Having the determination to do your best will bring meaning to trying.
Planning Section Manager, Planning and Administration Department, Automotive Products Division
Overwhelmed by customer enthusiasm during his sales work
When I look back on my past work, the thing that I feel had the biggest influence on me did not come from within the company, but through my work with a domestic automobile manufacturer (from now on, Company A).
At that time, I was engaged in sales activities with the aim of having Company A use a set of Furukawa Electric harnesses in their cars under development. Sales work isn’t just about showing customers the prices. You participate in all the various events throughout the selection process to gather information and deepen your relationship with your customers. In situations such as when problems occur, you spend time with customers from morning to night, and you can sometimes create a sense of friendly solidarity by turning a disaster into something positive.
What really struck me when I was spending a lot of time with Company A was their logical thinking, rationality, insatiable desire to improve, and pursuit of profit. Rather than having just one person in charge of a task, several Company A employees would work thoroughly to drill down and get deeply involved. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to describe this level of thoroughness as Company A’s way of thinking, and I found it very impressive.
At the time, only my energy kept me afloat
Before getting involved in the sales of automotive products, I was assigned to the Second Sales Department of the International Division. At that time, I was in charge of expanding sales of power cables in China, and Shigenobu Abe (current Automotive Products Division Manager), the representative of our Hong Kong office, was very strict about making sure I understood the basics of sales. In my fourth year, I was posted to China to sell extra-high-voltage power cables. After I returned to Japan, Mr. Abe continued to give me advice, and I think that I really cultivated the basics of sales during that period.
It takes at least one year to complete a project for electric power cables, which covers advance activities, bidding, receiving the order, manufacturing, delivery, and installation. I had an interpreter at work, but it was still inconvenient and hard because I couldn’t even participate in day-to-day conversations, so I studied Chinese every night. Aside from the language, I also lacked knowledge about subjects directly related to my work, such as foreign trade and exchange rates, so I recall that I was studying my hardest whenever I could. I think that at the time, only my energy kept me afloat.
Facing the same direction with shared goals
The Planning Section, my current workplace, is a section that does everything. The automotive products business is a relatively new division within our company, and there are aspects of the business culture that are different from those of other businesses within the company. When working with other divisions, sometimes differences in perception emerge. Identifying those differences quickly and minimizing losses is one of our big missions. Though cooperation between the head office and the many manufacturing and sales bases both in Japan and overseas is also a core part of our business, I think that finding compromises that the concerned parties can agree on is interesting work.
Communication is essential for coordination. We are involved with a wide range of people from younger generations to older generations, so at times, we may be confused by differences in values, but if we can share our goals and face the same direction, we can move forward in most cases. The distinctive personalities of my coworkers add to the fun—one has even built a miniature zoo at his home.
The attitude of just trying new things first
In the Automotive Products Division, we are indebted to the former General Manager, Mr. Takamitsu Kozuka (now General Manager of the Energy Infrastructure Division). He was a good manager who cared for his staff, with the motto “bright, fun and cheerful”. My motto is “Just Do It”. That is to say, take on new things with the attitude of just trying first. Sometimes things can be hard due to lack of experience, but it’s exciting to open new doors. With 5G, CASE, and so on, social structures are at a major turning point, and values are diversifying, but expectations are high that new things will emerge one after another.