A Japanese garden tool manufacturer is seeking agents and distribution partners in the EU

A Japanese producer of innovative gardening equipment is seeking a partner in the EU in the form of distribution services and commercial agency agreements. The company is one of the leading manufacturers of long-reach gardening equipment, such as pruners and branch secateurs. They are looking for partners that can help them expand their presence in the EU market, and are hoping to establish mutually beneficial long-term partnerships.
This Japanese company founded in 1974 has almost half a century of experience manufacturing innovative gardening equipment. They are currently focusing on the production of high-quality tree pruning products. The company invented the world’s first (Japanese style) long reach pruner in 1985. Although there were (European style) long reach pruners using a wood pole and rope at the time, Japanese style long reach pruners have an aluminium pipe with a steel shank inside. Since then, the Japanese company has been producing numerous long reach tools and “long reach” has become a staple feature of their products. Nowadays, Japanese style long reach pruners can be seen everywhere in the world, however many of them are not made in Japan. This well-established company would like to introduce genuine made in Japan equipment to the EU. Their product line-up ranges from manual to battery powered tools. Battery powered products are increasingly popular due to their user-friendliness and labour-cost reducing qualities. This is especially true in countries facing an aging populace such as Japan. For example, the long reach of their equipment means it is not necessary to use a ladder, leading to increased safety. Their products can reach up to two meters high, and the long reach saw can reach up to 3.5 meters high. Furthermore, they have a wide range of pruning solutions in their portfolio: from hand tools to battery powered, from leaf treatment to thick branch cutting. The companies’ products also fulfill the CE-marking criteria. The company is currently focusing on niche markets such as professional gardeners, landscapers, arborists, orchards, and nursery tree growers. The company supplies on-demand pruning solutions tailored to each unique individual need. The company has already succeeded in becoming one of the leading gardening tool manufacturers in Japan. For example, their long reach branch secateurs sell more than 40,000 pieces every year. The company now feels it is ready to increase its market share in the EU market. The company has been exporting its garden tools to many overseas countries channels for more than 20 years through domestic trading companies. The destinations include Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the United States. The majority of this indirect export is for their hand garden tools. On top of their indirect export, the company recently established its first direct exporting channels to France and Spain in 2019. The main product sold through this direct export channel is their newly developed battery powered long reach branch secateurs. The Japanese company can provide potential partners with product samples and brochures in the local language or multiple languages. Also, some support staff can be dispatched to be present at exhibitions where necessary. Full support and extensive training on the products will be given in case a partnership is reached, and the company expects to develop long term business relationships in the form of distribution services and commercial agency agreements.
Type (e.g. company, R&D institution…), field of industry and Role of Partner Sought: 
The Japanese company is looking for partners that are either agents or distributors experienced in the gardening tool or equipment sector. It is desirable for partners to have a sizable network of sales channels, enough to cover at least the partners’ domestic market. The Japanese company targets professionals who are engaged in various horticulture-applications as their end-users. This means they are aiming at special professional markets: gardeners, arborists, and fruit growers. To provide goods and services for those end customers, the Japanese company is primarily looking for distributors with relevant sales channels. It is also of importance that these potential partners are able to provide dedicated customer support for end-users. The Japanese company is also willing to consider partners with expert knowledge in relevant e-commerce channels under the same conditions. Partners should cover distribution and sales, but both functions do not necessarily have to be covered by one company. An outside agency can provide additional support depending on the situation. Partners are expected to provide the Japanese company with feedback from end-users in terms of customer needs, satisfaction, complaints, and so forth. As business develops, having inventory in the EU will also be on the agenda to discuss. It is essential that potential partners have the capacity to provide satisfactory customer service. They must also have well-established experience and knowledge in the field of battery powered tools.
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