At Nippon Shinyaku, we are promoting digital transformation (DX) based on the idea that the effective utilization of digital technologies constitutes a key element in management geared for sustainable growth. In FY 2020, a division dedicated to DX and related affairs was newly established within the Information System Department: Digital Planning and Promotion Section. At the same time, an inter-departmental project was launched to accelerate DX on a company-wide scale
Nippon Shinyaku’s initiatives for promoting DX
Actively utilizing AI, IoT and RPA* in the respective departments, we are aware that it is essential to accelerate company-wide DX in a well-organized manner to achieve overall optimization and augment the company’s competitiveness. As a milestone on the path to these objectives, we are working toward obtaining the DX Certification of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI) and having the company’s stocks selected to be on the list of “DX Stocks” within the framework of the METI and Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) initiative aimed at encouraging strategic IT application by business operators. To this end, we are concretizing and establishing our DX vision, strategies and governance.
Moreover, we are planning to review our corporate organization and HR placement from a flexible standpoint so as to take some transformational steps, including a digitalization-aided company-wide productivity boost, working mode reform, cost optimization, and new business creation. For DX-oriented HR development, we have launched several initiatives, including participation in training programs at universities and support for employees in obtaining learning opportunities and acquiring formal related qualifications. We are continuing the policy of training in-house specialists and improving the overall IT literacy of all employees.
* RPA: Robotic Process Automation, also known as “digital labor,” refers to a software-based robotic technology that automates processes conventionally operated on a PC.
Digital technologies for people’s well-being
“As a Director, I am in charge of not only the Information System Department but also Personnel, General Affairs, Health Management and ESG. When considering the use of digital technologies, I always think how they can contribute to the creation of a workplace environment that makes it easier for employees to work, as well as to health management, the company’s engagement, and the enhancement of all stakeholders’ well-being. Digital technologies have the potential of realizing all of them. For the future, we intend to move toward full-scale application of digital technologies for greater well-being of all. ”
DX promotion and DX-oriented HR development strategy
At present, the Digital Planning and Promotion Section is mainly in charge of gathering information on and adopting the latest digital technologies, identifying the needs of respective departments, and pursuing DX-oriented HR development. At the same time, we are aware that accelerating company-wide DX requires an organization and system with reinforced capabilities and authority. Accordingly, in the DX project, we are also discussing how institutional instruments must be designed and utilized to further DX in the future.
Nippon Shinyaku’s digitally oriented HR development centers around two pillars: DX specialist training for candidates selected from among all employees and initiatives for IT literacy enhancement for all employees.
digital transformation (DX) Organization
DX-oriented HR development
|Selective DX specialist training and education:|
|Data scientist training and education|
|Data engineer training and education|
|Generalist training and education|
|IT literacy enhancement initiatives for all employees:|
|In-house digital webinars (10 events, about 1,500 participants in total)|
|Programs encouraging the acquisition of a “IT Passport” and other formal qualifications (129 participants)|
|Web-related skill improvement seminars (two events)|
|Reverse mentoring (one event)|
|Publication of in-house digital information magazines (in-house portal; published once or twice each month; a total of 42 issues)|
|Anything-about-IT consultations (about 20 cases) … etc.|
Case 1: Introduction and utilization of digital solutions
In this age characterized by drastic change and uncertainties, it is essential to be able to capture needs in the areas of our activities more accurately and rapidly than ever before. In this process, digital solutions, adopted and utilized flexibly, can serve as powerful tools. For this reason, at Nippon Shinyaku, we examine and adopt digital solutions, with the departments concerned with the identification of needs assumed as principal actors and the Information System Department providing technical support. This way we can ensure the maximization of digital solutions thus adopted. The concrete digital solutions introduced thus far include AI-enabled voice-to-text conversion for our pharmaceutical consultation service, an AI chatbot for an in-house product information service, and an IoT insect control system at factories. In the area of drug discovery and clinical development, we examine the utilization of AI as a member of the Life Intelligence Consortium (LINC).
As for RPA of routine tasks, it has been spreading on a company-wide basis, regardless of departments and operations. In FY 2020, a total of some 100 tasks have been automated by RPA throughout the company, equivalent to about 10,000 work-hours. Since RPA liberates employees from repetitive tasks, enabling them to shift their focus to more creative ones, their level of motivation has improved. For broader and more active RPA application, we are continuing events and activities that involve all employees, including in-house information meetings, development support meetings, and competitions between robots developed by different departments.
As a digital solution that benefits all personnel, an information sharing base was constructed in FY 2020 under the theme of “Connection at any time, from anywhere and with anyone.” In addition to the introduction of Microsoft365 and Teams, which are expected to enable all employees to adopt flexible working modes and increase productivity, the company has distributed iPhone to all employees, abolishing landline phones in principle, and has installed cloud file-sharing boxes. This has nearly eliminated the difference between working from home and in the office, contributing to the prevention of spread of COVID-19 at the same time.
Case 2: Enjoyable DX-oriented HR training programs
In FY 2020, Nippon Shinyaku inaugurated in-house DX webinars at the frequency of once to twice per month. The objective of this event is to improve the company-wide level of IT literacy through lectures and presentations on the latest digital technologies and DX-related in-house activities. The web-based sessions are easily accessible via smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices from the company’s offices and sites across Japan by rearranging the schedule during the regular working hours. The webinar will continuously be held at least once each month in the future. By providing all employees with equal opportunity to regularly access information on digital technologies in enjoyable formats, the company is aiming to create an environment wherein personnel can proactively engage in DX while having fun.
In FY 2020, we also inaugurated reserve mentoring on the theme of DX: younger employees well versed in digital technologies mentor management team members, with whom they otherwise rarely work together directly, instructing them in digital skills and informing them of the latest trends. We intend to continue organizing this event in the future.
DX is a means and not an end in itself.
“DX is a means to change the way we work, to improve productivity, to create new businesses, and so on, and it is not an end in itself. Therefore, I think that involving all employees in promoting DX is a great opportunity for us in terms of corporate culture reform and HR development. The introduction of digital solutions and the training of DX-oriented personnel can prompt employees to review what they do at work and how they do it in their respective areas of responsibility. This can further prompt them to develop and improve their skills more proactively, boosting their personal development, adding assets to the company and leading to sustainable development in the future.”