory did not receive the necessary documents due to a mistake on my part. In that instance, I learned first-hand that simply providing materials is not enough, and that I have to work to anticipate the contingencies one-by-one so that the client does not experience any difficulties.
The client was very upset when that happened, but I took steps to rectify the issue immediately afterward. The next time I saw the client, I was really touched when I heard from them that I was doing a good job, and they were in good hands with me.
What appeals to me is that there are people inside and outside the company who will help out when I am having difficulty. In particular, the atmosphere within our company is very friendly, and the environment is such that when you have something you are concerned about, it is easy to get advice. Although everyone has their own work to do, they will kindly listen to your concerns. Also, even the young workers here can be entrusted with major clients, so the environment is one in which you can challenge yourself. That is not to say that everything is left up to you; when you are having trouble, you can have someone give you a hand, so there is a real sense of working as a team.
As it happens, after I joined the company, there was a time when I myself did not have an interest in chemical products. One of my seniors here asked me, "Why did you join a chemical trading company? What was it that interested you?" I gathered that this person had the experience of working in a clothing-related job while on a working holiday, and apparently they ended up working with synthetic fibers after taking an interest in the materials that are used to make clothing. When I thought about the things that I liked, there were materials of some sort that were being used. It was from there that I came to take an interest in this work.
This more experienced employee has a wealth of product knowledge, and sells a lot of them overseas, so they have studied a lot of things. They read reports, then make calls overseas from Japan to make appointments, and also do things like making visits to companies when we are doing business with them for the first time. I respect that proactive approach. On top of that, they regularly mix some humor into our conversations, which makes them really enjoyable. This person is a senior employee I really rely on.
There is another of my seniors here who does their job while laughing along with clients during negotiations. I have thought that I want to work that way, too. I think they are always dealing with a variety of demands, but even in that situation, seeing them convey their own ideas to the client and wrapping up the conversation in the end with a laugh, I felt like I wanted to try to build relationships like that over a long career.
"Making personal connections is a skill that is learned": Thinking about what I can do myself
Being aware of my own standing in the business world
"Lending a hand when someone is having trouble": The real experience of working as a team
An atmosphere where the culture is friendly and communication flows smoothly