Pick Up

Employees' Can-Do Spirit Stimulated for Overseas Sales; New Leads for Product Development and Problem Solving



Kagawa/Meat Products Manufacturing

インターンインターンNiruntarai Piangjai

Thailand/Graduated from Thammasat University, Journalism and mass communication


Hoping to Promote Raised Employee Awareness in Order to Break Through Stagnation in the Overseas Sales Business

Q.Why did your company decide to take on interns? What did you aim to achieve?
Our company's main business is one for the manufacturing of frozen foods, especially frozen pork cutlets, and we also manufacture frozen side dishes and sell processed meat and processed food at our direct sales store, "Meatpia Sanuki." We had been looking into expanding our sales outlets outside of Japan someday and the overseas sales businesses was a major problem that had been incorporated into the basic business strategy and the departmental policy for the product department for several years. However, in reality we were busy with daily work, progress had stalled, and ongoing efforts were making no forward progress. It was at this time that we learned of this project and we thought that by taking on an intern we would be able to promote raised awareness within the company. Through the intern we hoped, first off, to learn about our current position and become aware of in what aspects we are lacking at the current time. We participated in the program hoping to experience the overseas culture and the opinions of a foreigner firsthand and to have our company and employees grow as a first step to achieving sales overseas.



Working on Product Development as a Team to Commercialize Thai Dishes

Q.What kind of internship did you run? What difficulties did you face and how did you resolve them?
Because the intern had worked at a frozen food company in her home country of Thailand as well, she was able to teach us about differences between the production systems and sales outlets in Thailand and Japan and she also contributed to product development. In product development, we began by having the intern come up with ideas for recipes with the goal of producing Thai dishes at our factory or at our directly managed store and she worked as part of a team with the product development department through much trial and error, using alternatives for seasonings that are hard to obtain. Out of the many recipes created, we had customers who visited our directly managed store give us their impressions on three of these and we introduced them to the menu for the employee cafeteria where they were evaluated by the employees. The Thai recipes that the intern created while working for us were very popular so we hope to examine them further going forward. In taking on an intern the first barrier we faced was the problem of language. At the beginning we used translation devices or applications to talk, but the intern was persistent in listening to us and trying to understand our English so gradually we were able to speak in our own words.



Clarification of Issues for Overseas Sales Outlets; Coxing of Positive Attitude from Employees

Q.Comparing before and after the internship, what effects did it have on you, your employees, or your organization?
In our progress towards overseas sales outlets we are still at the stage where we can just see the entrance, but we are now able to see the issues we need to tackle going forward and the places where we are lacking. We heard positive things from our employees who worked with the intern, such as "I'm no longer afraid of areas that are unknown to me" and "It improved my confidence" so we have hope for the future. During the internship the number of employees who spoke to the intern in English and had the intern teach them Thai increased and we felt that there was lively communication amongst the employees around the intern and between the sections. We feel that we have also gradually cultivated a consciousness of involvement in overseas sales. The Thai recipes that the intern created for us are novel dishes that did not exist in our company's lineup and we feel that a flexibility and liberality of thought have been incorporated into our product development. Our company's role is to whole sale half-cooked products, but we have realized that we can broaden our sales activity by proposing more than that. Going forward we hope to work on product development focused all the way up to the consumer who is at the end point of distribution. It is our turn to do our best so as to sustain the positive change that has been engendered by our intern.



Overcoming Differences in Language and Food Culture and Experiencing Working Together on Product Development

Q.What did you get out of the internship?
The process of working with everyone at Sanuki Livestock Foods as a team on product development and shaping products through much trial and error was both fun and fulfilling. I learned a lot about Japanese product knowledge, food customs, and distribution and it was a valuable experience that will help me with work after I return home to Thailand. The most difficult part of my work was language. At first we talked through the use of translation devices, but after a month we became able to understand one another without the use of translation devices. Part of the reason is probably because we improved our respective English and Japanese skills, but I believe that a positive attitude was formed by trying to understand one another because there was a language barrier. I hope to make good use of my experience of personal development in Japan in my future work and life.



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