To empower individuals to increase productivity

This is Nikkei’s (a famous newspaper focused on the economy in Japan) interview article published on January 29th, 2020.

What kind of mindset and system is necessary to realize the reform of working style?

Yukihiro Wada, who was recently assigned as an outside director of beepnow systems, says, “It’s a system that allows employees to act without hesitation, and it’s a system that can be used without hesitation. It is important to clarify the purpose of the system and make use of a system with specialized functions.

What do we need to change about the way we work? What is the mindset?

The theory has been known well. It is to reduce wasteful work and useless communication. However, I have never seen a successful case of simply advocating it. Google is very productive. It is because they focus on the “how” and set the rules for how to work. For example, a meeting could be done for 25 or 50 minutes. They send the materials in advance and use the last five minutes as a summary. Employees are naturally more productive without hesitation.

A certain mentality and public institution alone do not make you productive. It is necessary to have a mechanism, a framework, or a mechanism for cooperation that allows a lot of things to be done in a short amount of time within a company. It is a big mistake to reduce output by reducing working hours. It is important to set productive goals and set the quality and quantity of output, and how to reduce working hours in a way that maintains them. Not only in Japan but also globally, there are many companies that are ambiguous about this.

What role does the system play in promoting work style reform?

Few companies offer guidance on how to make these documents and the completed output. Different people use different functions of the software, but if you define how to create the material and the finished form, you will be able to create uniform documents no matter who is doing it. Incorporating different people’s ingenuity into processes does not lead to increased creativity. Eliminating confusion and increasing efficiency is key to using the system to increase productivity.

Employee experience is key, as well as the customer experience. On the other hand, we use necessary functions as needed, just like smartphone apps. Smartphone apps are used as designed. We do not use smartphone apps beyond the app’s functions. Using the 10 functions, not 8 or 12, is required to accomplish the goal. The system that is generalized will disappear and the purpose-specific systems will increase.

Although Japanese companies have manuals, there are many cases where productivity is low because fundamental efficiency improvements in business processes are neglected and management is only concerned with small improvements. To radically streamline business processes, it is inevitably necessary to leverage the newest technology to integrate with other business processes while breaking them down into appropriate smaller units to make them more efficient.

It is impossible to reduce the workforce in the service industry where staff are essentially required to provide high-quality services. To differentiate ourselves from our competitors by providing added value, it is also essential that we do not diminish the feeling of the work site by providing little value. To achieve this, it is overwhelmingly important to have a management team with deep understanding of what a simple, easy-to-use system is, and to make quick decisions based on that deep knowledge.

What do you expect from beepnow as an outside director?

A huge amount of time is required to gather information because each person is different. I was intrigued by beepnow’s pursuit of high productivity by shedding light on it. Now is the time to develop systems and expand the brand in various areas, such as this one for A and this one for B. While the individual systems are easy to use, they are connected and can manage information behind the scenes. I would like to advise them on how to do that.

Interviewee: Yukihiro Wada, Outside Director of beepnow

Yukihiro Wada graduated from Tokyo University with a degree in Law in 1992 and received his MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School in 2001. He had experienced working in McKinsey & Company and Advantage partners. In 2014, he became CEO of Interbrand Japan. In 2016, he worked as Head of Business Strategy Division and Head of Analytics at Google Japan. In 2018, he became CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) and CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of Skylark Holdings. In 2020, he became an outside director of beepnow and an executive officer of Uber Japan and head of UberEats sales in Japan.

This is Nikkei’s (a famous newspaper focused on the economy in Japan) interview article published on January 29th, 2020.