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Otsuka People Talk

April 2019

Planning Department, Nutraceuticals Division Kumamoto Branch

My daily work covers all aspects of the business, and I’m constantly thinking about how I can best do what needs to be done. I hope that by extending my skills I can expand Otsuka's fanbase even further.

An interview with a young employee who, based on his desire to work in a company committed to a fundamental part of life – health – first gained experience in sales, before being made responsible for planning at a branch office.

Why did you join Otsuka Pharmaceutical?

I wanted to be involved, through work, in something that matters to people. That "something" is different for everyone, but because nothing is possible without having a foundation of good health, I wanted a job in which I would be involved with everyday health through familiar things such as food and beverages.

Starting from sales

Of course, this was my first experience of working in sales. When we go shopping, we take it for granted that there will be a variety of products on display, but it was by visiting stores with my colleagues that I became aware of the various processes that products have to go through before they make it onto the shelves, and then all of the work that goes into seeing that they are sold.

Were there any valuable lessons when you started?

It was only my first year with the company when I was given responsibility for an area. I remember being reprimanded by a store manager for being overly passionate about selling our company's products at the expense of everything else.

What he said to me made a big impression: "You are Otsuka Pharmaceutical." What he meant was, "you may be just one of thousands of Otsuka Pharmaceutical employees, but you have to see yourself as being a representative of and the face of Otsuka for us."

I understood then that it's very important to make suggestions that can help the other person with what they want, taking into account what is important to them, and what they want to do.

Otsuka and the appeal of its products

I think that one of the strengths of Otsuka's sales team is our on-site capabilities, and how our sales staff and sales promotion teams work together to handle their areas. The value of each of our products is backed by solid scientific evidence, and we can be confident that all of our products are beneficial for the health of consumers. It's because we're able to clearly communicate this product value to consumers that they then purchase and become regular users of them. I find this whole process, which comes with all sorts of challenges and rewards, really interesting.

Your current work and goals

I am currently responsible for planning at a branch office. In this role I'm the link between the branch office and the headquarters, interacting with each department on a daily basis, which makes for quite a varied schedule. For example, I might need to check on the progress of a new product or the progress of various projects, while receiving status reports from each department. In addition, my work requires me to have a broad perspective when considering, executing, and verifying solutions to the challenges faced by the branch office.

I think the biggest change when I moved from sales to planning was that I was finally able to appreciate everything that's involved in the running of a branch office.

Otsuka is a company that really does offer its staff all manner of challenges regardless of age, tenure, or work experience. Of course, this brings with it a degree of pressure as well, but I think that this is exceeded by the sense of accomplishment you get when you achieve something - this is what motivates me to continue to expand the scope of my work.

My goal for the future, as the person in charge of branch planning, is to continue to drive things forward so as to further improve our sales. With that goal in mind, I want to expand upon what I can do and the level at which I do it. I hope that by extending my skills I can expand Otsuka's fanbase even further.

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