Sensyo Co., Ltd.

Mayuko Horiuchi: Using intentionality to preserve the family business

Japanese CEO Mayuko Horiuchi understands that never forgetting her company’s original intentions is the key to providing the highest quality products and services to sustain customer satisfaction and future growth.  

The original intentions of Japanese Surface Finisher Sensyo Co., Ltd. were set by Horiuchi’s grandparents in 1936 when they founded the company. Sensyo (センショー ) offers a variety of metal plating treatments, as well as consulting services throughout the product planning process— from idea to post-implementation.  

Sensyo’s products can be found all over the world: from oil and gas companies in North America to the metro infrastructure in Dubai and from skyscrapers in Asia to automobile interiors around the world. The products add layers of metal treatment to existing metals or plastics to prevent corrosion and add other functionalities, such as reducing the weight of vehicles for better, more eco-friendly movement. 

The Osaka-based company has been passed down through the family, most recently from Horiuchi’s father to her. Horiuchi had no previous leadership experience when she took over as CEO, yet she faced a slew of business problems she needed to fix. Inheriting a company with significant debt and all senior workers, Horiuchi knew she had to completely start over. 

“One of my biggest challenges right from the beginning was to restructure the company,” she explains. “I had to modernize everything in order to bring the business into the future, from rejuvenating the workforce to revamping the antiquated business model.” 

As she rebuilt the company, she renamed it from the original “Nomura Mekki Kougyousho” to Sensyo taking the first characters from both of her grandparents’ names to honor them:千 (Sen) and 正 (Sho). Slowly, Horiuchi got used to leading and was able to pay off the debt and lift the mood in the factory by employing young people. Since then, the company has grown bigger in sales and size with 67 employees today. 

“Sensyo’s biggest strength is the talented staff,” she explains. “80% of our employees are in their 20s, and one-third of them are women, which is quite rare in Japanese manufacturing companies.” 

Horiuchi joined WEConnect International in 2021 to expand her business outside of Japan. She presented at the most recent WEConnect International Day in June, and Sensyo has become a certified supplier through the organization which helped her secure business with Accenture. 

“Thanks to the WEConnect International network, I am part of a community of Japanese women entrepreneurs,” Horiuchi notes. “We have opportunities to share and help each other out to grow and refine our businesses.” 

Horiuchi has big plans for Sensyo’s future. She wants to continue to grow and expand, hoping there is an IPO in the future. Regardless of where her business goes, she will continue to set big goals and sit at the same table as men. 

“I am most proud of the fact that, thanks to my influence, more Japanese companies’ presidents are planning to make their daughters successors,” she says. “Together, we can change the world of manufacturing, while also be a driving economic force within Japan.”