Will the coronavirus change the productivity of Japanese companies?

 

It is said that the productivity of Japanese companies is lower than that of non-Japanese companies. In fact, the companies and organizations I’ve worked for have had wasteful or inefficient operations. Three of the most commonly cited wasteful things are

 

(1) Meetings

(2) HANKO Culture

(3) Face to face sales

 

So, in this newsletter, let’s examine whether or not these will be changed by the coronavirus.

 

(1) Meetings

The main characteristics of a useless meeting are

“I have to attend a meeting that has nothing to do with my work.”

“It ends with just a sharing of information.”

“We got together to talk about it, but it didn’t come to a decision.”

But these are separate issues from working remotely, so even if the meeting held online, it won’t change much if the purpose of the meeting and the way to work doesn’t change.

 

 

 

(2) HANKO Culture

Not a few people say they want to work remotely, but have to come to the office to stamp documents. “The HANKO Culture is a major cause of the difficulty of working remotely,” some said. In June, the Japanese government announced that “a seal on a contract is not necessarily required. (FYI, it wasn’t originally required by Japanese law to put a seal on the contract, but the government announced it because many people misunderstood.)

 

Now there’s a greater awareness that other means of authentication, such as electronic authentication, are acceptable. So while many people think the HANKO Culture will change, I expect it to be about halfway there. The reason for this is that there are system costs associated with implementing alternative methods such as electronic authentication. However, 99.7% of Japanese companies are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and many of them cannot afford to invest in systems, so they continue to do things the way they used to. First, large companies that can afford it will be the first to adopt e-authentication. Second, it will be popular in companies that do business with such large companies. So I think it will take some time.

 

(3) Face to face sales

At the company I used to work for, we had a tradition of visiting clients at the end of the year to present them with calendars made by our company. I knew that it was useless to give them a calendar because it wouldn’t affect our work, and that we could just mail it instead of visiting, but I followed the previous custom.

 

But nowadays, most companies refrain from meeting with outsiders as much as possible. This is a good excuse to stop wasting time on face-to-face sales if the client side is willing to STOP. And since older people, who used to be reluctant to do online meetings, are now using ZOOM and the like, there will be less face-to-face sales and more business meetings over the phone and online.

 

These are my predictions. What do you think??

 

 

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