Bright! FRONTEO Official Blog

Bright! FRONTEO Official Blog

"The fusion of the real and digital creates a co-creation platform that supports local communities" - Japan Post's network creates a foundation for local support, and FRONTEO's AI creates a fair information society -

The Japan Post Group provides a variety of products and services centered on the three businesses of postal services, savings, and insurance through its network of post offices nationwide. While promoting customer-oriented business operations, we have introduced FRONTEO's AI as part of DX promotion and are working to solve management issues and improve services by utilizing customer feedback.
Director, Representative Executive Officer and President Tamaki Masuda talks about the efforts and future prospects for realizing a "co-creation platform" that utilizes a network of approximately 2 stations, the effects of introducing AI at Japan Post, and expectations for social implementation. We asked Mr. Ya.
The post office is the most familiar "public property"
Supporting local communities and solving social issues through the post office network

-- Please tell us about the "co-creation platform" that supports customers and local communities as set out in the Japan Post Group's medium-term management plan "JP Vision 2025" and the value creation strategy to realize it.

Masuda:The most central philosophy and way of thinking in JP Vision 2025 is the "co-creation platform." There is a network of approximately 2 post offices nationwide. Our aim was to not only collect and deliver mail, but also to provide an easy-to-use post office network for businesses, organizations, and individuals in any region.In other words, the idea was that ``post offices are public assets.'' Thing.
Of course, in order to fulfill its public role, post offices also need to upgrade. In some areas, there are post offices with only two or three employees, so we would like to make post offices more convenient by connecting post offices and experts online so that people can receive various consultations. Masu.
Additionally, we have released the "Post Office App" from October 2023. Initially, the service will be limited to functions such as sending mail and packages, but in the future we are making the services offered at post offices available 10 hours a day, 24 days a year, on a smartphone application. I believe that the value of the "co-creation platform" will further increase by integrating the physical post office network with digital technology.

Morimoto:FRONTEO was originally founded in the legal tech field. Criminal investigations, finding evidence of fraud and solving problems.Fairness in the information societyThe starting point is to aim for the realization of ``. Originally, society should be equal under the law, but with the increase in electronic data in criminal investigations and lawsuits,very difficult to find evidenceTherefore, there is a problem that this may affect the appropriate judgment in court. We wanted to resolve this unfair situation.
In fact, this problem is similar in the medical field. An example is“Dementia” is considered one of Japan’s biggest social issues.
There are only a few specialists in the country who can diagnose dementia, and the lack of specialists, especially in rural areas, can lead to inability to receive a diagnosis and delays in response. Dementia is a disease that cannot be reversed once it progresses, so early detection and early treatment are important.
Currently, our company is providing services for use in medical institutions.Research and development of AI medical devices that analyze conversations to determine the presence or absence of cognitive function decline, depression symptoms, etc.We are proceeding. With this technology, we hope to contribute to the fairness of medical care by providing a solution that can be used by general doctors for diagnosis even in areas where there are no specialists.

Masuda:The Minamidaito Post Office in Nanao City, Ishikawa Prefecture is conducting a demonstration project for "online medical treatment"* 1. Although it is a general medical treatment and not a dementia specialist, we would like to see its effects and expand it nationwide.If people are properly motivated to visit the nearest post office, it may be possible to detect dementia early.I believe that children who live far away from their parents can feel at ease if dementia can be detected early through conversations.
*1 Demonstration period: November 2023, 11 (Wednesday) to February 15, 2024 (Friday)

Morimoto: ``Peace of mind'' and ``trust'' are great values ​​when visiting a place.I believe that if post offices that are deeply rooted in local communities are utilized, they will help solve not only dementia but a variety of other social issues.

Masuda:The concept of a "co-creation platform" has a wide range of applications. We would like to expand the scope of our work beyond the traditional post office operations, and expand our services to cover a wide area or serve the public interest. However, it would be a heavy burden to have post office employees acquire all the skills, so we would like to encourage post office employees to continue to show up in the local community and build relationships with them so that they can easily talk to them. Get it done properly. For specialized tasks such as detecting signs of dementia, I would like to use the latest technology, including AI, while collaborating with the government and other companies.

Morimoto:The aforementioned AI medical devices are used in parallel with those used in insurance medical treatment, as well as in ways that contribute to prevention and early detection before consultation.I also want to create consumer products that can be used on platforms other than medical institutions.I believe.
FRONTEO's AI natural language analysis technology can analyze everyday conversations and make decisions. For example, an initiative could be implemented where postal workers and local residents have a relationship of trust, and by detecting signs of illness through conversations and recommending medical examinations, this would lead to an increase in the rate of consultations and early detection of diseases. .
It is important to detect dementia while it is still mild, but it is said that people with mild dementia do not seek medical attention. However, by utilizing the post office network and conducting cognitive function checks through conversation, it is possible to support local communities. It could also be used for such checks at financial institutions and life insurance companies.
As a business, we would like to contribute to improving the quality of life in the era of 100-year lifespans and work together to solve the challenges of a super-aging society.

“JPReforming corporate culture with “Declaration of Action”
If you raise employee morale, good initiatives will spontaneously emerge.

-- The timing of President Masuda's appointment was a difficult time for your company. Were there any initiatives that you were particularly aware of at the time?

Masuda:Back then, I just bowed my head in apology and started all conversations from there. As a company, we must of course apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers, but from the perspective of our employees who are working diligently, their morale is difficult to improve as they are in a difficult situation, including their families. did.
In such a situation, apart from the management philosophy, we need to make it easier to understand and include front-line employees and management.I want words that I can use on a daily basis to express the future I am aiming for.I thought. that is"JP Action Declaration" consisting of "smile", "pride" and "new stage"is. By checking these three phrases every day, you will feel like ``Let's do our best to make our customers smile today.''I hope that this will become part of our corporate culture.
About a year has passed since the start of operation in July 2022, and the day before yesterday* 2An awards ceremony was held to collect good efforts from all over the country.
Approximately 1,000 applications were received, with candidates being nominated by themselves or others. We view the awareness of post office employees as a CS (Customer Satisfaction) issue, and we have implemented numerous employee-led improvements that bring smiles to customers, and we are working with various organizations for the benefit of society. We received many positive efforts, such as coastal clean-up activities.
The award ceremony was attended by representatives of the 83 award-winning initiatives from all over the country, and the participants toured the company's headquarters and had a social gathering, which was a great success. It provides an opportunity for employees to take pride in their own practices and encourage each other to develop even better initiatives, which in turn leads to smiles on the faces of customers.I realized that if you raise the morale of your employees, good initiatives will spontaneously emerge.
*2 Interview date: Thursday, November 2023, 11

Morimoto:Scandals are events that have a great impact on companies. At our company, we support companies in responding to emergencies, and in such cases, we first understand the situation and implement countermeasures to quickly resolve the situation, and then we help find ways to lead to next growth.
The factors and circumstances that cause problems are inextricably linked to the desire for growth. Do that wellI believe it is important to gather information and return it to your business so that you can turn it into opportunities.


--This year marks the third year of the five-year period of "JP Vision 2025." Please tell us about your current progress and future prospects.

Masuda:"JP Vision 2025" was announced in May 2021, but the first year will focus on efforts to restore trust from the scandal, and how we will grow will come after that. I was there. Although we are by no means in a position to feel relieved that the scandal has come to an end,I would like to shift our focus to increasing our growth potential as a company and making it sustainable.
Another thing I am aware of is what is called "human capital management".Investment in “human capital”is. With the remaining two years of the medium-term management plan and the next medium-term management plan, we will spend several years working on promoting diversity, and we would like to reflect this in our management and co-creation platform.

Customer feedback is a treasure trove
Extract hidden opportunities using AI and reflect them in management

-- Japan Post has introduced FRONTEO's AI "KIBIT" with the aim of "improving conduct" and is working to resolve management issues and improve services by analyzing and utilizing customer feedback. Please tell us about the process and effects.

Masuda:Over the past three years, Japan Post has received an average of approximately 3 million customer comments per year. In fiscal 550, when inappropriate recruitment was discovered, there were more than 2019 million applications, and in the past, including that year, we had been checking them manually. However, this number far exceeds the limits of human effort.
With the introduction of KIBIT, we are now able to effectively analyze customer feedback and reflect it in management resources and management issues.
Customer feedback contains hidden business opportunities, future improvements, and seeds and hints for future growth.

KIBIT neatly organizes and presents the four models created for analysis, soIt has become easier to make accurate and speedy decisions about what to do.The information is introduced and shared monthly at the management meeting.
My honest impression is that KIBIT is effective in turning the huge treasure trove of 550 million cases a year into true treasure.
Also, when I took office, there were a lot of scoldings and angry voices due to scandals, but if you only look at the angry voices, you may end up ignoring the voices that should be picked up from other sources. . There is also a concern that people who are in favor may lose sight of the overall picture, as they do not speak out much.By using KIBIT, there are more opportunities to turn voices into valuable management resources from the perspective of objective and fair analysis.


Morimoto:There are customer opinions that only arise because they are favorable towards the company, and in order to make the right decision, you need the skills to discern them. Opportunities don't always come looking like opportunities.
Through solutions that enable FRONTEO's AI technology to pick up and utilize important voices, we will support company-wide growth strategies and contribute to the discovery of business opportunities that contribute to society.

Focus on initiatives to increase growth potential
Solving social issues with a “co-creation platform”

: Japan Post has declared "risk-taking" in the "D" of PDCA in its medium-term management plan. Although it is a mature company with a long history, I was impressed by its willingness to take on challenges, which caught my attention.

Masuda:Amid the changing times,Initiatives that lead to pride in the community, such as expanding the scope of our work to the public sectorThe idea is to do this. In the past, things often proceeded from the top down, but now we are recruiting as much as possible from the public and asking motivated members to volunteer.
A new department, “JP Future Strategy Lab”* 3About 40 young members have gathered and are enthusiastically considering various ways to improve the existing way of working. Risk-taking embodies the desire to bring our own motivation to the forefront.
*3 Established in July 2021

Morimoto:This is a great initiative to bring out the motivation and independence of employees.

Masuda:In an effort to draw out the voices of employees, we have also improved our internal reporting system. In order to avoid a "hunt for the culprit" for whistleblowers, we have established a route through which whistleblowers can raise their voices with peace of mind, using an external organization.psychological safety in the workplaceBy establishing this, in addition to being able to report internally with peace of mind,Leads to employee satisfactionI think.

Morimoto:Employees who report internally often do so because they care about the company.
In the past, a client company used KIBIT for the purpose of preventing employee turnover. There are various reasons why employees quit, but there have been cases where employees quit because they love the company, take pride in their work, and are reassured by their superiors that they won't have to worry about leaving. The reason is a strong sense of responsibility. Approximately half of the people who quit their jobs are worried about their private lives rather than work, and are afraid of causing trouble to the company or team. The voices of such people only sound like they are having fun at the company and are working hard. But just a littleKIBIT finds and picks up the subtle catch.
If you then meet with the person in question, they will tell you about your concerns and you will be able to resolve the issue.A solution that captures the voices and enthusiasm of employees, which are a company's treasure.We believe that this is an important support for companies that we can provide.

Masuda:Speaking of employee voices,The voices of those on the front lines are refreshingis. Currently, I travel to rural areas and remote islands to hold dialogues about once every two weeks. The opinions that emerge include many discoveries such as ``I knew it after all'' and ``This kind of thing does happen.''
For local people, the post office is an easy-to-reach and familiar presence.As I mentioned earlier, if we can use equipment and technology to detect various abnormalities and signs in daily life, post offices will become an important infrastructure for society.
At the same time, we would like to equip post office counters with mobile terminals and other devices to increase versatility and multifunctionality so that they can provide services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.Combining the real post office network and digitalWe would like to support our customers and the local community while aiming to become a "co-creation platform."
Let's continue to exchange information and create a co-creative society together.



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