Highlight 1. Changing The Way We Work
Improving the productivity of office workers has emerged as a common social issue for many companies as business environment continues to undergo rapid change.
Fuji Xerox strives to raise its productivity by promoting its own new work styles. Lessons learned from these experiences are translated into solutions that are offered to customers to realize higher productivity, build a communication environment that holds value, and create a work atmosphere that allows all workers to fulfill themselves by realizing their potential. Referred to as "unity of words and deeds" (Genko-Itchi in Japanese), this approach is being used to leverage solutions to various social challenges including the promotion of diversity and devising countermeasures to global warming.
|The average annual hours actually worked per worker in OECD states |
Source: OECD Statistics (2014)
|(In Japan) Growth rate of the real labour productivity per hour |
Source: Cabinet Office, "The Action Guidelines to Promote Work-Life Balance" (numerical targets)
(Average annual growth rate between 2005 and 2014)
|(In Japan) Annual paid leave acquisition rate |
Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, "General Survey on Working Conditions 2015"
What we aim to achieve by promoting new work styles
It was in 1988 that Fuji Xerox first launched a management innovation campaign called the New Work Way. Since then, we have studied and implemented new approaches designed to support diverse work styles and have been committed to respecting individual initiatives aimed at encouraging employees to take on new challenges. As part of this campaign, Fuji Xerox took early action to adopt various employee support systems, such as childcare leave (fiscal 1988) and family care leave (fiscal 1990). To promote diversity, new measures were introduced in fiscal 2014 to support employees who prefer to work from home due to childcare or family care duties. Under this program, employees engaged in childcare or family care are now able to opt for flex-time work scheduling not bound by any uniform core working hours.
The purpose of promoting new work styles at Fuji Xerox is not limited to helping employees balance the demands of work and private life. Our ultimate aim is to improve productivity by raising morale and creating an environment that allows both individuals and organizations to achieve their best possible performance and bring out their latent potential. And our sights are set on fostering a culture that supports the diverse values of individual employees and the transformation of Fuji Xerox into a company where all find satisfaction in their work and joy in the achievement of growth. Widening our vision, our aim is to change how people work in all walks of life and contribute to bringing about a more fulfilling and comfortable society by offering to customers and all our stakeholders solutions and services that represent the successes gained from a tireless process of trial and error pursued within Fuji Xerox.
New work styles are the first step to changing society
The problems facing society have rapidly become more advanced and complex as businesses have become diverse and globalized. Simultaneously, dramatic advances in information and communication technologies (ICT) are generating an endless stream of changes. Fuji Xerox believes that in this challenging environment, the conventional business model centered on selling equipment and consumables is no longer sufficient to support value creation by customers and the process of social transformation. What is called for is a rapid shift to solutions and services designed to solve customer problems. Beyond that yet another challenge awaits us. We want to know how our employees can respond to the expectations of customers and society by learning to make appropriate and timely judgments about ways to move forward and continue to produce results. Today we see that many companies are grappling with the question of how to raise the productivity of sales staff, engineers, and other office workers.
At Fuji Xerox, we began promoting new work styles in the belief that better communication holds the answer to this question. Recognizing that what troubles our customers cannot be different from the challenges that we ourselves face, we embarked on analyzing our own work styles as the first step.
Promoting new work styles across business units
Promoting new work styles for sales staff, Customer Engineers and Systems Engineers was launched in 2009. The campaign went beyond these three specific functions, reaching across business units to reconsider work styles in collaboration with colleagues in such areas as General Affairs, Human Resources, Information Systems, Supply Chain, and Administrative Services.
Special attention was paid to transformation in the four domains – business processes, IT mobile environment, systems and rules, and office environment.
In business processes, we set out by visualizing and quantifying the tasks of each individual employee, a project requiring considerable patience and perseverance given the level of personalization in business processes. But this is definitely an area of unrivaled strength for Fuji Xerox. We identified waste and inefficiencies by tracing the flow of related documents and developing a comprehensive image of business processes and communications. Next we acted to thoroughly streamline ancillary operations related to application and licensing procedures. By adopting new work styles in sales, we actually reduced time invested in administrative work by about 52 percent. And by monitoring the quantified information, we ensured that the plan-do-check-act cycle would take firm root in our organizations.
In IT mobile environment, Fuji Xerox developed a new information sharing app for use as a business support tool. To create an environment for working anytime anywhere, we equipped our staff with lightweight PCs and installed systems for DocuWorks, a document handling software for integrated management of electronic and paper-based documents, Working Folder, a cloud service for document sharing, and net printing.Note 1
In the area of systems and rules, Fuji Xerox has overhauled HR systems and rules to facilitate working from home and back-and-forth direct commute between home and client sites. To improve the office environment, we have established a number of satellite offices throughout the Tokyo metropolitan area, including sites in Roppongi (Minato Ward, Tokyo) where the Fuji Xerox Headquarters are located and Nihonbashi (Chuo Ward, Tokyo), where the company's branch office has been located since May 2015. Other satellite offices have been opened at the Minato Mirai district in Yokohama and several sites in Chiba and Kanagawa Prefectures occupied since 2015.
- Note 1 Service for safe and high-quality printout of electronic documents and contents temporarily registered and stored in Internet-based files using Fuji Xerox multi-purpose digital color multifunction devices (DocuCentre-V, C4475MP) installed in 7-Eleven stores throughout Japan.
Satellite offices accelerate change in work styles
Frontline capacity has been reinforced as a result of Fuji Xerox's company-wide campaign to promote new work styles. For example, the New Business Group 2, New Business Sales of the Tokyo Region Sales stationed at Nakano-sakaue (Nakano Ward, Tokyo) has increased customer visits by 65 percent by utilizing the Nihonbashi satellite office since the spring of 2015. The dramatic increase is primarily due to the improved efficiency in the mobility of regional sales staff.
Lisa Adachi, a member of the Group working with customers in the Ginza and the Nihonbashi areas, explains the advantages of satellite offices. "From Nakano-sakaue to my customer's site it takes 40 minutes by train one way. But it's just a short walk from the Nihonbashi Office. Working out of the satellite office gives me so much more time to visit customers. It also makes it easier to consult with customer engineers and facilitates speedy response to customers' questions and requests." This serves as a kind of live demonstration of Mobile Work supported by ICT tools, enabling customers to see the practical benefits for themselves. Watching this exciting process has piqued the interest of many customers in Fuji Xerox solutions.
Improving the delivery of value to customers
Nihonbashi Office employees receiving satellite workers have also learned a lot from this initiative. Particularly valuable were the lessons gained from establishing the office in 2015 and rethinking office layout in the process of increasing floor space in July 2016, a process in which office employees played a leading role. "Thanks to this experience, I am able to explain the importance of workplace reform with greater conviction than ever before," agree all members who were involved in the project.
Tomoyuki Ishida, General Manager of the Tokyo Daiichi Department, explains the aim of this effort in the following terms. "What do clients need to solve their problems? The answer is always to be found in the particular customer. Our job is to demonstrate how we ourselves implemented reform and to help customers find their own answers."
Comfortable office environment with 20 percent less floor space
The total floor area of the Nihonbashi Office was reduced by about 21 percent, going from 1,660 m2 before the move to 1,300 m2 after the move. By eliminating desks with built-in file drawers, desk width was cut from 120 cm to 80 cm. At the same time, personal lockers were installed against the walls instead to provide room for personal storage. Necessary documents were digitized wherever possible and stored in a document management system (DocuShare).Note 2 As a result, 120 boxes of documents were discarded at the time of the move and a free-address system was introduced for seating to maximize floor space flexibility. Because of these changes, the office retained a feeling of spaciousness even after desks were added to accommodate employees working out of the satellite office. Efforts were also made to create an environmentally friendly setting by placing recycling stations at each floor to promote waste separation and paper reuse.
Promoting new work styles has reduced work hours through improved productivity, while Mobile Work has cut back on transportation time and saves natural resources. In addition to these gains, the reduction of floor space contributes to lower CO2 emissions.
- Note 2 Web-based document management and utility software realizes enterprise-wide information asset utilization.
Changes have increased time for creative activities
The results of these changes are well documented. Time spent in discussion with customers and other customer-related activities has increased by 80 percent, while total work hours have actually been cut by 11 percent. Another significant outcome of adopting new work styles is that the reduction of waste and the freeing up of available time leave employees with more time to think and communicate.
"Our members are making good use of the extra time they have after work. You see some engaging in selfdevelopment activities and others just spending more time having dinner with their families. These changes in personal life give a real boost to morale and help maintain energy levels in the workplace," explains Hitoshi Tsushi, Group Manager of the New Business Group 2.
What underpins this high level of motivation is the sense of accomplishment that comes from seeing how the equipment and solutions proposed to customers can help them overcome problems, and how in some cases this can even lead to changes in customer work styles as well as changes across society in general. "It's not only about selling products. Fuji Xerox's commitment to solving the problems that hamper our customers permeates our organization and has taken firm root in the front lines of our business," Tsushi says with pride.
Offering solutions that resonate with customers
Yomeishu Seizo Co., Ltd., a company with a history of more than 400 years, is beginning to change by implementing solutions proposed by Fuji Xerox. Serviced by the Account Solution Sales of the Tokyo Daisan Department, the long-established company is striving to achieve sustained growth by branching out from its core business making a traditional herbal liqueur to expand into general food products. To make this transformation work, Yomeishu concluded that employee awareness had to be transformed and the corporate culture overhauled. As a first step, it has launched into utilizing IT to create a platform for new work styles.
Takayuki Tanimura, Group Leader of Information Systems Group, Business Management Department at Yomeishu Seizo, describes what happened. "We were feeling our way in the dark when we started thinking about developing a platform for new work styles. We took a close look at examples of "unity of words and deeds" (Genko-itchi ) at the Nihonbashi Office and a wide range of solutions that were backed up by a wealth of experience and an impressive track record of real results. This gave us confidence by showing us a concrete vision of the road ahead. A really important step was taken when Fuji Xerox came up with a comprehensive proposal for an optimal IT environment that drew on all options that were available to us. But that was not the only thing that attracted us. What clinched the deal for us was the speed and thoroughness of the Fuji Xerox proposal team's response and communications. This was certainly a major factor in carrying this project to the finish line and to implementation in a short period of time."
Capable of integrated management of paper-based documents and all formats of electronic documents, DocuWorks dramatically boosts the utilization of intra-company documents when linked to multifunction devices and PCs. This has accelerated paperless meetings and is beginning to change internal communications including recordkeeping and storage.
Tanimura adds, "Once the installation phase is done, the key is to ensure that the management of the system takes root in the company and continues to achieve the targeted effects. Going forward, we expect Fuji Xerox to act as our partner in changing the work style throughout our company and in evolving our corporate culture."
Toshio Yamada, Executive General Manager of Tokyo Region Sales describes his excitement for the future in the following terms. "I am beginning to feel a difference in customer response. But really these initiatives have only just started. The real challenge for promoting new work styles still lies ahead. The changes we are proposing through these initiatives can deliver dynamic and exciting solutions to customers. This is what we want to achieve, but we still have a long way to go before we reach the heights we are aiming for."
Promoting new work styles moving from "quantity" to "quality"
The seven years spent on promoting new work styles have generated multifaceted results, ranging from realization of an improved work-life balance to the delivery of value to customers. Fuji Xerox believes two critical requirements must be met for the continued and successful evolution of these initiatives. First, there must be systems that assess the quality of labor input (the magnitude of value created) rather than the quantity of labor (hours of work). Second, a corporate culture that welcomes this paradigm shift must be fostered. With the cooperation of the Solution Service Development Group and the Research and Technology Group, Ishida, General Manager of the Tokyo Daiichi Department, also intends to visualize the contents of communication, including such details as the destination of emails and the frequency with which they are being sent.
Fuji Xerox's solutions and commitment to developing new work styles have always been focused on the concept of human-centered communication. The core idea is that by investing the time made available by new work styles as additional time spent with customers and in communication with other members, the implicit knowledge accumulated in individuals will be given a chance to circulate and be shared. This effectively lifts the overall level of knowledge throughout the organization and also encourages dialogue and exchange, leading to the creation of new value. When sales personnel directly experience this process, they are empowered to make exciting and attractive proposals that exceed customer expectations.
Ishida is determined that these efforts should continue. "We will continue to promote new work styles," he says, "with the aim of contributing to the solution of social challenges by improving productivity and promoting diversity. At the same time, we want to build an environment in which each and every employee can enjoy the experience of true growth."
As social issues become more complex and challenging, the only way to ensure continued business growth is by constantly improving the values we deliver to society and responding robustly to society's many demands and expectations. This requires each individual employee to nurture high aspirations and to internalize a broader and higher perspective.
Visualizing the process and enhancing the value of communication are exactly the strengths that Fuji Xerox has fostered over many years. To become a company that generates a constant stream of innovative proposals that can deliver fulfillment to stakeholders and contribute to the solution of social issues at the same time, we believe Fuji Xerox must endeavor to create an environment that provides maximum opportunity for employees to develop and express their talents based on respect for the individual and for diversity.