Message from the Director in Charge of Corporate Marketing

Launching the Sales Division

To transform Shimadzu into a company that solves challenges in society in collaboration with partners all around the world, the current medium-term management plan that started in FY 2023 specifies expanding businesses and implementing organizational reforms to focus on customers. That is due to a shift in customer needs, from tangible objects (physical products) to intangible value (data/solutions), that can no longer be adequately satisfied by businesses deployed based on Shimadzu’s previous product-based organizational structure. Therefore, assuming data is a fountainhead of value, we are implementing various reforms for supplying customers with data they need (or supply the ability to obtain that data). Shimadzu refers to offering value that fully satisfies customer needs as offering “end-to-end solutions.” That ability will be critical for achieving future growth.
Consequently, the role of sales departments, which are in a position closest to customers, will change significantly. Until now, Shimadzu’s sales organizations were affiliated with the respective business divisions. To put it simply, that meant sales departments only sold products from their affiliated division. However, customers want to obtain the data they need from “Shimadzu,” rather than from a particular Analytical & Measuring Instruments, Medical Systems, or Industrial Machinery Division, so we are no longer able to offer the end-to-end solutions they want. Therefore, we decided to extract the sales departments from each division to establish the Sales Division, as of April 1, 2024. The Sales Division eliminates the previous walls that separated the previous departments and enables sales representatives to handle all Shimadzu products except for aircraft products. The aircraft products are not included because of the confidentiality of products for the Japanese Ministry of Defense.

Aiming to Offer End-to-End Solutions

When the new Sales Division is launched, it will provide customers with a single contact point for all Shimadzu products and services. The sales personnel will also serve as the contact for product improvement requests and aftermarket services, providing customers with a “one-stop” source for solutions. From Shimadzu’s perspective, the new organization allows Shimadzu to offer end-to-end solutions with optimal products, services, and Shimadzu’s all technologies based on an understanding of the overall concept of what the customer wants to accomplish. For example, we anticipate that Medical Systems sales personnel will be able to use sales channels to hospitals and clinics to identify customer challenges and then offer products and solutions from the Analytical & Measuring Instruments Division.
However, just because the previous organizations are integrated into a single organization does not mean things will change quickly. After all, both the Analytical & Measuring Instruments Division and Medical Systems Division are involved in selling finished products, whereas the Industrial Machinery Division and Fluidics Systems Division (hydraulic equipment) are involved in selling components to the manufacturers of the finished goods, so their selling styles are quite different. Therefore, we will first conduct product study sessions to increase each other’s knowledge levels. By pairing respective sales personnel together, they can be expected to mutually learn from each other, such as the differences in selling styles.

“Going for the ONE"

In April 2023, when I was appointed the director in charge of sales, I specified a new policy of “Going for the ONE.” In this case, the word “ONE” has three meanings. The first is “No. 1.” It refers to aiming to become number one in terms of market share, customer preference, or other parameters. The second meaning is “ONE PURPOSE.” That refers to providing the ”Best for Our Customers,” which has been part of our internal slogans since 2007. It means thinking of what is best for customers and offering the best possible solutions. The third meaning is “ONE SHIMADZU.” That refers to unity across divisional, regional, company, or other boundaries.
In this case, establishing the Sales Division has helped the Shimadzu Group in Japan become closer to being “ONE SHIMADZU.” Soon, similar measures will be implemented outside Japan as well in an effort to unify sales departments globally to achieve “ONE SHIMADZU.” In the future, we also intend to remove departmental boundaries and establish customer-centered organizations for a variety of other functions in the value chain, such as marketing, development, and manufacturing.

Achieving “Best for Our Customers”

After joining Shimadzu in 1986, I was assigned to work at the Hiroshima Branch. Two months after I joined Shimadzu, the Branch General Manager at the time handed me a book entitled “List of Small and Medium-Sized Companies in Hiroshima Prefecture” and instructed me to “visit 30 of the companies each day.” I kept visiting companies that way for three months. In response, I frantically studied the products and proposed product solutions to customers, but sold only one system during that three-month period. Furthermore, the Hiroshima Branch did not separate sales personnel by division in those days, like it is today, so we could sell whatever the customer wanted. In fact, in some cases we actually sold products from both the Analytical & Measuring Instruments Division and Industrial Machinery Division at the same time. That experience still forms the basis for my own ideas about how sales work should be conducted.
No doubt there are some of you working in sales who feel uncertain about how to sell unfamiliar products and think things should stay the same as they are now. However, with the current division-based sales organizational structure, it is becoming increasingly difficult to adequately address the wide variety of challenges faced by customers. That is something especially sales personnel, more than anyone, should be well aware of. Taking the first step may require courage, but you can be sure others around you will provide support and systems will be created for that purpose. If I was able to do it as a new employee, you can too. As we transition to the new organization, we need to communicate, in all sorts of situations, that “selling products from another division is not difficult and that selling a wider variety of products is fun.”
There has already been a case of collaboration between the Analytical and Medical divisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, when sales personnel from the Medical Systems Division sold AutoAmp fully automatic PCR testing systems developed by the Analytical & Measuring Instruments Division via their hospital/clinic sales channels. Of the approximately 2000 AutoAmp units sold, about 80 % were sold by the Medical Systems sales personnel. It is unlikely that many units could have been sold by only Analytical & Measuring Instruments sales personnel with weak hospital sales channels.
Hopefully, we can continue increasing the number of such successful experiences. Particularly due to the increasing use of analytical instruments for healthcare applications, we intend to promote cooperation between Analytical and Medical personnel. Of course, competing measuring instrument manufacturers do not offer a line of medical products, which is a major strength of Shimadzu.

The Shimadzu Group includes about 2,000 sales personnel in Japan alone and about 6,000 globally. By reforming our sales practices to further focus on customers and offering end-to-end solutions, our aim is to provide the “Best for Our Customers.”
Please expect great things from the Shimadzu sales organization in the future.

Biography of Shunei Matoba,
Managing Executive Officer
in Charge of Corporate Marketing
General Manager, Sales Division
General Manager, Tokyo Office

Apr. 1986   Joined Shimadzu Corporation
Apr. 2005   Director, General Manager, Sales Department, Shimadzu Science West Corporation
Apr. 2008   General Manager, Sales Department, Analytical & Measuring Instruments Division
Apr. 2015   Executive Vice President, Shimadzu do Brasil Comércio Ltda.
Oct. 2015   President, Shimadzu do Brasil Comércio Ltda.
Apr. 2019   General Manager, Business Strategy Department
Apr. 2020   Corporate Officer, Deputy General Manager, Analytical & Measuring Instruments Division
Apr. 2023   Managing Executive Officer in Charge of Corporate Marketing, and General Manager, Tokyo Office
Apr. 2024   Managing Executive Officer in Charge of Corporate Marketing, General Manager, Sales Department, and concurrently General Manager, Tokyo Office (current)