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Strong Dealership Infrastructure Set

14 Apr, 2008 By: Tetsuo Kubo imageSource

Strong Dealership Infrastructure Set

In Japan, most OEM's direct sales have dominated the market; so many dealers
depend a lot on OEMs, having no real service operation of their own.  But here
is an exception: The Yachiyo Coa System, Osaka, is one of the strongest and most
aggressive dealerships in Japan who is profitably leading in copier/MFP sales
and in power of service.

According to leading industry newspaper, OA Life, Yachiyo Coa System has got
its own sales philosophy, and has been selling office equipment, mainly copiers
and MFPs.  In February, the company held a party to celebrate the completion of
a new office building in Nagoya (their seventh) which will be the center for
their business expansion in central Japan.  The company has 430 employees to
serve 70,000 customers in their sales locations, from Kyushu to Tokyo, and will
celebrate their 40 year anniversary next year.

Mr. Takahiro Maeda, chairman and the founder of the company, has set a policy
to form sales teams consisting of 5 people in each team, and currently has 60
teams working in each sales area.  Each team is the basic unit of the
organization, and all work together as a team to take courteous care of
customers under instruction of a team leader. Also, as the company has seen from
its foundation, the key for customer satisfaction on office equipment is
substantial high-quality service. Accordingly, the company has assigned to
service, experienced people to establish a "faithful service structure” of
customer loyalty.  Under such a management policy, the company maintains high
customer retention rate and achieves stable profits while having mid or small
size companies as the majority of their customers. The new building has been
built & funded on  “its own money.”

After the party, Chairman Maeda, and Mr. Masao Maeda, President of the
company, stated that their policy is to keep the culture that unites all
employees and best serves their customers, and pass that on to the juniors in
the company, steadily expanding the scale (of operations).

In order to execute the policy, the company does not head hunt from
competitors or buy out their competition while recruiting, and values the
company culture with a belief system of "seniors educate juniors."

The Technician “Shame Doctrine” over LOST clients

In recruiting new employees, they will hire people as a Sales Supporter (SS)
to work as a driver, installer, and in charge of writing an end-of-the-day
report for the team. It takes at least 5 to 6 years (8 to 9 years in the case of
Osaka) to become true Service Technicians. Being a Service Technician is a
sought-after position in the company, and requires higher stability and
credentials which makes the gate narrower. Therefore, candidates are trying to
obtain various certificates such as in network construction or work-related
areas, or as system administrators.  They have a Service Technician's strong
spirit of retaining their company’s customers to avoid being “shamed” of losing
their customers to competitors.

"There is no actual penalty for a Service Technician who loses a client,”
said President Maeda, “but this concept has taken root among most technicians
themselves, so that if that happens, it results in a ServiceTechnician's ‘shame’
doctrine," said president Maeda. Obviously, Japan’s culture takes their
customers and the work that each does, quite seriously.

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