The key to quick settlement of LINE WORKS is that ‘introduction was made through the consideration of communication flow’. It enables insightful sales activities by sharing the trend of competitor companies in real time.

ASKA Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.   Interview with employees

 

 

ASKA Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

 

(Starting from right))

Business Planning Dept.  Inuta Kozi

Business Planning Dept.  Noguchi Hiroshi

East Japan Controlling Sector 1 Dept.  Date Miharu

East Japan Controlling Sector 1 Dept. Nouta Masahiko

ASKA Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. manufactures and sells pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The company is using LINE WORKS as a tool to enable communication between office and field employees, share information within employees, and sales supporting tool. We interviewed the admins Mr. Inuta, Mr. Noguchi about the LINE WORKS introduction and its after effects. Also, we interviewed Mr. Date, and Mr. Nouta about the actual usage cases of LINE WORKS.

Tell us about your company and individual roles.

– Mr. Inuta :

I am in charge of overall systems-related works, including fixing the employees’ computers, maintaining and repairing the company servers.

 

– Mr. Noguchi :

I am mainly responsible for rear support from the Sales Headquarters, such as preparation of sales support system and data preparation.

What were the issues before the introduction of LINE WORKS?

– Mr. Inuta :

Before transferring to Systems department, I was a member of Sales department. With those of experience at the Sales department, I have been thinking about faster communication. Since I was using 2G phone, I often had to turn on the computer to share the information at the field. For example, when there was a problem with our manufactured product, it was not easy to share information by taking photos of the product. Moreover, because it was not possible to keep the track of communication made through mail or SMS, the company was not able to manage the tools even if those tools were used for business purpose.

 

What was the decisive reason that drove you to turn to LINE WORKS?

– Mr. Inuta :

Since LINE WORKS has similar use instruction to that of LINE, the tool rarely provides a huddle even when first using the tool. And this was the decisive factor which led us to introduce LINE WORKS to our company. I believe that ‘the adopted tool becomes greater when used by employees’, instead of ‘please use the tool because it is great’. For this reason, easy-to-use function was the most important factor to consider. In our sales department, we have employees with various age bands, from their 20s to 60s. Because company communication tool should be able to be used by as many employees as possible, we placed a greater emphasis on choosing the tools that ‘has been heard from others’ or ‘can easily be used’.

 

How was the introduction of LINE WORKS?

– Mr. Inuta :

We first provided LINE WORKS accounts to the office employees, and conducted detailed guidance for the employees about the overall usage including creating groups. We did not specifically guide the employees when using it in the same department or team because we believed that everyone could use it as usual because it was almost the same as using e-mail or SMS. That is, instead of making horizontal connection within employees, we expanded it in a way of expanding the stem and leaves from the core vertex, which is office employees. Whom field employees contact the most are office workers, and they are mostly sending out information to other employees. We first figured out which part of the company works as a core for information sharing. When considering the flow of the communication, we concluded that the office employees should be the core. With this, we delivered detailed instruction for the office employees on the LINE WORKS usage.

 

As a result, 90% of the users were activated in just 3 weeks after the first introduction, and LINE WORKS was able to settle in the company very quickly.

 

How exactly LINE WORKS is being used?

– Mr. Inuta :

Other than from communication between office and field employees, we are also using LINE WORKS for communication between employees such as supervisor and subordinates. For example, we are sending out messages like ‘new material has arrived’ or ‘please come to the office for overview of new product’. Also, not only providing the personal account, we are also providing group account to the admin of the group. That way, the account can aggregate voice of all the group members as well as work as a representative of the group. And, the group account can also convey information to the whole. For example, when information comes from a new academic society, the information is passed from the academic department to the sales department. And, when the information related to the side effects is received, the department in which manages adverse effect information delivers the information to the whole. Focusing on where the information should be centered, we have created an account to deploy information to the other department than sales department.

 

What are the effects after the introduction of LINE WORKS?

– Mr. Noguchi :

We can now send MR staffs the same information on urgent contacts related to medicine and medical supplies simultaneously. We are also feeling that the employees’ message checking rate has also increased when sending the information through SMS. Not long ago, we sent out the information to the employees and checked their checking time. We found out that 80% of those employees read the message within 30 minutes. In the past, it was almost impossible to check whether the employees read the message or not. With LINE WORKS ‘Read’ notification, however, it is much convenient to actually see how many of those employees read the message.

– Mr. Inuta :

For those field employees who cannot visit the office often, we believe that it has become more convenient to communicate with others due to LINE WORKS since it enables seamless communication through the tool. For example, once the field employee finds a defect from the product at the customer’s place, the employee can now be able to take the photo of the product and send it to the Product Management department at the headquarters immediately. What changed the most is that it is now possible to make immediate response for the requests from headquarter. The speed of sales activities has definitely changed.

 

Let’s hear from Mr. Noda and Mr. Date, who are actually using LINE WORKS.

 

Tell us about your company and individual roles.

– Mr. Nouta :

I am MR(Medical Representative).

I provide medicine and medical supplies information to doctors, pharmacists, and related employees, ensuring them to use the medicine without feeling worrisome. Since I am in charge of large area, I work outside the office for the most of the time and work at an office about once a week.

 

– Mr. Date :

I am supporting MR’s sales activities.

 

How exactly LINE WORKS is being used?

– Mr. Nouta :

We are sharing information such as reactions of the doctors when making business-related contact, introducing our products, or even sharing the trends of the competitor companies through LINE WORKS. Also, when we need certain information, we use LINE WORKS to find the employee who knows about the information.

 

– Mr. Date :

We are mainly using LINE WORKS as a means of delivering the customer contact history or the request to the MR, who is mostly working outside the office. For example, when we receive a contact from our customer asking for more supplies, we notify MR and ask him or her to make response accordingly to the contact.

 

What are the effects after the introduction of LINE WORKS?

– Mr. Nouta :

Because our conventional means of communication was telephone or company’s computer e-mail, there were only a limited number of people who could communicate with each other. Further, for some employees, they could not reach out to the computer all day. For this reason, we often experienced time difference during information sharing. Today, however, speed of information sharing became much faster than before. Also, because we can find out whether the employees read the message or not through ‘Read’ notification, our overall workflow became much smarter and faster. 

By frequently sharing information and the news regarding trends of competitor companies, our company can now place future foreseeing sales activities. As we can freely share information by oneself as well as instantly hear from other employees about their idea and opinion, we can proactively place various activities.

 

Also, when comparing LINE WORKS with telephone and face-to-face communication, which we conventionally used in the past, we can hold the overall mood of the communication smoother using emoticons or stickers. With this, we can deliver the opinions, which was hard to deliver in the past, in more freely manner than before. In the past, when information was shared through face-to-face communication, the information was often received more heavily and seriously than it actually was, depending on its communication partner. Unlike this, we believe that information can be received in more smooth and fluent manner when using LINE WORKS.

– Mr. Date :

Up until today, we felt that SMS communication is more like one-sided communication since we could not find out whether the communication participant has checked the message or not. However, ‘Read’ notification from LINE WORKS helps us a lot, enabling both sender and receiver to find out who read the message. Specifically, younger employees are sending more responses to the massage than the past. As we can communicate with others only using the LINE WORKS stickers, the communication are actively held and this helps us a lot.

In fact, I have never used LINE even for personal purpose. Due to this, when I first heard about the introduction, I felt worrisome and also thought ‘Oh well, I do not know how to use the tool’. After actually using the tool, however, I felt that LINE WORKS was easy-to-use tool. I cannot imagine myself going back to those old days. I would be very much embarrassing if there is no LINE WORKS.

Example of sharing information with the employees from same department

Example of chatting room between office and field employees

※ All details, affiliations, and positions specified were gathered at the time of interview.

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