Travels of the World
Technical Support Interview with General Manager Hideki Takahashi

テクニカルサポート 高橋GM Technical Support
Interview with
General Manager Hideki Takahashi
Greatly experienced in Japan and overseas,
he is the mainstay of
the Support Department
in N. America.
Interview Interviewer: Miki Shimamura, caribou Inc.

Covering a huge area over North, Central, and South America through conscientious, Japanese-style customer support.

Tell us about the work of the Technical Support Department you supervise.

高橋秀樹GM As a manager, my main role is to provide technical support.
I visit the Sodick Inc. technical centers in California and New Jersey to provide staff training to improve their skills.
I don’t often deal directly with customers at American corporations but I get involved in discussions if a problem occurs that the staff on-site cannot handle.
I solve the problem by myself if I can. If not, I play a bridging role to liaise with Japan.

Sodick Inc. puts a lot of emphasis on after-sales service.
What do you pay attention to?

The feature of Sodick service is how we deal with customers.
I feel that if we deal with customers courteously, they will come along with us . I think the same thing applies in America.
This attitude is just as important if we come here.
I tell other members of the staff to conscientiously follow up on customers and to look after them carefully.

You are increasing sales in many markets and are winning the trust of many companies. What do you think is the reason for that?

Education and training at our technical centers, which I mentioned before, are a part of it. When we launched the SL Series, the leaders of the Brazil dealership came to Chicago for training and we held study groups for them. We also held study groups in Canada.
Our service staff stay in contact with local staff across the huge service area. If technical follow-up is required, we travel from Chicago to provide the cover needed.
This an important responsibility, as careful follow-up often leads to repeat customers.

I heard that you get a lot of orders for special machines in U.S.

Parts machining is a major application in U.S., and we get a lot of demand for that. Other manufacturers also put a lot of effort into special machines.
For example, we often add a rotating device to existing machines used in the aeronautical or medical industries to produce more complex shapes.
The bottom line is how to let the customer make the things they want.
Because both parts and machines change over time, we always treat any request as a new one, even if it is the same as one we had before.

Your comprehensive sales system must give the sales team peace of mind.

高橋秀樹GMI get a lot of requests from Sales and we discuss whether they can be achieved and if possible, we work toward an order.
Because no dealer is involved as a middle-man, we can accept detailed requests and deal with them, even though it can be difficult.
What’s been accumulated successively through the Support division has lead us to repeat customers, and we need to maintain this.

Tell us what you plan to tackle in the future.

I want to continue to offer courteous service.I hear that the U.S. market is demanding more automation and unmanned operation on production lines.
I’ll listen to the voices of our customers too and provide feedback to the company in Japan so we can continue to meet the needs of this market.