Continually re-defining itself over the years has helped A. Yoshii Engenharia adapt to volatile market conditions and offer its clients stability and security in unstable times. Christopher Van Buren tells how this commercial and residential builder has become one of the nation’s largest in just four decades.
In a country with little economic stability and volatile market changes, A. Yoshii’s strategy has been to look for and follow the growth industries, adapting to political, economic and market changes over the country’s past four decades. Even during times of huge national change, economic crises, political scandals and corruption, there are always growth industries. A. Yoshii’s principal strategy has been to identify these growth industries and adapt in ways necessary to serve them, without taking unnecessary risks that threaten the health of the company.
Over the years of changing to market conditions, the company has acquired the skills needed to build all kinds of works: department stores, warehouses, universities, theaters, manufacturing plants, and even fuel refineries. This profound knowledge of building processes has made the company a market leader and given it the stability to attract international clients.
In 2007, A. Yoshii will complete its Interlagos Refinery for the Grupo Santa Adélia. It is a huge project located in the state of Sao Paulo, with the capacity to process three million metric tons of sugar cane per year. Interlagos is the company’s first major fuel refinery, but the processes involved in its construction comes from the company’s experience in building large manufacturing plants and grain storage and processing facilities. The facility can process more than three million tons of sugar cane per year.
The company continues to mirror the growth and economic direction of the country itself. Today, as Brazil struggles to become a global competitor, A. Yoshii services several international clients. The company is building a manufacturing plant for Honda Motors and finished a 28,000-square-foot cement processing plant for Monsanto, which it accomplished in just four months. “Brazil’s stability is creating more confidence in foreign investors and we are looking forward to a period of increased stability and certainty,” remarks Leonard Yoshii, director of marketing.
Along with the energy segment, A. Yoshii is turning its attention back to quality housing. It has half a dozen high-rise housing units in its home state of Parana, with three new projects under construction. Designed specifically for the growing middle class, these residential units offer technological infrastructures and modern construction, such as economic energy consumption, communications networks and advanced security systems. The “Alto da Araxa” building, for example, also offers adult and children’s pools, sporting and fitness facilities, sauna, and five space-saving floorplans – features directed at the upwardly mobile middle class.
“Brazil is like Spain or Mexico some years back. It’s a lot easier for Brazilians to get credit, plus we have lower interest rates and better income in the middle class,” Yoshii said. “This offers more growth in housing and more stability to the country in general. We have done a lot of research into quality housing construction to be able to satisfy this market.”
Other industries getting the attention of the A. Yoshii directors include shopping centers and event centers. “In comparison to Europe and North America, Brazil has relatively few large shopping centers for its people.” Also growing are the industries connected to water and the distribution of agricultural products.
“Agri-business in the 80s; universities and printing industries in the 90s; automotive manufacturing, fuel refineries, and food distribution in the new millennium – these are the movements that are responsible for our growth over our 42 years of business,” Yoshii said.
Building Intellectual Capital
Each of these new growth industries brought a unique set of building requirements and challenges to A. Yoshii. But the company maintains its agility and flexibility through intellectual capital: investing in its employees. “We invest in MBA programs for our management, basic GED courses for our factory and ground workers, and specialized workshops for our technical teams. In addition, we provide leadership and teamwork training,” explains Yoshii.
Company managers search for the best students from the best schools around the country and offer them an environment filled with growth opportunities and challenges. Then they place their trust in the skills of their team. Contrary to the majority of companies that outsource their production work, at A. Yoshii, a large part of the production team is comprised of its own employees, which helps them maintain their standards for quality and punctuality.
Clearly, this is a company built on strong foundations: put simply, its overriding Oriental business philosophy and its undying love of Brazil.