How to Create Added Value: Understand, Then Attract People

Hello, I am Ichiki of Sync Logistics.
This issue is a continuation of last week’s issue. This time, I’d like to share how to create added value.


■Understand vested interests and intentions


I believe this is the first step. As automobiles are being exported from Japan, vested interests will arise among people in various positions. It’s really hard to create such value as “exporting one car” when each person has a different role and level of authority within their company, job type, and position.

If you are a sales manager in charge of exports to Chile in the automobile export business, you are responsible for sales and gross profit while possibly training team members, and giving incentives based on sales performance.

If you are in charge of customs clearance, you must do your job without mistakes while complying with the Customs Business Act. Moreover, when a ship is about to arrive at a port, and the number of daily loading orders increases, there’s also the limitation of completing all tasks within working hours. Everyone’s devoted to their work under different kinds of pressure due to their varying roles and responsibilities.

Whether meeting someone for the first time, or in doing daily tasks, proactively understanding such vested interests is the first step. Such understanding will reveal areas that can turn into benefits (added value) for all involved.

I’d like to share something about when I was a new grad and I’ve just started working.

In those days, I constantly asked my immediate supervisor, our company president, our customers, and our partner companies questions such as “What is this for?,””What does this mean?,” “Can I change how we do this to this?”

As a new grad, I think I was a handful, but it was important to me to keep a high level of interest in the people I worked with. I feel this is an important ability for people who build logistics services.


■Clarify the purpose, and consolidate the mutual benefits


When you can understand the vested interests of each person involved, you will be able to categorize which parts are mutually beneficial and which parts are not.

Although car salespeople may want to accept shipping orders right up until the ship leaves the port, mistakes are likely to be made on last-minute customs declaration forms, and the workload of those who are actually loading the ship increases instantly. On the other hand, all parties are, at their very core, money-making companies, so efficiently exporting as many cars as possible is a mutual benefit.

I call these categorizations “value factorization.”

Among everyone involved, some are busy every day, some are not being recognized for their work for some reason, and some are like the me of ten years ago who lacked the knowledge and experience to understand what I was doing things for.

When we face such people, we can ask them, “We are creating this service with these mutual benefits and goals, aren’t we?” When more and more people agree to this, the desire to take on the challenge of doing something that has never been done before will emerge among all parties involved.


■Saying “I’ll do it” right away


After the shared value for all involved has been grasped, the huge barrier of “feasibility” will emerge.

“What should we do if we fail?”

“What if something unexpected happens?”

“I don’t want to be held responsible for something we’re not sure how it will turn out.”

When these things start crossing the minds of those involved, initiatives, both large and small, will stagnate. Especially in Japan, there has been a tradition of taking responsibility for failure by committing ritual suicide, or more recently, resigning from one’s post. For this reason, there has been a tendency to be very conscious of feasibility.

Therefore, we tend to spend much time on services and initiatives that are extensions of what we have done before.

The thing that seems to be happening a lot now is that people focus on what they could do, and not on the services that the world needs.

In this light, when creating added value, I try to say “Yes, I’ll do it”right away even though I’m aware I can’t do it on my own. I’m not being flippant, but it’s my way of showing I am willing to work. By showing this, the following effects will arise:

– I’ll be able to squeeze out all of my knowledge in order to make what I said come true; and
– the number of friends and supporters who will take on the challenge with me will increase.

But I do think it will take a lot of courage before you get used to saying and doing this.

In creating (value-added) services needed by the world, there are methods which allow you to completely shelve doubts such as “Can I do this?” and processes that will allow you to gather up human capital will inevitably emerge.

When you are actually able to do this, you will really enjoy your work, and you will come to greatly believe in your potential in your work and in your personal life.

During this decade, we would like to continue to create more value-added services needed by the world.

Thank you for your time.