Tokyo Bell Co., Ltd.
President and Representative Director
Tokyo Bell Co ., Ltd. was founded in 1949. For nearly 70 years, as a manufac-turer of bicycle bells, it has continued to develop products that stick to the original model. Its strong point in manufacturing is to be able to offer products of various kinds, in small quantities, with high quality, at low price and in a short delivery time. It seems like the advantage of being located in Arakawa City is the circumstance behind that. I met with the 4th generation Company President Koichi Ichimura.
Lineup of more than 100 types of products
Bicycle bells developed and manufactured by Tokyo Bell Co., Ltd. include more than 100 types of bells if we include the differences in color. The developed original products such as small bells, wooden bells, jewelry-style appearance bells and others are sent out to domestic and overseas markets. Paying particular attention to design, a development meeting on new bells, in which
The bear bell that made a huge hit with its sound-muffling function
advisory de-signers are invited, is held about twice a month. They have won numerous Good Design Awards so far.
"There is pride in being the front runner. In the past, it was a pattern in which we were producing for self-satisfaction but could not sell, however recent-ly we listened to customer's voice, properly analyzed the needs and implemented development to meet those needs. "
As said in these words, the company is keeping its position of leader in domes-tic share for bicycle bells.
The export ratio is higher as currently sales proportion is 40% for domestic mar-ket and 60% for overseas. It is sold as the "TOKYO BELL" brand in countries such as the United States, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and has gained popularity among bicycle lovers. It is expected that the export ratio will con-tinue to increase in the future, so the development of new export destinations is a challenge.
On the other hand, as products for the domestic market they are focusing on the development and manufacture of bear bells for mountain-climbing lovers. Even though suzu and bells to avoid bears have existed for a long time and been sold at climbing equipment shops and others places, this company, which started late in this field, acquired a patent by developing for the first time in the industry a sound-muffling function that can stop the sound of the bell by a one-touch manipulation. This became a hit and 120,000 pieces have been sold so far.
Producing a stand device at the Head Office. Production of bicycle bells is done at the Saitama Plant
Although Tokyo Bell is leading the market by developing original products one after another for bicycles and bear bells, in reality, another business supports its framework. It is the manufacture of stand devices for display used to attach the product name, price, and POP display in supermarkets and department stores. They have been working on this for more than 30 years, and it accounts for 60% of company sales.
"Although this is not an original development with orders including specifica-tions, we are giving advices as a metalworking manufacturer"
Although the types of stand devices available are tens of times more numerous than bicycle bells, it is possible to ship the product within the day the order entered if it is one the main products despite the huge number of types availa-ble. Behind this achievement, in addition to efforts to improve its response ca-pabilities, there are more than 30 cooperating companies with which relationship has been built up over long years of business.
President Ichimura says that “It is precisely such network of cooperating com-panies that represents the biggest advantage of being located in Tokyo."
"The Arakawa City area and its vicinity gather plants performing operations such as plating, welding and sheet metal processing, so we used the advantage of being in a good location to discover external competent companies, and have deep-ened our cooperative relationship with these companies over the years. We are also working in close collaboration with partner companies that can ship a large variety of products in small quantity with high quality, low price and short de-livery time. "
By the way, there are also partner companies located in the United States, South Korea, Taiwan and China
President Ichimura says that it is also attractive to be located in Tokyo be-cause the municipality takes good care of small and medium-sized enterprises.
"We used subsidies from Arakawa City when displaying products at exhibitions and changing the lighting of Head Office Plant to LED, etc. , and I am feeling the generosity of this support. "
In Arakawa City there is a group formed by young managers of "manufacturing company" that is called “Asumeshi-Kai" and president Ichimura is one of the mem-bers. The name of the association is derived from the fact of “Making the seeds of tomorrow's rice", and in accordance with its name it plans active exchanges.
Even if President Ichimura says “I’m now at an age that is not considered as young” with a wry smile, he has demonstrated leadership for the revitalization of manufacturing in Arakawa City.