Women entrepreneurship in Japan has been gaining attention despite the country’s reputation for having a male-dominated business culture. It’s surprising to see women breaking through the barriers and making their mark even in the rough-and-tumble logistics industry. At the heart of this trend is a growing recognition of the value women bring to the industry. Meet Maiko Imai, President at Imai Transportation Co., who’s proven that logistic is more than just a man’s world!
From transportation to entire logistics: She moved it!
Founded in 1963 and headquartered in Hatsukaichi city, Hiroshima district, Imai Transportation has been a specialist in the transportation of heavy cargo for over half a century. However, when Maiko assumed leadership of the company nine years ago following her father’s passing, she saw an opportunity to diversify their services. Today, Imai Transportation not only offers top-notch transportation but also operates warehouses, providing a comprehensive logistics solution to their clients.
In May 2021, Maiko received the WEConnect International certification, and the following year, she continued to invest in her professional development by participating in the highly acclaimed P&G Academy program. Through the program, Maiko not only upped her business acumen but also cracked a business deal with P&G. Way to go!
“In June 2022, I was contacted by a tier 1 company that transports products for P&G. I was thrilled to know that P&G recommended us. We held a remote meeting to discuss the project and learned that it was not just about transportation, but they also wanted to collaborate with us to address a critical issue in the Japanese logistics industry. Until now, the industry has managed to overcome several crises, but this time, there’s real concern that the industry might not be able to move goods. The logistics industry is facing the ‘2024 problem’, which refers to the various issues that will arise because of the enforcement to protect truck drivers from overwork,” Maiko said.
Great Collaboration results in Great results
Together with P&G, Maiko embarked on a comprehensive plan to not only ensure compliance with the law but also consider external factors such as the rising fuel prices and environmental impact. After months of careful planning and preparation, they launched an experimental project in eastern Japan in July 2022, deploying two highly skilled drivers to test the new system and provide valuable feedback for further improvements.
“The logistics industry is facing a mountain of challenges and I believe it is important to have everyone’s voice heard. Together with tier 1 companies we are looking at the issues facing Japan’s logistics industry and collaborate to achieve a win-win situation,” concluded Maiko.
As more and more women enter the logistics industry, the future looks bright. With their unique skills and talents, they are sure to continue driving innovation and growth in one of the world’s most important industries. This transaction with P&G is a great step forward for our WOBs.