With close to a century of experience, AICELLO Corporation has remained at the forefront of the plastic film and packaging industry, evolving with the times over the decades. After realizing the environmental impact of its cellophane production, the company's core business shifted to polyethylene films and bottles in the 1970s, and that sustainability-led decision has been a driving force of product and business development ever since.

"While the 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are widely known today, AICELLO has long had a similar sense of urgency about the environmental impact of our business," says company president and CEO Satoshi Morita.

In fact, Mr. Morita himself introduced the company-wide business strategy known as 'CBS' (Clean, BOSELON, SOLUBLON) back in 2008 when he was marketing director. "The goal behind this strategy was to present a clear way of demonstrating our core technologies, competitive advantages, and how we add value through our manufacturing activities," he explains, adding that this involved scaling down the company's product portfolio.

"I decided we should concentrate on our best and most value-added products: our clean technology, anticorrosion film (BOSELON), and water soluble PVA film (SOLUBLON). These three products became the focus of our marketing strategy, and represented a dramatic downsizing of our portfolio."

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"Our clean packaging technology is really one of a kind," he stresses, adding that huge value is being created in "supporting the semiconductor industry through the high purity process chemical packaging and manufacturing equipment parts packaging."

Despite a potential early hit to profitability in some areas, the company's clean technology goals and vision for semiconductor manufacturing, along with a continued role in the automotive industry, and overseas growth, made it an astute move, with success and profitability maintained through these three core products.

That constant strive for competitive advantage is also demonstrated through AICELLO's concept of Dantotsu, which refers to a product or business model that is one of a kind, or impossible to replicate.

"I believe that the level of satisfaction of the customers with the products or business model – which ultimately determines the level of Dantotsu – also sets each company's competitive edge," explains Mr. Morita. "The differences that lead to customer satisfaction indicate not only tangible aspects, such as product quality, price and delivery, but also intangible aspects like business marketing, production know-how and responsibility for the customer needs. It is important for us to strategically design Dantotsu in our business, and I feel that Dantotsu should be a necessary condition for Japanese companies to compete in the global market."

This ability to work on the international stage is seen as a valuable opportunity by Mr. Morita, especially as the Japanese working population, and knock-on spending power, continues to contract.

"The shrinking in the domestic market serves as a catalyst for expanding overseas, so we have been employing our most suitable strategies to expand and introduce our products to an international audience. In contrast to a stagnant domestic market, we are profiting from overseas markets, which account for 45% of our total sales. We are aiming to grow our business even more abroad."

Part of that growing success for the company has been its water soluble film, which has been widely used in single unit dose detergents across China, the U.S. and Europe.

"Currently, we are focusing our efforts on the existing applications of our water-soluble film," says Mr. Morita. "Through our R&D, we are also pursuing further discoveries for applications of the film, including those related to the manufacturing of electronic materials."

Key to the ongoing success of SOLUBLON is the new factory that is under construction, one that will allow production to increase and provide stability of supply as demand grows.

Although North America and Europe play a significant role in the business strategy, especially for the BOSELON business, the needs of loyal customers in the regional Asian market are also being well catered to by the three major locations in Malaysia, Shanghai and Japan.

"The automotive industry growth in Asia and beyond, with just-in-time production as a fundamental requirement, means geographical proximity is essential," states the company president, eyeing a bright and clean future ahead.

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