Thanks to LINE WORKS, communication efficiency between headquarters and stores has definitely increased. What took 3-day has now shortened up to only few-hour long. Daily updated operation manual can now be promptly delivered to the stores.

Baribari Company   Interview with Mr. Hiroi, Mr. Tokunaga, and Ms. Iwamoto

Baribari Company

 

District Manager  Tokunaga Genki (left)
​Head of Publicity and Production Team
Business advisor  Iwamoto Eri (center)
District manager  Hiroi Akira (right)

The Baribari Company operates the popular Gifu Tanmen of the Gifu Prefecture, and the Hakata ramen, Baribari-ken of the Aichi Prefecture in Japan. LINE WORKS is utilized as a communication network between headquarters and district managers, as well as between store managers and employees. Here is what district managers, Mr. Hiroi and Mr. Tokunaga, alongside with Ms. Iwamoto from the Publicity and Production Team, who is in charge of the introduction, say about LINE WORKS.

Tell us about your business operations and the role you play.

– Ms. Iwamoto, Publicity and Production Team: 
As a part of the Publicity and Production Team, I am in charge of holding public relation activities and producing promotional materials in-and-outside the office. I am also in charge of incorporating LINE WORKS into business operations. 


– Mr. Hiroi, District manager: 
Until last month, I worked as a manager at the Original Tanmenya, Ichinomiya Inter district, I held employee training as well as sales management. I am currently managing five stores in Aichi and Gifu.


– Mr. Tokunaga, District manager: 
As a manager of five branch stores, I am in charge of managing issues arose during operations, training managers and employees and counseling on store operation.

What were some problems prior to adopt LINE WORKS into your business?

– Ms. Iwamoto, Publicity and Production Team: 
In the past, the majority of business-related communications were dealt with phone calls. But, now we are able to use the store computer to check and send emails. However, there are employees who are unfamiliar with computers. Also, some of the employees can only use the computer about fifteen minutes before and after their working hour. For this reason, it was difficult to check and respond to emails on time. This resulted in bringing in more ineffective way of working, which is writing important matters on memos and posting them on store employee bulletin boards. 

Using LINE for business purposes has increased over the past few years. However, because LINE is connected with personal accounts, private information was being overly exposed. For this reason, we felt that LINE was unsuitable to use it as an official company communications network. Actual names were not used on the LINE account for the most of the times. Moreover, although there were unsuitable photos on the employees’ profile, the company could not simply ask them to change the photos with the reason of business matters. There was also the complaint from employees that both personal and business matters often got mixed up within conversations, making it difficult for them to follow up.

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

– Ms. Iwamoto, Publicity and Production Team: 
I first heard of LINE WORKS through a company employee. Because I was already using LINE at the time, I quickly caught that LINE WORKS has the same features as those of LINE. Such similarity ultimately motivated me to go with LINE WORKS. Simple conversations and phone calls can also be made even without knowing employees’ IDs. We determined that LINE WORKS is suitable for the job environment, as it guarantees the confidentiality of personal information. 

We first used the trial plan, but almost immediately made the decision to upgrade it to paid plan. Since we based our decision on groupware that includes emails, it is true that we inquired other groupware options as well. However, we soon found it difficult to use the other groupware tools since notifications were only sent and received through email, as well as limited computer use in stores. Due to its difficulties that we faced while delivering messages on-site, we felt that the groupware was simply just not enough for us. 

Before incorporating LINE WORKS, we decided to post note about advantages of LINE WORKS, allowing employees to catch a glimpse of what LINE WORKS is. This essentially made the whole transition process much smoother than we anticipated.

How exactly is LINE WORKS is being used in your company?

– Ms. Iwamoto, Publicity and Production Team: 
Today, we have organization composition as headquarters, managers, and other employees. Since store personnel changes frequently, the company does not create a separate group only for store members. If we create groups with organizational units of headquarters, managers, and other employees, there is no need to renew the member every time when employee changes. 

The headquarters send renewed manuals or notifications of blog uploads to each district manager or store manager. I think the biggest advantage of LINE WORKS is that we can easily share rundown videos of new devices, share customer surveys, and also upload videos and photos at the message room.

 

– Mr. Hiroi, District Manager: 
From making public announcements to delivering details about work, we use LINE WORKS in every purpose. While working as a manager, I used LINE WORKS to assign employees work, including new employee training and work schedule planning. I also use LINE WORKS to send business reports to district managers. Whenever part-time employees were absent and needed someone to fill in the spot, we could quickly get into contact with managers from other stores using LINE WORKS. Also, we could also contact district managers when problems arose.

It was convenient to communicate with other store managers or district managers through LINE WORKS when sharing concerns, including store closing operations and other details that are not written in the manual. 

Since LINE WORKS is similar to LINE, it is very easy to use. I like it since we can use stickers for better communication. We use stickers to lighten the mood when continue discussing about the serious matters. 

After I became a district manager, I began to use the Calendar function as well. As a district manager, there are frequently held meetings that I have to attend. Due to this, my schedule became more hectic and confusing to control. Therefore, I use the Calendar function to manage everything. I can save work schedules on a Drive and access to the schedule at any time, while managing duties through the Task function. There have been suggestions among store employees to use LINE WORKS at personnel interviews as well.

 

– Mr. Tokunaga, District Manager: 
I frequently contact the store managers that I am in charge of and employees from other departments at headquarters. I made group message rooms with my store managers to talk about sales profit, operations, management of the store, and employees training as well. I also use LINE WORKS to contact the headquarters departments for accounting, production, product development for business-related matters, and share the progress that are being made at the new stores.

 

      

Example of headquarters contacting store                   Example of headquarters contacting store                     Example of communication between stores

What kind of changes took place following the use of LINE WORKS?

– Mr. Hiroi, District Manager: 
When we used LINE, we contacted one another about business matters even on days off. However, after introducing LINE WORKS, the boundary between personal and business matters got more defined. 

Up until now, we used emails, personal LINE accounts, and other means of communication, which led to encounter problems like forgetting who sent what. But with LINE WORKS, however, the different means of communication became integrated into one tool, and therefore, problems disappeared.

It is easy to contact someone because of the group categorization. Separating the groups by its message room also provides a sense of relief by allowing the employees to check the contacts from the headquarters first. There were cases when I used to send message to LINE to find out whether or not the person I emailed checked my message. However, there is no need for this now, and as a result, it increased its efficiency. 

– Ms. Iwamoto, Publicity and Production Team: 
It is clear that communication among employees has truly speeded up after introducing LINE WORKS. There were times when it took two to three days for a store to receive a reply from the headquarters. With LINE WORKS, however, the store can receive replies within a few hours. I think this is possible because the group categorization helps employees to see who the sender is. I also think that the level of stress among employees was also reduced as there is a clear boundary created between personal and business-related communication. 

LINE WORKS also helps employees share idea and opinions without burdening them, while enabling a greater efficiency of work processes. Unlike LINE, this is an official company communication network that connects everyone from the CEO to on-site employees. As the company grows, the store operation manual is renewed in a daily manner. The expedient manual sharing also helps increase business efficiency as well as the quality of service offered by the company.

 

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

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