Nikkol group NEWS LETTER


A matchmaking god – the Open Research Laboratory

Matchmaking for formulation of cosmetics and external preparations
      Have you ever been to a Japanese Shinto shrine at the start of the new year? People traditionally make such visits to pray not only for good fortune throughout the year but also for having peace in the homes, passing entrance exams, succeeding in business, and finding a good match.

      In fact, NIKKOL GROUP contains a corporate unit whose forte is matchmaking. It is the Open Research Laboratory in the Cosmos Technical Center, which we profile in this issue of our e-mail magazine.

      At present, the Open Research Laboratory has a staff of three regular employees: Ms. Sachie Harada, who provides sure support with a genial smile that relaxes all; Ms. Maki Honda, who is in her fourth year of research on formulations and is enthusiastic about her work; and Mr. Uji, who heads the Laboratory and has been involved in it for 30 years. We interviewed the three to hear about the kind of matchmaking they have done so far, with the approach of the 40th anniversary of the Laboratory’s institution.

      The Open Research Laboratory offers four courses: Basic Training, Intermediate Training, Applied Training, and Personal Projects. Customers use this facility for various reasons. Some want to learn the basics. Others already have the expertise and want to expand their research. Yet others are looking for the troubleshooting keys to their problems.

      The Open Laboratory was initially located in the head office of Nikko Chemicals, but was subsequently moved, first to Kanagawa Science Park and then to its current location in Cosmos Technical Center (in the Hasune district of Tokyo’s Itabashi Ward) in 1994. It was also equipped with lodging facilities comparable to those of a hotel in 2006. For this reason, it has come to be used by many customers from other countries in recent years. Lots of different languages can be heard in the Laboratory these days. Specifically, it attracts customers from France, Italy, China, Korea, and Thailand. They do research on all sorts of themes. The themes vary from country to country, and at the staff of the Open Lab are constantly exposed to trends and issues of the global cosmetic industry.

Is Mr. Uji the patron saint of the Laboratory? Or its activator?
      One element that has remained in the Laboratory without change is Mr. Uji, its head.
 Mr. Uji joined the company 30 years ago, and spent 20 of those years in the Open Research Laboratory. There, he has delivered lectures on emulsification and solubilization to many customers, provided support for the development of external preparations to pharmaceutical manufacturers, and taken a hand in the formulation and applied development of products such as NIKKOL Nikkomulese series.

      At times, he even makes trips to customer laboratories under the banner “Open Research Laboratory comes to you!” At the destinations, he makes full use of his wealth of knowledge and experience to come up with solutions and ideas for issues faced by the customers.

      In addition, Mr. Uji has used the Open Research Laboratory, where people from diverse companies gather, as a venue for building cross-cutting ties in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries around the common ground of “research,” to further energize both. Although they work for different companies, the researchers in the Laboratory share the mission of developing cosmetics or pharmaceuticals. The Laboratory is a rare site for such networking, where fellow researchers can meet each other and share their earnest aspirations for research.

      The Open Research Laboratory therefore helps us to meet customers, create new ideas through such meetings, and forge links among researchers. This is what we mean when we talk about “matchmaking” connections by the Laboratory.

      Incidentally, the name “Uji” starts with the same three letters as “ujigami,” the Japanese word for “guardian deity” or “patron saint.” Perhaps Mr. Uji was specially destined for this role!

40 years’ worth of memory books
      In the Open Research Laboratory are memory books with notes left by customers who used the facility over the 40 years since its opening. The books contain photos of many customers, who seem to be enjoying their research, along with their comments, some witty and some serious. They have been carefully kept and stored.

      If you have ever used the facilities of the Laboratory, please don’t hesitate to pay it another visit, so you can again meet Mr. Uji, who is still working there as always, and see the photos of yourself in the old days. The Laboratory also enables this kind of reconnection, regardless of the passage of time.

      The services offered through the Open Research Laboratory described above are now also available at the Osaka Branch of Nikko Chemicals and Nikko Chemicals Shanghai Corporation.

      Although the space is smaller, the permanent staff will be glad to provide assistance with formulation development.