Not only sales of clinical biochemistry analyzer, but also offering of services including reagents
Clinical Biochemistry Analyzer is an instrument to measure components in blood and urine such as sugar, cholesterol, and protein for further medical treatment and health maintenance. JEOL’s “BioMajestyTM” series have satisfied the market’s needs and made great growth in the Japanese market share in a short period, because of the analysis capability of more than 100 different components in blood, as well as the use of small sample volume and reagent volume.
Rapid increase of market share owing to reduced running costs
JEOL’s clinical biochemistry analyzer “BioMajestyTM” series helps reduce the burden to patients and the running cost of medical facilities and test centers by realizing analysis with a micro volume of samples and reagents due to its unique method of diluting the patient’s sample such as blood. Since the sales start in 1996, the market share has increased in a short period. Hideyuki Tanabe, team leader, international business promotion team tells the reason for this growth.
“BioMajestryTM needs only one-third of a reagent volume compared with the conventional clinical biochemistry analyzers, reduces the running costs, and contributes to the earnings, so as to satisfy the trend of the age. Around 1996, in the clinical biochemistry analyzer market of 800 tests/hour or faster, JEOL’s share was 5% or so. Then, JEOL’s share continued increasing to be more than 30%, and JEOL became a power exceeding the top two manufacturers in Japan.”
Taisei Yanagisawa, Chief, Tokyo ME Group, responsible for domestic sales, used to work for a reagent maker initially, and then joined JEOL in 2011.
“For the Japanese market, the business of selling hardware has only been slowing down gradually. From now, it is necessary for us to switch our focus from “hardware to software”, requiring us to make inclusive offers to customers including services. JEOL also started selling reagents. Since I was working for a reagent maker before, I am used to handling them. In the future, I would like to be of help for users on our instruments, analysis systems, and reagents altogether.”
Reinforcing JEOL brand sales in the overseas market
Also in the overseas market, JEOL’s new movement has started. Tanabe, in charge of overseas sales says,
“For overseas sales, the OEM business to supply clinical biochemistry analyzer to Siemens was the majority of our business and only one model was marketed with the JEOL brand. In the near future, since two superior models will be released, we are going to make a large-scale promotion of the JEOL brand system. Actually, I will be stationed in Munich, Germany beginning tomorrow. My mission will be penetrating and promoting the BioMajestyTM brand. Yet, we are not stopping the OEM business. We would like to balance the JEOL brand instrument and the OEM business.” At the moment, overseas sales are being promoted with the cooperation of four sales agents. Tanabe’s main work is to support the sales agents.
“System trouble inevitably occurs. Then, I visit the customer with an engineer, along with sales agent. I was in Egypt the other day. It is my eighth year since I became responsible for overseas sales, mostly, I fly once a month to see our customer for about a week.” says Tanabe.
The most difficult thing in business is the communication with sales agents, continues Tanabe. Once a communication gap occurs, it can go from bad to worse. “If you misunderstand what matters with the other person in the first place, you end up going in the wrong direction. The other day, a quality trouble occurred. And I made the relationship with our agent worse by asking them “to obtain the data first”. However, the agent wanted us to trouble-shoot immediately. This made the gap in communication wider.”
Immediate visit to customer site at natural disaster
It is the same with the relationship with customers. Yanagisawa says, “It is important to visit the customer and ask for their requirements and complaints, without being asked.”
“If something happens, I will go and visit the customer and confirm the system as soon as possible. Once the system stops, the customer cannot conduct analysis, resulting in damages to both customers and patients. It is the same for a natural disaster. Systems are kept horizontal and once an earthquake occurs, the shaking may cause a failure of the system.” At Disaster Hospitals, whose mission is to treat sufferers, failure of the systems may impact the life of their patients. Therefore, he will take the initiative and go to check the systems, even if no such request comes from the hospitals. “At the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, we were gratified by the customers since we quickly repaired their systems.” At the 2018 Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake in September 2018, JEOL’s service people went into action one hour after the earthquake, without being asked by the company.
Proposal-based offering will be needed
Tanabe raised his three policies in terms of work.
“First, enjoy the work. Next, be sincere and honest. I am always trying to find a balance between JEOL, my customer, and myself and provide a fair response accordingly. In addition, understand the bottom line of a situation. Never leave things incomprehensible, and ask what I do not understand. I believe that when I understand the other, the other will understand me.”
Yanagisawa says,”Sincerity and do not complain.”
“My father never makes a complaint or an objection on business matters. If you complain, you will have a negative way of thinking. And that influence is not good to the people around you or on the younger people”.
Tanabe showed a feeling of sympathy, “it is important to do your work in a positive manner.”
“In the future, it will be hard to make a new commercial distribution such as sales of the JEOL brand system while I am in JEOL Germany, as the relationship with alliance partners will be complicated. But being optimistic, I think I can make it work somehow.”
While the business focus changes from hardware to software, an offering capability will be needed. Yanagisawa continues, “I joined JEOL, because I wanted a proposal-based offering.”
“When you begin handling analysis systems and reagents, the customers you face will extend from a biochemistry analysis person to a whole analysis center, so the opportunities to make various offers will increase. I would like to deepen the relationship with customers through the business, such as offering opportunities of seminars and study sessions to customers, instead of only selling products. It is not the age of communication through drinking parties anymore.” It seems the selling style has also been advancing for sure.