Feature Interview

March 2018

NSENGI - Working with a Project Management Professional on a Website Renewal that Began with the Global Site

Nippon Steel & Sumikin Engineering Co., Ltd. (NSENGI) is a core business of the Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Group. It is an engineering company that leverages its steel structure technology, plant construction and other achievements in the steel manufacturing industry to provide comprehensive solutions, from design, procurement and construction to operation, repair and maintenance.

Arc Communications handled the renewal of NSENGI's Japanese website, an order it won through a bid competition.

In Japan, a corporate website renewal usually begins with the renewal of a company's Japanese-language site, which then becomes the basis for the renewal of the company's website in other languages. However, the NSENGI website renewal project did not follow the normal process. Instead, it began with the renewal of the global website, which was then followed by production of the Japanese website.

NSENGI was following a distinctive strategy, very much in keeping with its outstanding project management capabilities. We here at Arc Communications learned much through this website renewal project.

From left to right:
Yoshihiro Sato, Mariko Ohsato, Osamu Murakami, Mitsuko Orikasa, Kenichi Matsuzawa and Junko Kobayashi

Mitsuko Orikasa: General Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility & Public Relations Dept., Nippon Steel & Sumikin Engineering Co., Ltd.
Kenichi Matsuzawa: Manager, Management Support Center, Public Relations Section, Corporate Social Responsibility & Public Relations Dept., Nippon Steel & Sumikin Engineering Co., Ltd.
Junko Kobayashi: Public Relations Section, Corporate Social Responsibility & Public Relations Dept., Nippon Steel & Sumikin Engineering Co., Ltd.
Mariko Ohsato: CEO & President, Arc Communications Inc.
Yoshihiro Sato: Operating Officer, Web & Cross Media Executive Manager, Arc Communications Inc.
Hiroshi Watanabe: Web and Cross Media, Arc Communications Inc.
Osamu Murakami: Web and Cross Media, Arc Communications Inc.

Starting with the Global Site

Sato: Thank you very much for making time out of your busy schedules today. The publication of the global and Japanese-language sites has been completed, and the renewal project--which lasted a year and a half--has finally been put to bed. Could you first tell us why you decided to renew your website?

Orikasa: I was assigned to public relations two and a half years ago, and the first project that I wanted to carry out was the renewal of our website. Being a B2B company, our business is basically based on face-to-face negotiations, so the center of our focus had not really been on our website. However, times have changed, and today, potential customers and business partners first go to a company's website to obtain information. The means for accessing a website is also diversifying, such as the use of smartphones. I believed that we could offer greater business support through our website by further developing the ways in which we communicated information. Before moving to public relations, I worked in one of our business divisions, so there was also the element of simply wanting to make our website cooler than our overseas competitors'.

Kobayashi: Websites are also important in terms of personnel recruitment. I'm looking forward to seeing the good effects going forward, now that we have a cool-looking website.

Sato: This website renewal was a rare case in that it didn't start with the Japanese-language website. Why did you decide to begin with the renewal of your global site?

Orikasa: It was because we felt that the global site had more issues that needed to be solved. Before the renewal, the global site was simply an English translation of the Japanese-language website. It did not reflect overseas circumstances or conditions. The fact that none of us here knew much about websites or were familiar with recent technologies or trends became another strong reason for deciding to renew the global site first.

Ohsato: How did that become a reason for renewing the global website first?

Orikasa: We felt that it would be very risky to renew the Japanese-language website first or to renew both sites at the same time. We felt that we should "practice" designing content and operating a website through the global site and gain experience before moving on to the Japanese-language website. This is because the global site has a lot fewer pages and less volume of information compared to the Japanese-language website. The same holds true for the number of hits, the number of people who would be involved internally, and the number of people who would be interested in the global site. Even if we were to make a mistake, it would not be as highly visible as a mistake made on the Japanese-language website, making it easier for us to recover from it. Plus, we thought that what we would learn through our mistakes could be reflected in the Japanese-language site (Laughs).

Ohsato: I'm impressed. You truly are professionals in project management. I'm glad no mistakes were made! (Laughs)

Partners Must Understand the Business

Sato: If we could move on to the start of the project and the competitive bidding process...

Watanabe: Our impression of your request for proposal (RFP) was that it was very solid, and that your policies and goals were very clear. Being on the side developing a proposal to present to you, I really appreciated the one-on-one interview opportunity you provided everyone following the orientation session for interested companies. Although it was the first time for us to make a proposal to you, we were able to gain great insight for developing the proposal, including about your wishes and your business.

Orikasa: I mean this with all sincerity--my impression of your company's presentation, from the early stages of the proposal process, was that it was outstanding. Engineering is not an easy concept to explain in a few words. What's more, our company has a particularly wide range of business lines, which makes it even harder for people outside of our industry to understand. I felt through your proposal that you had studied our company very well and understood it better than the other companies.

Sato: I feel a bit embarrassed to hear such praise. (Laughs) When taking part in competitive bidding, especially if it concerns a first-time client for us, before we start thinking about the website, we begin by getting to know as much as we can about the company--what kind of business it is involved in, what its strengths are, and so on. The information we obtain through that process becomes the basis of a hypothesis for the website renewal.

Orikasa: Actually, of the companies that took part in this competitive bidding, your company was the only one that we had no prior relationship with. We were impressed by your scrupulous attention to detail, such as finding companies that would be benchmarks for the renewal and using them as reference.

Sato: We were also lucky. We had completed the benchmarking and were making a final review of the proposal when an overseas company renewed its website, so we were able to show the "Before" and "After" of another company's website.

Ohsato: What a delightful evaluation to receive! Many of Arc Communications' clients are B2B companies, so we always emphasize getting to know our clients' businesses. This holds true not just for our website-related services but also for our translation and temporary employment services. We try to cultivate ourselves so that we don't do our work without understanding a business just because it's not an easy one to understand.

Matsuzawa: Aside from our website, we now also ask Arc Communications to translate our news releases and articles for our in-house newsletter. We found it very helpful that rather than just giving us a translation, comments had been included when the translator wavered in word choices. A list of alternate words was included and the reason why a particular word had been chosen was also explained. It was clear cut and useful to us in making our determinations as to whether the chosen word was appropriate. It really raised our expectations for the website renewal--seeing that your company worked like that made us feel that we were in good hands.

Orikasa: It's good to be able to have the same company handle the designing of the global site as well as the translations--very efficient. Another decisive factor for choosing your company was that you included in your presentation a strong explanation of security measures to be taken.