In the fast-paced, emerging markets of the Asia Pacific, the Japanese market offers a unique set of challenges and opportunities. We had an opportunity to talk with Masahiro Ozaki, a representative of PwC PRTM Japan, to get his thoughts on doing business here.
My roles in Tokyo Office include to develop/maintain overall Japan business as well as to lead individual client projects. It is also another important role for me to develop office capability, which includes staff training, IP development, etc.
Currently I am co-leading two industry groups in Tokyo Office, high-tech and life science. I have been interested in how technology and science can change society. So, I am very happy to have opportunities, as a PwC PRTM Japan representative, to help scientists and engineers in the enterprises to more effectively create values for the society.
Firstly, it is commitment. I devote myself to solving client’s problems and to helping them to be successful. For this, it is important to maintain persistent and indomitable spirit, not giving up until we create value for them. Secondly, self-development. I try to develop myself continuously and aggressively. I would define “consultant” as a person who studies all the time. Thirdly, ethics. As a professional, I am always trying to keep high ethical standards. It is crucial so that I can be proud of what I am doing.
I would say that two biggest issues/challenges for Japanese companies are “globalization” and “innovation”
First, let me talk a little about overall situation in Asia. As for demand side, it is truly an emerging market. There are a lot of attractive new markets having increasing population with increasing income. As for supply side, Asia is definitely an attractive area for business operations such as manufacturing, R&D, service provision, and so on; having inexpensive high quality labors as well as good access to the emerging markets.
Then, looking at Japan, I have to say that the situation is opposite. It is an aging society with decreasing population. It is also a mature high-cost society. Given this situation, it is clear that Japanese companies cannot expect steady growth by just focusing on domestic market as well as that they cannot be competitive without globalize operation. How to globalize is the critical question for many Japanese companies.
The other important question for them is how to be innovative. Low cost high quality operation cannot be the competency any more, observing emerging companies in emerging region. Capability to create innovative products/services as well as business model is a really key for survival.
Needless to say, globalization is a cross-regional effort involving global resources. PwC PRTM Japan is a global network of firms that can support those initiatives. In fact, more than 70% of our Tokyo Office projects are global initiatives in this couple of years. I myself am currently helping Japanese pharmaceutical company’s global R&D reorganization, leading global consulting team. Through these experiences we have accumulated knowledge as to how companies can globalize their organization/operation successfully.
“Innovation” is the other key areas that many Japanese companies are struggling, and this is one of PwC PRTM Japan’s focus areas historically. We understand why some companies are more innovative then others and have established best practice framework for innovation management. Leveraging this unique expertise, we have been helping many companies to become more innovative and generate new value to their customers.
I would say we are differentiating ourselves by focusing on what we are good at. Let me give our three “focus”.
Firstly, we have industry focus. PwC PRTM Japan has been historically focusing on high-tech and life science industry. We are trying to be more knowledgeable about client jobs than the clients. For the client, one of the most frustrating things in hiring consultant is to see consultants start studying the industry when project start. We can provide the value from the first day of the project. Secondly, we have practice area focus. We are focusing on three key operation areas, customer experience, product/service development and supply chain management. Being recognized as a global thought leader, we are confident that we have unparalleled expertise in these areas. Thirdly, we are focusing on implementation. “Result, not report” has been our slogan for long, and we are always sticking to it. Based on this philosophy, our consultant approach itself is different from others.
There is no doubt that raw intelligence is important asset for consultants. However besides it, sincerity is vitally important. As professionals, we will never be successful unless we can get trust from our client.
I think specialty is also important. I would hire somebody having a super capability or experience in a specific area, rather than generalists.
Other important quality is vitality/energy. Our themes are always challenging: clients come to us when facing issues they cannot solve by themselves. We cannot provide true value to the client without passion and indomitable spirit.
Lastly, let me mention interpersonal skills. True results cannot be achieved without changing people in the client. If your client feels uncomfortable working with you, you never be successful.
PwC PRTM Japan is a sincere firm which exclusively focuses on the client success, which I am very proud of: PwC PRTM Japan always esteems tangible results, but not just beautiful reports. In the client companies, I see a lot of capable good people who are, however, frustrated with their situation. Working in PwC PRTM Japan, I have chances to help those people that I like overcome discouragement and be successful, which I feel happy with.
I also like PwC PRTM Japan’s collaborative culture. I get excited when I feel my becoming innovative through interaction with different people with different expertise. This collaborative culture also helps me to build great relationship with client people. Through my PwC PRTM Japan career I have met and worked with a lot of excellent executives/managers and have been maintaining great relationship with them.
Finally, I like that the work is very intellectually challenging. It gives me chanced to develop myself. Even as a director, I can still feel I am growing everyday through the project work, which is very important for me.
If being translated back into Japanese, make sure when talking about the services being provided to clients that it’s clear PRTM is helping the client, as opposed to PRTM owning the project, strategy, outcome etc.