Table Speech

Initiation Speech

June 11, 2008

Mr. Amane Nakashima,
Mr. Tetsuya Ebata

“Quality Control at Food Processing Plants” 

Mr. Amane Nakashima,
Managing Director,
Q.P. Corporation

 QP recruits students that have been recommended by their professors from agricultural, fisheries, and food sciences departments. Many of the students are inexperienced, but are genuine, honest young men and women. These qualities are not so unrelated to food processing quality control. For those involved in the food business, an earnest and serious demeanor is required at all times.

 At the factory, efforts to streamline everyone’s work are being made, but the reality is that there are many labor intensive jobs that are not conducive to streamlining. We work 24 hours per day, 365 days a year, day and night without taking holidays to produce Japanese traditional lunch box meals (Bento) and prepared delicatessen foods sold in supermarkets and convenience stores. Most of the employees are part-time staff or temporary workers and recently, the number of foreign workers has also been increasing.

 On the food processing factory floor, even if there is employee turnover, a system with no room for mistakes in everyone’s work is required. It is important that all the tasks, which have been compiled in a manual, be repeatedly checked and carried out. It is also extremely important to create a task flow that reduces employees’ physical and mental burden.

 In truth, there is naturally complaint and dissatisfaction in this business. There is dissatisfaction over hourly wages and job content, disparaging of other employees, slander of the management and it goes on and on. These issues need to be stopped before they become serious problems, but there are even times when they do become serious problems.

 The level of motivation in the workplace can be enhanced by proactive participation in one’s work. As an example of measures taken recently, sheets explaining the goal of each job in the preparation process are displayed on the production factory floor in order for each employee to understand the meaning of each individual step for which they bear responsibility.

 On rare occasions, intermediate ingredients are used over the course of several days. As strict temperature and quality control are exercised, there are no concerns over quality, but if any doubt about the products, which one is making arises, it may lead to a sense of mistrust of the company.

 At such times, there is an anonymous survey system in place to take employees comments and opinions. If its basic standpoint of transparency to what the company is doing is conveyed to the employees, the overall relationship of trust will deepen.

“Effects Brought on by the Internet”

Mr. Tetsuya Ebata,
Representative Director, President and CEO,
All About, Inc.

 The transition from the pioneering period to diffusion period for the Internet occurred between 1996 and 2004 from Web 1.0-1.5. The year 2005 onward became the period for Web 2.0, ushering in the full exploitation of the Internet.

 In the Web 1.0 period, information that had been flowing in various forms came to be provided through the Web. If one accessed the top page of Yahoo! Japan, up-to-date news from various press agencies could be obtained. During this period, the advertising business played the central role. Since 2000, with the spread of broadband infrastructure, the number of Internet users has increased dramatically. Corporate use of the Internet has also increased.

 Business models involving recruiting advertisements, stock trading, condominium sales and travel and golf reservations were created.

 From around 2005 the world entered into the Web 2.0 era. The keyword for this period is “collaboration of knowledge”. Up to then most of the information flowing over the Internet was generated by large corporations or existing mass media. In the Web 2.0 period, information created by the users themselves began to flow over the Internet in large volumes. This is when we saw the emergence of the Social Networking Services (SNS), which were made famous by Blog sites and Mixi. These types of sites are referred to as the Consumer Generated Media (CGM).

  An environment in which Blogs became accessible through search engines was born. Advertisements began to flow even into small Blogs through ad distribution networks such as Google, and a structure that created individual revenue streams was born. Through this, the motivation to create and disseminate information blossomed.

 The emergence of CGM also affected the purchasing behaviors of consumers. Before visiting a store, consumers have already found information on the products and where the cheapest prices are. The consumer information environment has been enhanced and diversified. Company managers must now possess the Web technology capabilities to engage in management that is responsive to these trends. I think that the importance of the CTO post will become similarly crucial to the CEO and CFO posts.