One Stop Value Chain and All in-house Principle

Four-class training request to a company with only three employees

Immediately after the establishment of the company in April 2006, we received an order from a general trading corporation, to which we had a small deals before, for new graduates training on “Logical Presentation” based on our publication. It was the order of offering four classes training simultaneously as the number of new graduates was fairly large, but there were only three employees at that time. At first, we did not get what our counterpart was meaning, so responding with a hesitation “We had only three people …”. Then, the reply of the client was “Yes, we knew that. But please provide four instructors”. We had two months left before the training, so we interpreted the order from our client was their expectation for us to bring up the company to the next level by then. We made up our mind to look for instructors crisscross for the training otherwise our future was not guaranteed missing this great opportunity.

Two conflicting issues: High-profile instructor and low-profile instructor

However, it was not easy to find instructors in two months. After deep consideration, we have decided to ask for a help to senior and junior consultants of the previous work. Training was successfully done after two months without any problems, but there was a dozen of problems in the process. High-profile instructors, like senior consultants with proven track record as an instructor, can give training without taking time for practice. However, things often get uncontrollable as a company because high-profile instructors tend to insist that “rewards is too small”, teaching materials have some mistakes here and there.” On the other hand, low-profile instructors like junior consultants without teaching experience, are willing to take money and teaching materials as they are, but it takes longer time than others to be trained. Before letting low-profile instructors stand by themselves, we kept practice day after day.

Worries as an outsourced instructor

In addition, there was not much training offers at the beginning, Takada, as the representative director of Precena, was giving training under other training provider’s scheme. There were another issues in this outsourcing business. One day visiting a client for the training arranged by other training provider, the client had a totally different expectation to the training and teaching materials prepared by the training provider were absolute useless. After all, Takada apologized to the client, and conducted the training without teaching materials. Also, what had been noticed when giving trainings as outsourced instructor was that the more Precena instructors made a great performance at the training, the more clients appreciated other training provider which arranged the training, not Precena. Client often said like “This teacher was very good. Please introduce a good teacher next time as well!” The praise was not directed to instructors who actually gave trainings.

Shift to all in-house principle

It was only half a year after the founding of the company when we came to the conclusion that we should keep all the key elements of the value chain, namely “sales”, “material development”, and “instructors”, in-house as a training provider. Once all instructors are retained internally, we do not have to bow to high-profile instructors who are sometimes out of control, and do not have to spend time coordinating the time and payment. Also, we do not need to train low-profile instructors. All the satisfaction of clients to our training were granted to success of Precena. While we are now able to maximize our time solely for our clients and all success we make strengthens our brand, this shift to all in-house principle, however, was a drastic decision to enter a fixed cost heavy business. It is not an easy path to take because qualified instructors should be recruited constantly and kept hired unlimitedly. Currently, although there are some areas where partnership and alliance are sought outside, the concept of “all in-house principle” has taken root and remain unchanged even now.

Advantages that all in-house principle brings to the company

All in-house principle brought about many benefits that we did not expected, and resulted in building up the competitive advantages we have at present. Below is some of the advantages of all in-house principle.

Service offering of internal instructor training

As also referred in the past achievements, Precena had been offering a service called “in-house instructor training” until now from 2007 for Toyota Motor Corporation and its affiliates. This is the service by which Precena instructors teach Toyota instructor candidates how to facilitate trainings as instructors when senior employees give training as advisors to junior staffs. This service can be offered just because Precena keeps our principle that all instructors are internally trained. It is our core competence that there is an established and structured method how to educate and train inexperienced instructors internally from basics like “What is the teaching?” to practical facilitation method that makes it possible to sell to our clients as service offerings.

Brand development at open seminar

Precena has been hosting free open seminars for untapped market. Unlike other company’s sales seminars, Precena’s open seminars offer full day training experience that are exactly the same as actual training with real teaching materials (on condition that the training material is for personal use only). The way we conduct open seminars greatly contribute to our branding as clients welcome the concept siting as “generous” and “unique”. Why can we give everything for free of charge? Simply because all instructors are Precena instructors. How to give training based on our materials is a black box unless you are Precena instructors who received internal training, and this is why attendees to open seminars can bring back all.

Sales outreach to clients nationally and worldwide

Clients of Precena are scattered all over Japan and abroad. The proportion of the sales from metropolitan area in Japan is only about 60 percent, and clients care located Hokkaido the north and the south to Kyushu. Clients far from Tokyo appreciate our visit to client sites, but this remote sales visits are made possible because of our policy of “sales” and “instructor” double assignments. Our competitor once said they cannot invest in sales activities outside of Tokyo for clients with low probability of deals. The competitor also said branch offices can be considered in Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka where enough number of deals are expected, but fixed cost should be incurred. At Precena, however, we can effectively reach out to our clients when instructors happen to be in region for training and have sales meetings with clients in that region along the way.