January 4, 2018 New Year Greeting

Masashi Takahashi
Chairman & CEO

Happy New Year

In bookstores these days there are an increasing number of titles on the themes of “productivity improvement” and “workstyle innovation”. Furthermore, while society is experiencing an upward economic trend, there are a number of industries experiencing serious talent shortages. Recruitment costs are rising, and having an effect, in our industry too.

Against this backdrop, we have been left little choice but to undertake further “productivity improvement” and “workstyle innovation” activities. In this Column, I would like to share some of our efforts.

First, regarding management accounting we are reforming methods of calculating profit and loss and we've changed how we calculate value-added profit and loss. This provides more data closer to department managers thus enhancing ability to manage revenue and control costs.

Other initiatives include cutting both time spent in meetings and the eliminating meetings themselves where possible, as well as reducing time spent on certain tasks etc. Furthermore, with the aim to create an environment of improved focus and output we've introduced “concentration time.” We are also experimenting with the introduction of RPA, introducing ERP and unifying in-house information systems. Furthermore, with an aim to nurture positive relationships between people, we invited an external lecturer to implement a “courtesy and politeness” training course, we also plan to implement further novel ideas throughout the year.

Although the outcomes of this initiative will be calculated after the completion of this term, and although we plan to further improvements, we forecast our initial destination as follows.

Productivity Improvement Outcomes
A 3 point increase in profit-ratio, which equates to around 100 million yen profit growth
Workstyle Reform Outcomes
The below table includes previous term data and current term forecasts based on a series on internal indicators.
Previous Term Present Term (estimated)
Average Overtime 31.4 hours 28.5 hours
Annual Leave Usage Rates 78.6% 80%
Average Length of Employment 5.8 years 5.9 years

As a continuous steady effort is necessary, we plan to keep improving year after year.

As an aside, while implementing “productivity improvement” and “workstyle innovation” activities, I became aware of two things.

Firstly, while it's effective to make full use of systems and methods there's nothing better than improving relationships between people. For example, with how many of your team colleagues can you comfortably work? Do you have complete faith in your managers and subordinates? This may seem natural but is important and can have a significant influence on performance.

Second, focusing on internal activities alone means that there are limits because sales are present in the calculation formula, productivity = added value (sales - outsourcing cost) / input resources (personnel expenses). Therefore, to drive business improvements in our industry, we aim to have in-house business process specialists and are acquiring knowledge by inviting in external BPO and RPA experts. We will offer business improvement techniques to client companies. Through this new service, we are planning to further improve our productivity by contributing to productivity improvement of our client companies.

We will continue to enhance our technical capabilities in addition to further developing a professional mindset, so that as a company we are “always by our clients' side” and achieve our aim of being the number one company for customer satisfaction. We look forward to your guidance and continued support this year, thank you.

For more information on our services, timeframes and estimates, as well as examples of our work, please feel free to be in touch.