Feature Interview

September 2017

Osada Electric Co., Ltd. - Customer First: A 13-year Partnership Based on Shared Values Revitalizes a Website

Pulling Top Management into Promoting Understanding Within the Company

Sato: One thing I've noticed over the years of working on Osada's website is what a good job Mr. Ikeda and the website staff have done of informing the rest of the company of the need for the website. With your company's strength in sales and customer relationships, I remember that more than ten years ago there was a tendency not to see the website as very important. But now I feel like there is momentum from the entire company to leverage the website, and I would really like to know how you turned around everyone's attitudes.

Ikeda: We spent money to make it, so it would be a waste if our customers didn't see it. It's useless if we make it just for our own sense of satisfaction - it only gets interesting if customers call us after they see our website, or if students see our recruiting site and think, "Osada is a good company. I want to join, and I want to work there." The project team just wants to have fun creating the site, get feedback from customers, and hear from others in the company about what effects the website has had.

Okamoto: I work on events as part of my sales planning work. Linking those efforts with the website is very effective, so the website is important to us from a sales planning perspective as well.

Sugisaki: I'm not all that familiar with the Web industry, but I've worked to contribute as much as I can to the website and our promotional efforts as a member of the project team.

Sato: You held study sessions for your younger employees before, too. I was invited to participate as an instructor.

Ikeda: It was impossible to do by myself, so I started by forming a committee. I tried to include younger employees as well as people who had no experience with the website. We discuss things openly, and since we need to learn more as well, we ask for help from companies like Arc to hold study sessions once a month.

Osada: Ikeda is very good at getting management involved. He keeps coming to me with things like, "Please set guidelines for the website" or "Please decide on the budget." So I end up having no choice but to get involved in the projects. (Laughs)

Ikeda: When President Osada was still vice president, I started by getting him to join as a project member. We also created a setting for director-level management to set a direction for us. That really got things moving. If top management isn't thinking about and showing interest in something, you can't get the employees to care about it. Besides, doing something that's not in line with the company's direction won't produce results, so it's not interesting. If we can get top management to set the direction first, it makes it much easier to work.

Ohsato: Nothing makes management happier than employees who can use them well. This is a story I'd like to tell our employees, too. (Laughs)

The Recruiting Site that is Indispensable for Finding New Employees

Shibata: I have a strong impression that Osada is a company that values not only its customers but its employees as well. Many companies use the kanji characters for "people assets" instead of the standard characters for "people material" to refer to "jinzai." (Note: in Japanese, both sets of characters are pronounced the same, and refer to human resources.) But I think the first time I saw the term used as part of an organization was in Osada's Jinzai Center.

Osada: We've been using the Jinzai Center name for more than 30 years now. I think we were using the term well ahead of the current trend, and the spirit is well-established in the company.

Okamoto: I was working in the Jinzai Center until last year, and we always kept the meaning of the word in mind as we worked. Our early adoption of Premium Friday is one example that indicates the company's philosophy toward the employees.

Osada: We revamped our Jinzai recruiting site this year with Arc's help, and perhaps thanks to that our hiring efforts are proceeding smoothly.

Shibata: When we first heard about the revamping of the recruiting site, Mr. Seto, the executive in charge of HR, said, "I've been looking at various recruiting sites, and I just found out that the one I thought was the best was made by Arc." That was exciting to hear. (Laughs)

Ikeda: We now have a full-fledged recruiting site as a result of a trip to the Nagoya factory to take photos and everything, so I'm looking forward to what it brings.

Shibata: I think the fact that a photo and message from the president appear on the recruiting site is another factor in the site's success. There's a significant difference in impression between sites where you can see the boss's face, and sites where you can't. We haven't asked him to appear on the company site yet, so let's make sure to feature the president there, too. (Laughs)

Ikeda: The new recruiting site is very easy to use for the operations and updates staff as well. It will get even more interesting when they begin seeing the effects of the new site and start coming up with suggestions for improvements.

Creating a Website for the Unknown Future

Sato: I wanted to ask about your strategy for the future of your website.

Ikeda: The viewing environment for websites is undergoing significant change. I feel like we need to keep an eye on that change and take steps to stay ahead of it. For example, I hear that fewer students own PCs now. As technology such as voice input gets more advanced, we may eventually see a generation of people who have never used a keyboard. If that happens, PC-based websites and content like we have now may no longer work.
In addition, as the declining birth rate and aging population lead to fewer people in the workforce, there is a possibility that interfacing with our customers face to face 100% of the time may start to become a challenge. To prepare for that possibility, making our website the initial point of contact may be an option to consider. Rather than neglect the possibility because it's five or ten years down the road, I think we need to start now in recognizing change and shaping it to match the company's direction. We want to keep changes like that in mind as we make plans for future operation and changes to the website, so we look forward to Arc's cooperation in doing that.

Sato: Please let us think about the future of your website with you.

Ohsato: Thank you for spending so much time with us today. I appreciate you taking the time, President Osada.

Osada: I really enjoyed the conversation. Thank you very much.

You can visit the Osada Electric websites that we helped create at the link below.
Osada Group Official Website
Osada Group Recruiting Website (in Japanese language only)