Unexpected gaps appear in organizations when somebody leaves suddenly. Or, a change in management is required but the new responsible is not found or available yet. In such cases, temporary solutions are helpful. I have both extensive experience as general manager as well as commercial director, and can function on a temporary basis in these functions.
Companies use strategic account planning for steering their activities. Creating annual forecasts is something that is a part of the Japanese business culture, but strategic, long term account planning is difficult for Japanese commercial people. It takes more effort and direct coaching to get account planning properly implemented in Japan than anywhere else. I can contribute a full strategic account planning concept if there is not an existing one, or work on the implementation of an existing methodology.
For non-Japanese managers, both located in or outside of Japan, it is often difficult to get a good view on the strengths and weaknesses of the Japanese organization and the people in there. The most common mistake is to give too much value to the English language skills. Indeed, it is important for internal communications and it is difficult to work with somebody who has very limited English capabilities, however, there is no guarantee that such English skills lead to a strong performance in front of a customer or the internal organization. Based on many years of people management in Japan, I can give an independent second opinion in this area and propose actions for its improvement.
Project Pipeline for Growth Creation
Once a business plan has been defined, the market development activities begin. Growth creation is a long and tedious process in Japan. Japanese companies are not opportunistic and make principal choices for their suppliers. Price competitiveness is important in Japan, but not as important as elsewhere. Technical capabilities, long term relationships, security of supply and presence in Japan are other important factors. It is important to recognize the different phases in the process, and then fine tune actions based on that and build a solid portfolio of projects that are well executed, to ultimately obtain business and create growth. I have ample experience in building and managing a portfolio of business creation projects and can deliver a corresponding methodology.
Product Specification for Japanese Transplants
Many Japanese companies have ventured overseas following their customers, especially in the automotive and electronics end markets. However, most of these companies kept their product design departments – which specify which raw materials, parts or systems that are being used – in Japan. Thus, efforts are needed in Japan to achieve the approvals for products. I have extensive direct experience in this and can support such processes.
Outside Japan it is standard practice to set up multifunctional, temporary project teams, geared towards a specific purpose and working across the hierarchical structure. In Japan there is a strong tendency to adhere to the hierarchical structure and Project and / or Matrix structures are not functioning well. I can provide a complete project management methodology and have ample experience in setting up and managing multifunctional projects.