Addressing All the issues Related to Investigation Such as Speed, Knowledge and Capacity Having Greatly Improved the Efficiency of Information Gathering

Flexibly Used in R&D and Purchasing for Integrated Motor Makers

Toshiba (China) Co., Ltd.
User's Voice

Researches Outside the Field of Specialized Fields are also Easy to Conduct. Case Study of the Introduction of “SPEEDA” at at Toshiba (China) Co., Ltd.

The Toshiba Group develops a wide range of social infrastructure businesses, including energy, social infrastructure, storage, and ICT. With the mission of "for a better future for people and the planet", the company strives to build an infrastructure that everyone can enjoy and a data society that is tightly connected in order to achieve "a secure and safe life for everyone" and "social and environmental stability".

As a subsidiary of the Toshiba Group, the company uses SPEEDA, an economic information platform, to collect information on new business development and purchasing. We invited Mr. KAZUSHIGE OUCHI (hereinafter referred to as Mr. OUCHI) of the R&D Centre, Toshiba (China) and Mr. MASAKI MATSUNAGA (hereinafter referred to as Mr. MATSUNAGA) of the Purchasing Division, Toshiba (China) to talk about the business scenes in which SPEEDA is used apart from the head office's responsibilities, including governance, when developing new businesses in the Chinese market.

      Toshiba Group is a comprehensive electrical appliance maker that conducts a variety of businesses including energy, social infrastructure, storage, and ICT.
      TAs a subsidiary of the Toshiba Group, Toshiba (China) Co., Ltd. undertakes the role of the head office, including governance, while providing business support.
      At the R&D Center, in addition to research and development of cutting-edge and basic technologies for the Toshiba Group's wide ranges of businesses, we are also working to strengthen the development of new businesses in China in order to expand our business in the country.
      In the Purchasing Division, Toshiba is implementing the identification of good Chinese suppliers for all purchases handled by the Toshiba Group, the establishment of a SCM for Chinese purchases, and the implementation of purchasing support for the Toshiba Group companies in China and East Asia.
      There is a timely response to inquiries from the Japanese side. The transmission of information about the situation in China between the head office and the company has also been smooth.
      Toshiba has quick access to quality information through quick answers by the support desk and rapidly avoid risks arising from external factors.
      SPEEDA is used to address a variety of issues such as speed, knowledge, and research skills.
      Specialized fields that are difficult to research humanly have been made simple, which significantly increases the efficiency of information collection.

Toshiba (China) Co., Ltd, Acting as a Holding Subsidiary of the Head Office

Q: Please tell us about your company's business.

Mr. OUCHI: Toshiba China is a subsidiary of the Toshiba Group. Toshiba Group as a whole conducts a variety of businesses in China, and our company acts as the head office representative for the China region, managing and also providing business support.

I am responsible for research and development. In addition to research and development of cutting-edge and basic technologies, it is necessary to strengthen the development of new businesses in order to expand our business in China. Therefore, in the future, we will establish various new businesses centered on Toshiba China.

Mr. MATSUNAGA: I am in charge of the deployment headquarters. There are 16 staff, including me, and all of them are local employees except me. China mainly purchases equipment and parts used for thermal and hydraulic plants, motors, engines, lifts, etc.

Q: What are you working on when doing business in the Chinese market?

Mr. OUCHI: The R&D Center is conducting extensive research of the latest trends in China related to energy, infrastructure and semiconductors carried out by the Toshiba Group, as well as technology-related trends on which the Toshiba Group is focused.

Mr. MATSUNAGA: As the Purchasing Division, we conduct governance activities and provide information for the Toshiba Group's purchasing in China and East Asia. In addition, it is our main mission to introduce strong suppliers from China to our Japanese and overseas branches and to contribute to profit and loss by increasing purchases from China. Information gathering at the Purchasing Division is basically carried out by me and the local staff who are responsible for each area, but in specialized field, SPEEDA is used for information gathering.

The Introduction of SPEEDA has Resulted in a Significant Reduction in Research Time and Manpower.

Q: What efforts have been made to increase the efficiency and improve the collection of information?

Mr. OUCHI: The Chinese staff of the Institute have so far carried out the research themselves. In addition, when we dig deeper into a specific topic, we also need the help of a consulting firm. Since we are a subsidiary, we are commissioned by the entire Toshiba Group to conduct research on market trends in China. Because of the wide range of areas covered, the research takes a lot of time and effort.

Therefore, I usually have a project awareness for collecting information. In the process of finding a solution, I was introduced to SPEEDA by the other party, and during the conversation, I found it very convenient and signed up.

Mr. MATSUNAGA: The scope was extensive as it involved all of Toshiba's businesses, and a lot of effort went into gathering the necessary information, information on investigations commissioned by the head office, and so on. I also considered using consulting service. Instead of conducting a specific research in depth, I wanted to do it quickly and at a reasonable price, but I did not find a consultant who met the need. I was once invited by the R&D Centre to use SPEEDA, and the SPEEDA customer service staff, who could provide a response within 24 hours, made me feel suspicious but still felt attracted to the idea, so I started using it. Currently, the purchasing head office uses SPEEDA the most among Toshiba China companies.

Support Desk Responds in a Timely Manner and Avoid Risks Quickly

Q: What is the significance and value to your business of collecting information on site in China?

Mr. OUCHI: China is a huge market. The Toshiba Group is also working to expand its business in China, including social contributions, but much of the information about the Chinese market is written in Chinese. Since it is not easy to collect information and conduct research in Japan, we often receive requests for research from the Japanese side. So we use SPEEDA in order to respond to these requests in a timely manner.

Mr. MATSUNAGA: The term BCP (Business Continuity Plan) is in the spotlight these days. For example, when Shanghai was on lockout for two months due to the corona virus, it was our responsibility to consider how to ensure purchasing while maintaining production.

When there is a risk of external factors, information needs to be collected, compiled into a document and handed over to the Japanese side as soon as possible. However, it is difficult to get good information in a timely manner if you collect it by yourself. when events happen that could affect purchasing, such as flooding, power restrictions or a ban on the export of natural sand to Taiwan, we will send updates to the Toshiba Group in the form of a purchasing BCP report. The support desk used in order to gather information always gives me quick answers, which is really helpful. SPEEDA allows for quick access to quality information, attention to specific suppliers, purchasing in advance and efforts to avoid risk.

Significantly Improve the Inefficient Research Operations Caused by Manpower

Q: Tell us about the projects of your business before introducing SPEEDA.

Mr. OUCHI: There was no specific information service used before this, so when the Japanese side commissioned research, or when there was something they wanted to know, they had to gather information themselves. However, each person in charge is different in terms of what they are good at and what they are not good at, so it is not easy to conduct effective research into areas that they are not good at. In addition, it is difficult to judge the importance of information in areas that the person in charge does not familiar with, not to mention the method of research. As a result, a lot of time was spent learning while conducting surveys.

Mr. MATSUNAGA: At the subsidiary, everything related to purchasing in China has to be covered, regardless of what kind of the product. It must be done in such a way that you can answer questions the moment you have them, but you are often troubled by the lack of answers.

Besides, finding information on the internet requires know-how. Before the introduction of SPEEDA, speed, knowledge and research skills were a problem, but now it has helped that even problems that 16 people couldn't solve can be helped by SPEEDA.

Q: How can the trial and user guidance of SPEEDA help you?

Mr. OUCHI: Initially, only a few people who attended the presentation used the trial, but since two IDs were available for 10 people to log in, other members started using it.

At that time a briefing session on how to use it was held again, and they were able to use it individually without my guidance. Although the membership has changed due to personnel transfers etc., the SPEEDA user interface is so easy to use that everyone has become proficient in using it without any problems.

Q: What is the decisive factor when comparing the service with other companies?

Mr. OUCHI: The trial function of SPEEDA was the first one, and after actual trials I found it very convenient, so I signed the contract right away. The price was also very reasonable and cost-effective, so there was nothing to worry about.

After the introduction of SPEEDA, the Japanese side introduced several similar information platforms, but they turned all those down.

SPEEDA also Contributes to Producing Materials as well as Developing management and Business Strategies

Q: How do you use SPEEDA in your regular business?

Mr. OUCHI: Every morning, I can receive emails about updates on the topics that I’ve entered, which is very convenient. The threshold would be higher with your own service, but with email reminders like this, you can prevent missing out.

I always check my emails after entering my office to see what topics are of interest. If other companies have good measures in place, they will also share them with the relevant people.

In addition, SPEEDA is not only available in PDF format, but also in Word, PowerPoint and other editable formats for download. It is very convenient when creating company-oriented materials.

Mr. MATSUNAGA: In the past, I received information from one of our subsidiaries that a resin material maker was in an anti-dumping crisis. However, it was difficult to find information in such a specialized field even when searching the Internet. So I consulted the support desk of SPEEDA and received a quick answer.

In addition, I received information that China will strengthen the management of rare earths, and if I could gather and collate the information before the meeting the next day, I could discuss it with the people involved without wasting time. It would have been impossible to investigate this in such a short time just on our own, so we asked SPEEDA for advice and received a reply the same day, with timely information. Thanks to this, we are able to contribute to both the management and business strategies of the Japan Division.

Q: Are there any services or features that you particularly like about SPEEDA?

Mr. OUCHI: Just go to the homepage and search for keywords, you can quickly gather specialized information and key topics such as carbon neutrality have been in place. I really like that. It is also possible to gather timely information on trends and policies in the Chinese market, etc.

What’s more, the support desk that can respond to customers in less than 30 minutes is also very convenient. The ability to provide the information you want within a few hours is a great help.

Mr. MATSUNAGA: The first impression I got was that the answer was very quick. I wasn't expecting such a quick response, so I was surprised. Also, the articles were easy to search, and the industry reports and company information were very useful for our purchasing.

Useful for Gathering Important Information on a Wide Range of Areas and Overlooking Trends

Q: Talk about the results obtained by adopting SPEEDA.

Mr. OUCHI: The process of reporting the results of the research to the Japanese side, which has so far been a problem to be aware of, has been made efficient in all areas.

In addition, by entering the SPEEDA homepage and searching for keywords, you can find a wealth of information, which has greatly improved the efficiency of information gathering. The homepage now has about six tabs, all of which are related because of the wide range of Toshiba's business. Therefore, it would be very useful to summarize with keywords like this.

I think SPEEDA is a suitable platform for collecting a wide range of information. It is necessary to read the institute's papers etc., in order to investigate each technology in detail, but it is still very useful in terms of overlooking the trends in specific fields and relevance to businesses. It also plays a big role in differentiating the use with consulting companies, well demonstrating its advantages.

Mr. MATSUNAGA: From time to time, we issue purchasing BCP information when things are happening, and send it widely throughout the Toshiba Group, and the content of the BCP information I send is also available on the Toshiba head office's purchasing homepage.

Now, due to the corona virus, we are unable to have face-to-face communication with each other, and China has great potential as a purchasing base, but undoubtedly there are many risks in China. In order to make out the "risks" and make the most of the "potential", it is important to send out the necessary information as early as possible, not only for purchasing but also for sales and business divisions who say "it is very informative! "I hope we can increase the number of people we send it to", etc. This is very well received. By introducing SPEEDA, I feel that the ability to gather information has been greatly improved.

Q: Tell us about the frequency and purpose of your use of customized research service.

Mr. OUCHI: I am in the process of subscribing to the monthly report issued by SPEEDA. This monthly subscription report also summarizes important points, which is very useful. If you can't do all the research yourself, you can commission it according to your needs.

In terms of being able to conduct a comprehensive survey and a good cost performance, I feel it is more useful than other companies' services.

In the Fast-changing Chinese Market, Timely Information Gathering is Essential

Q: Please let me know if there is anything to expect from SPEEDA in the future.

Mr. OUCHI: In the process of researching and developing new businesses that meet the issues and needs of Chinese society, I hope to be able to use SPEEDA to quickly gather the necessary information to quickly challenge new businesses.

Mr. MATSUNAGA: It is now also fully in line with our expectations. We will use the information from your timely response as a basis for developing a purchasing strategy that will unlock the potential of China.

Recently, risks in China have been increasing. Labour costs are already rising rapidly, and trade wars, the abolition of incremental tax rebates and tariff exemptions, electricity restrictions, the appreciation of the RMB and depreciation of the yen, and lockouts have put purchasing in China at very high risk. Therefore, I hope to be able to instantly recognize the risks while using SPEEDA and continue to work on avoiding risks.

Q: Please let me know if there is any advice you would like to give to companies that are considering the introduction of SPEEDA.

Mr. OUCHI: If you do a trail, you should be able to see the benefits of using SPEEDA. If you are thinking of introducing SPEEDA, we recommend that you give it a try.

Mr. MATSUNAGA: Speed is life in this age. In the Chinese market, information is changing rapidly, so try using SPEEDA and see how it can help your business.

Thank you very much.

Toshiba (China) Co., Ltd.


The Toshiba Group develops a wide range of social infrastructure businesses, including energy, social infrastructure, storage, and ICT. With the mission of "for a better future for people and the planet", the company strives to build an infrastructure that everyone can enjoy and a data society that is tightly connected in order to achieve "a secure and safe life for everyone" and "social and environmental stability".

Type of industry

Integrated motors

Department, category

R&D, Purchasing

Main use scenes

Research and development, latest trends and tendencies, industry analysis, report writing, corporate research and analysis, new business development, policy trends

Toshiba (China) Co., Ltd.

Vice President and Director of the R&D Centre

Vice President and Head of Purchasing Division

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