In August 2020, YANMAR SYNERGY SQUARE (YSQ) was born on a site that used to be part of Yanmar’s welfare facility, right next to the Yanmar Amagasaki Plant.
YSQ is the Yanmar Group’s base for improving customer satisfaction (CS) on a global scale, and inside it functions as the headquarters of Yanmar Global CS Co., Ltd. which is responsible for the Yanmar Group’s after-sales service. YSQ also hosts the Remote Support Center, an advanced monitoring station that watches over and supports customers’ valuable machinery in cooperation with the contact center of Yanmar Energy System Co. Ltd.
In addition to being a facility that provides services that make full use of cutting-edge technology, the facility is also dedicated to creating a comfortable working environment for employees, and in August 2021, it received the Kinki Region New Office Promotion Award at the 34th Nikkei New Office Awards.
Read on to learn more about this award-winning facility – the pride of its Yanmar employees, including floors that are not usually open to the public.
The first floor and part of the second floor of the five-story building are exhibition facilities. This space is used to introduce Yanmar’s activities to partners and customers, accompanied by Yanmar employees. Yanmar employees actually work in the Remote Support Center on the second floor and in the offices on the third floor. The fourth floor holds conference rooms and the company cafeteria.
First floor: Introducing Yanmar
Let’s start with the first floor. This floor is open to all Yanmar partners and customers upon application. (*Not open to the public for tours.)
In the center of the first floor is the “Service History” section, where visitors can learn about Yanmar’s history of more than a century.
There is also a corner where you can learn about the thoughts of Yanmar’s founder, Magokichi Yamaoka and his spirit of challenge to succeed in finally developing a compact diesel engine after a succession of failed attempts. Magokichi then went on to introduce the K-series diesel engine, which became a big hit in 1951.
A theater on the first floor shows a movie introducing “Yanmar’s Future Service” concept, Yanmar’s corporate philosophy and the vision of the future society together with a detailed explanation of YSQ and the Remote Support Center.
After exiting the theater, we enter the entrance hall again. At the bottom of the stairs the latest models of industrial diesel engines and exhaust gas after-treatment equipment are on display.
The “Voice of Customer” section shows customers and business partners from around the world. Everyone in the photo has a very nice smile. Yanmar employees must be working hard for those smiles!
Next to this is a corner introducing the “Service Award” that Yanmar first awarded in 2019. To date, 155 service staff members have been recognized and their names are engraved on a plaque at the facility.
The logo on the trophy, which looks like an “S,” is based on the motif of a handshake with a customer or a wrench used for work. It is an expression of “intangible goods. Next is a corner introducing Yanmar’s Global Service Network. The map of the world and the map of Japan are displayed, and on the world map, you can see a circle spreading out from Kobe to the rest of the world like a water pattern through projection mapping. This is a visual representation of the supply of parts from Yanmar’s global parts supply center, the Yanmar Kobe Distribution Center, to dealers around the world.
The next section is the “Synergy Experience” section, where you can actually touch and experience the parts.
This is the corner that introduces genuine parts. In addition to displaying genuine oil and other genuine parts, there is also an intriguing display comparing the difference in quality between imitation parts (“fake” or “substitute” parts) and genuine parts.
Other advanced approaches to customer support are also introduced, such as an application that uses SmartAssist to notify customers when it is time for maintenance, an introduction to a monitoring system that uses GPS installed in products, and a hands-on experience of parts replacement work using MR goggles.
There is also a corner where original Yanmar goods are sold.
In one corner is a certificate of commendation for winning the Kinki New Office Award. The YSQ building was awarded as a new generation office that makes the most of local characteristics.
Right next to the merchandise corner is that SYNERGY SQUARE mural that is visible from the nearby trainline. If you look closely at the words “SYNERGY SQUARE,” you will see that it actually consists of illustrations of engine components and tools, such as screws, gears, shafts, chains, and wrenches.
I was told that there were three dragonflies to be found in these letters, so I looked for them… and there they were! The dragonflies are the “Onyanma” dragonflies of the origin of Yanmar’s company name.
Second floor: The Remote Support Center
Head to the second floor and you will find the Remote Support Center. The Remote Support Center remotely monitors the operational status of customers’ machinery, such as agricultural machinery and power generators, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and is working to eliminate machine downtime.
A map is displayed on the front monitor, and the Yanmar products in operation are indicated by glowing lights. When an abnormality is detected, an alert is sent out and service staff dispatched. Based on the policy of “keeping the customer working” Yanmar provides watchful support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and I can sense the company’s strong sense of responsibility toward its products.
This monitor, located just upstairs, displays the energy usage status of the YSQ building, and is used to optimize energy efficiency through the use of solar power generation and in-house hybrid gas heat pump air conditioners.
Third floor: Comfortable work style
Next, let’s take a look at the office floor on the third floor of the Yanmar Global CS headquarters.
When you enter the office, you see an office landscape spread out over one large floor. Immediately after entering, there a space that can be used freely, and an eye-catching spiral staircase.
This office floor was designed by members of the project to establish YSQ. The team surveyed employees who were planning to move into YSQ in order to create an office that would be easy for all employees to work in. After identifying areas of dissatisfaction with the existing offices, they came up with an improved design and created an ideal office from the employees’ perspective.
The cafe counter on the left side of the entrance is a space for employees to take a break from work. There is also a vending machine for drinks to help them relax.
The main office space is on the right side of the entrance. There is a mix of fixed and free-address seating, with a total of about 150 seats.
Basically, you don’t leave your personal belongings at your seat, and each person is assigned a locker by the entrance. The basic rule is to put your belongings in the locker when you arrive at work, take only what you need to your seat, and leave your desk clear when you leave. …and if you look closely, you’ll see that everything on this floor is a “table” with no drawers. By not putting things on the floor, or not creating the opportunity to put things on the floor, we can eliminate wasted space and time, and achieve smooth work execution.
This space right in front of the entrance is a communication area. It’s used as a place for small meetings, for communication across departments, and as free-address seating. If you look closely at the table, you can see various icons. These are the rules for this space, which were decided through discussions among the employees, and are posted on all the tables on the floor. The entire floor is kept in order by these detailed voluntary rules and high morale.
On the left side of the floor is a table with a monitor, which is often used for simple meetings with few participants.
At the back of the room, there are several semi-private rooms, also equipped with monitors. Further in the back is a small private room where staff can do work that requires more concentration. These rooms are available by reservation.
For more pressing work, there is a soundproof room called the “Concentration Booth” where you can work with maximum concentration.
The eye-catching red spiral staircase leads to the fourth floor. A similar staircase design can be found at Yanmar’s headquarters, and it is one of the symbols of Yanmar’s character.
Fourth floor: Bringing people together
Right after you go up those stairs is the conference room area.
On the fourth floor, there are seven conference rooms of various sizes.
The interiors of the conference rooms are also elaborately designed, with different wall motifs in each room. It’s sure to be a topic of conversation for your guests.
Next, we visit the Synergy Cafe, a company cafeteria located alongside the conference rooms. This cafeteria is open to guests visiting the first and second floors, accompanied by employees.
The Synergy Cafe is open from 8:30 in the morning. Many employees buy their coffee here before heading to the office floor. The menu is a mix of weekly specials and regular menu items, with daily specials available.
The menu is basically cafeteria style, where you can freely take what you want, and the bill is automatically paid at the dish return counter.
The food is reasonably priced and has a good nutritional balance. Most seating is near a window so you can enjoy a pleasant lunch time experience.
Terrace seating is also available when the weather permits.
The restaurant features various seating designs and lighting arrangements.
Many employees use the café as a free-address area outside of lunch time, and it is equipped with electrical outlets and a wireless LAN environment.
The Synergy Cafe also sells small snacks.
This corner of the Synergy Cafe is particularly attractive. If you look closely, you can see “YANMAR11” written in the center. This, of course, stands for Yanmar’s eleven guiding principles. The eleven principles are written around the center in English.
In this article, we took a closer look at Yanmar’s new corporate building, “YANMAR SYNERGY SQUARE” (YSQ), which was born in August 2020.
As the name of the facility suggests, YANMAR SYNERGY SQUARE is a place (SQUARE) where business partners from around the world and Yanmar can gather their knowledge and expertise, create SYNERGY, and new service solutions for the future. We hope that this article gave you a glimpse of how Yanmar is evolving its various activities with the goal of “keeping the customer working” in order to realize our Vision of maximizing customer lifetime value.