Standardization and Respecting Individual

The choice of applying the consultant culture or business company culture

To apply the “consultant culture” or “business company culture” in managing the organization was something that much time was spent considering during the foundation phase. The strength of applying the consultant culture is that the skill of each member is extremely high. All members can conduct work at a high level and whatever the demand is, the output is effectively produced by each member. On the other hand, the work becomes dependent on individual skills, and if that person leaves office, there is no one to follow up on the matter, making the organization inefficient in the long run. On the other hand, “business company culture” is in the most part, organized neatly based on function. That is, all tasks are broken down into functions, standardized, and if one follows the standard operation, certain level of value is created. This operation is very efficient to say the least. However, the voice of individuals tend to be less heard in such standardized operation. To do something out of the standard becomes difficult. Both ways had its merits and demerits.

Implementing the standardization culture from “Toyota”

One year after the foundation, Precena had the opportunity to work with Toyota in developing training material for “problem solving” and train their in-house advisors. At the time, there were only 4 staffs at Precena and all members traveled to Toyota and discussed about the content in great length. What is an “ideal situation”, what does it mean to “breakdown the problem”, why is searching for the “root cause” so important. Through discussing deeply about such topic day and night, the management team realized that “problem solving” rooted in Toyota is not only the PDCA cycle of work but also universal method of understanding all world phenomenon.

During the startup phase of Precena, it was Toyota that supported and trained Precena. Even when a newly entered staff participated in the discussion with Toyota, they accepted us with a warm heart and stated that “taking in Toyota way of standardizing operation is a highly welcomed approach”. All staff who enter Precena is one way or another included in Toyota project and everyone must learn the 8 step problem solving.

The management team at Precena was formerly from consultancy firms and all had a strong sense of systemizing business skills. However, the Precena’s deeply rooted culture to always standardize operations and improve the standard came from our relationship with Toyota.

Implementing the value of respecting individuals from a general trading corporation

Another company that gave great impact to Precena during the foundation phase was a certain general trading corporation. Starting from one training in “logical presentation” for cafeteria type training, our services to the corporation expanded to new entrant training, affiliate company cafeteria training, manager training and so forth over the years.

The “trading company way” of thinking was very unique and different from the “standardization and kaizen way” of Toyota and was characterized by much flexibility and change. A lot of request was given to us concerning the way of instructing and the personal quality of instructors. Through our interaction with the corporation, we deeply analyzed the difference between instructors that is recognized as professionals and those that are not. After much thought, the essence of this difference led to “personal quality” that enables the training to become alive. As a training provider, it is a pre-requisite to guarantee the quality of the training material but simply proving that is not enough. We also have to ensure that each instructor exerts personal character that brings the training to life and create chemistry within the class. It was the corporation that made us realize this critical factor to establish success in the industry.

The current Precena culture was established through combining the above

Experiencing both the importance of “standardization” and “personal quality”, Precena is now built upon both of these values.

Looking at the “function” and not the “person” is the basic idea of standardization. Not having to work based on somebody’s instruction but based on function wise standard operation brings about much efficiency.

However, the people that work within the standard operation must exert uniqueness. Operation is standardized but what to do within the operation is completely up to the individual. For example, a sales person should operate in a standard procedure but what and how to propose to the client is up to the individual. For training material development, the learning points and how to develop a training material is standardized but the content and the situation setting of the training material is left to the individual. For instructing, standard way of teaching the material is established, however, ad hoc value that each instructor can provide is left to the individuals.

Efficiency of operation is established through much standardization while equal amount of care is provided for staffs to exert their personal quality. This is Precena’s competitive edge concerning organizational management.