I want to always do my best in both work and personal life and live with a good balance between them.
Currently assigned to JVCKENWOOD U.K. Limited (hereinafter “JKUK”).
Joined the company in 2006. In 10th year after joining, was posted to JVCKENWOOD Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. (hereinafter “JKMY”), a sales base in Malaysia, for 1-1/2 years. Subsequently transferred to JKUK in the United Kingdom in April 2018 with responsibilities for car electronics sales planning.
Tell us about your career history and current work.
For my first seven years in this company, I was responsible for shipment operations to Asian regions in the Overseas Sales & Marketing Department of the Car Electronics Division. I remember that when my assignment was decided, I was very happy since I was being assigned to my first choice. After this, I was stationed in Malaysia for 1-1/2 years and then transferred to JKUK in the United Kingdom in April 2018. As the representative for car electronics sales planning, I am currently involved in activities for sales and achieving business profitability while coordinating with JVCKENWOOD Europe B.V. in the Netherlands, which oversees the EMEA* region, as well as the Hachioji Business Center in Japan.
*Europe, Middle East and Africa
What did you learn at the turning point that came in your eighth year?
The shipping work which I was first involved in provided me with essential knowledge that is related to all overseas sales operations, so it was good that I was able to build a solid foundation there. After that, I consulted with my supervisor about my wish to take on new challenges, and I reached an important turning point in my eighth year. Due to a change of responsibilities, I started to be involved with Yokota Air Base and distributors in India. I came to work directly with customers and learned many new things. Also, since my predecessor had established good connections with our customers over many years, I was able to build relationships of trust quickly even though I was new to the position. This made me truly feel that our own efforts and the personal connections we create should be passed on to the next generation, so I also want to develop strong relationships like those through my own work.
How was your first assignment at JKMY?
It was very exciting to work in a country with different cultures and customs. Since the things I assumed were only natural were not so in that country, I felt it was important to clear away my own ideas of what was “common sense,” and to become accustomed to the local culture as soon as possible. Although I was able to enjoy the differences between countries in my personal life, it was difficult to switch over to the new environment in my work. With large differences in everything from organizations, to ways of thinking, to culture, there were times when I made proposals based on my 10 years of experience and knowledge I had gained in Japan, only for them to end up being unsuitable to Malaysian business customs. I fully realized how important it is to be flexible in everything and create good relationships with local employees so I could consult with them when necessary, while not being bound by my own values.
Tell us about some of the things that made you happy and left strong impressions on you.
People in Malaysia have a deep sense of duty and humanity, so personal trust has a tremendous effect on business there. There was one dealer whom I had many discussions with since we had some difficulty reaching an agreement on prices. That dealer held a farewell party for me when my transfer to the United Kingdom was finalized, and told me, “No matter how long it is from now, if you have a chance to come to Malaysia again I will take you out somewhere even if you are with your family, so be sure to get in touch with me.” To hear something like this in the end from that dealer, even though we had been on opposing sides at one point, made me very happy.
How have you been proceeding with work since your transfer to JKUK?
Due to my experiences in Malaysia, when I was assigned to JKUK I made sure not to start out with a negative attitude toward anything, but instead to first ask the local members how their operation was set up and what they thought about various things. I am working through trial and error on a daily basis, thinking of how best to communicate with the Head Office and at what points agreements can be reached in order to realize products that can meet local needs. I communicate with the Head Office in Japan while striving to earn the trust of local staff and customers so I can be accepted as a member of the team, so I always try to be flexible in my own ways of thinking.
Tell us about the workplace environment at JKUK.
JKUK's businesses consist of three main areas: the Automotive Sector, Professional Service Sector, and Media Service Sector. My greatest joy in working there is being able to share information and engage in activities that cross limits and boundaries. JKUK also has many local staff members with abundant experience, so I feel it is an outstanding and highly professional group. At the same time, the workplace environment is very friendly and cheerful. For example, one custom there is that if it is your birthday, you put out cakes and sweets in the kitchenette yourself. Then, when other company members see them they come and wish you well, so you spend the day receiving birthday congratulations from everyone. In addition, JKUK is actively involved in social contribution activities such as bake sales where homemade sweets such as cookies and doughnuts are sold within the company, and the proceeds are donated to various organizations.
What do you think about diversity and inclusion?
I consider diversity to be having various perspectives. Our company provides a wide range of products and services on a global scale, and their actual consumers are greatly varied. In order to provide services that can meet the needs of customers who have a huge variety of opinions and who differ in gender, nationality, religion, age, and educational background, I think that the people working at manufacturers who supply those services must also have a high level of diversity, so we should actively employ people who have different points of view. I think this is precisely what our company needs so that we can grow further in the future.
I believe that the JVCKENWOOD Group is a company that gives great opportunities to young people. It has an open corporate culture where it is easy to express one’s opinions. I also feel that it is taking positive steps to address work-life balance and diversity. That makes me believe even more that there are still points which can be improved when viewed from an even broader and more diverse perspective. I think it would be wonderful if each person could think about and select a career plan precisely suited to the stage of his or her life.
What does the word “work” mean to you?
I want to focus on balancing my work and personal life so that they mesh well with each other. For example, being assigned to posts in various countries, doing business with local people, and having the chance to gain many different life experiences will allow me to expand the scope of my career. Even in my private life, I think that by making friends whose ways of thinking differ from those in Japan, I will be able to enrich my personal skills and become more flexible in the way I think. I want to always do my best in both work and personal life, and live with a good balance between them.
JKUK office is based in London the capital city of England it has population of around 11 million and is thought to be one of the most diverse cities in the world.
It enjoys good harmony with all its people although they come from all 4 corners of the earth.
JKUK is already a diverse company employing different staff from six different countries in our EMEA* territories and respects other cultures as well as those of just UK.
We are now also targeting to bring in younger people as we have had such a loyal workforce many are approaching their retirement in the next ten years.
Our first graduate/intern from Oxford university joins us next month in the marketing team aged only 18 years.
Diversity to me also means the way we adapt to our fast-changing world adopting new ways to interact with our customers suppliers and UK and EMEA public.
The world has shrunk in the last 20 years and anything we or our corporation does is seen globally very quickly. I have arranged futurologist meetings for our senior managers and above (which we pass on to all our staff) to give them a glimpse of what is predicted to come and how we as JKUK can rise to it by being mainly pro-active rather than reactive.
The future together is a very exciting prospect.
*Europe, Middle East and Africa
Exterior of JKUK
Meeting space also serving as a showroom
Scene at a meeting
* Job titles and affiliations are as of publication time.