Our Value #3

To continue to be
a factory responsible for quality,
along with the concept of “Made in Japan”.

Kazunori Uchino (Director of the Production Control Department's R&D Center)

Daiki Nishida (Plant Manager for Sefco Foods Co., Ltd.)

-- What are the advantages of UFI’s factories?

Uchino: The UFI Group owns a number of domestic and foreign factories that manufacture an extensive range of food products. One of those key plants is Sefco, where we focus on powders, liquids, side dishes, and pastries to produce a great variety of products that are household names. One of the plant's advantages is its multiple production lines, which allow us to essentially be a one-stop shop for complex manufacturing. For example, we can create a flour blend in bulk then further process it to produce pastry or side dish products.

Nishida: Specifically, there are two liquid lines and sixteen powder lines which manufacture lots of different products, from commercial-grade items to those intended for consumers. Another of our strengths is being able to respond to demand for products that have ingredient restrictions such as being organic or allergen-free.

-- What sort of things are you focusing on at the plant?

Uchino: Our factories conform to international standards regarding product quality and sanitation management, so we are focused on acquiring certification for that. Since all production lines at Sefco have obtained the ISO 9000 certification, we are now working toward acquiring the FSSC 22000 certification that our Tsukuba plant has (as of September 2018).

Nishida: These certifications are a sort of proof that is easy for our customers to understand. Food manufacturers, distributors, and other customers from both in Japan and abroad routinely tour our factory, and I want to be able to respond with confidence to their serious inquiries such as "What can this UFI factory do?" and "Is your food safety and quality OK?"

Uchino: A word we use a lot at all of our factories is "operational availability". This is something we use to reduce all waste at our plants, including wasted time, the amount of trash produced, and energy costs. It's an initiative that allows us see things down to the finest details. I think that it ultimately helps us lower costs and pass those savings on to our customers, but it also improves the automation of our production lines and the overall work environment.

-- Tell us about your work environment.

Nishida: Whether at our headquarters or in a factory, the work environment of UFI is one in which the performance of employees is evaluated without regard to their age, which means that young people with a lot of ambition can find success here. To be honest, working in a factory can be difficult at times, but it pleases me when employees can experience the wonder of creating famous products with their own hands and feel the worth of being entrusted with the operation of those production lines.

Uchino: And from a slightly different perspective, working at a UFI plant gives one the opportunity to be involved in the manufacturing of a great variety of food items, more so than working at a factory belonging to a single food manufacturer. In addition, I think that the experience gained from seeing the products from a marketing point of view is also good for one's career. "Oh, this product is selling well"; "This sort of product is popular overseas"; etc.

Nishida: That's very true. Seeing our products lined up on the shelves of supermarkets and convenience stores gives us a sense of inward happiness—but viewed another way, some products might have never been created if not for the factories of UFI.

-- What are your goals and vision for the future?

Uchino: If nothing else, our regional manufacturing plants will continue to support the food culture of Japan and distribute that quality to the world under the concept of "Made in Japan." I think that UFI's factories adhere to the highest standards possible. As we look to the future, I'd like to capitalize on our expertise and become an industry leader that helps raise the bar for the entire food industry.

Nishida: Personally, I have a strong desire to fully respond to all of the requests we receive from the sales department. As we focus on manufacturing not only private brands but UFI's original brands as well, I'd like to work together with my colleagues to make our presence known as a factory that can be relied upon. I want to continue delivering the safe and high-quality food products produced in our factory to people around the world.

Kazunori Uchino

Director of the Production Control Department's R&D Center

Daiki Nishida

Plant Manager for Sefco Foods Co., Ltd.

© United Foods International Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.