Interview with the CEO, Mr. Masahiko Kondo, of Kondo Equipment Co., Ltd,
Kondo Equipment is comprised of a group of plumbing specialists who are based in Kitakami-City, in Iwate Prefecture. In recent years, these specialists have established their own processing center to design and process their own piping units and other products, and have established a total system for delivery and processing from the company to the site. We interviewed Mr. Kondo, the President of the company, who celebrated being in business for 45 years in 2019, about the present, past, and future of Kondo Equipment.
What does Kondo equipment do?
Firstly, my company does "everything”. We are initially a subcontractor of an equipment company. We were a group of plumbing technicians who have been working on a wide range of facilities from air conditioning, plumbing and sanitary facilities, fire extinguishing systems, and plant piping. In 2006, we opened our processing center. In 2010, Takahashi who is a senior management director introduced a 3DCAD system. After that, we established a total system to design and process own prefabricated piping and piping units and deliver and construct them on site. As a result, we expanded the field not only in Iwate prefecture but also throughout the country and we have gone beyond subcontractor companies.
Is it difficult for the equipment industry to overcome subcontracting barriers?
The equipment industry, especially in the Tokyo metropolitan area, is very hard because of the specialization (processing is a done by a processor, installation by an installer, and transport by a transporter). That is why we were able to differentiate ourselves from our competitors by branding the entire process of "drawing, processing, transporting to site, and making" as one package. In rural areas, if you are a plumber and do just one thing, it is unprofitable. There was originally a tendency in rural areas to take on everything in the flow of processing, installation, and transportation. As a result, we were able to establish our own integrated system of design, processing, and installation.
What are the benefits of working for a local equipment company?
At Kondo Equipment, we have an environment that allows us to take on the challenge of various types of work, such as in the processing plant, on-site, and in design. Metropolitan equipment companies can only do one job, so it is difficult to get the whole picture. I think people can find value in their work by seeing the bigger picture and experiencing different processes. In terms of acquiring a variety of skills, you may gain more by first working with us for three years than you would by trying to gain five years of experience in a metropolitan area.
Finally, what is your outlook for the future?
Kondo Equipment regards the milestone of its 45th anniversary as the start of the second foundational period. Until now, we have grown by connecting various aspects such as piping or equipment. The new technology has expanded the scope of business, but our origins are plumbing professionals. We want to provide our accumulated know-how to many sites throughout Japan. We want to prove that even a small local company can be a top plumbing company. We want to continue growing further without forgetting our origin. I hope that we can go beyond our existing areas and become an entity that connects rural areas and cities, businesses and businesses, and people and people. Finally, Kondo Equipment is not a pyramid-type company. There is a structure called "truss piping" that combines thin pipes into triangles to distribute the load and increase strength. We are a company with such a structure. I want to create a company where each employee, regardless of age or experience, can play a leading role and grow together.