Story 41: Farewell

  • Miscellaneous
March 25, 2016

Naoto Izumo
R&D Division 5, A&D Company, Limited

Today's forty-first story marks the sixth year of my development stories. Over the years we managed to advance our product development into new fields but we were unable to meet expectations for sales expansion. Hence, a decision to keep our sales representatives informed on our new product development goals first led me to start the unfamiliar task of writing these development stories. However, not many sales personnel viewed at our website and it appeared that it was being read by researchers from other companies to find information about measurement devices. I was told that sales staff began to find out about our development stories for the first time after they were asked about the stories by our customers and then they finally began to read it.

Some sales staff complained that the material was too difficult to understand. But researchers with an awareness of the themes and products seem to have enjoyed reading the technology heavy stories which to me showed that our objective of publishing "Development Stories" was a success. Initially our developers were going to take turns writing stories, but no one stepped up to the plate so I become the sole writer for each issue. This taught me that even though members of the development department are tasked with designing original products, only a few people truly had the "heart" of the developer requisite for product development. It was also unfortunate that re-engineering our sales force to support our goal of developing new markets made little progress and had unexpectedly little effect on profit.

I decided not to develop products similar to what was already on the market. Instead I planned and developed products that currently did not exist and set up a basic policy leading up to production and sales. Focusing on the research lab market, I traveled around Japan and even abroad to gather information from end-users and distributers. Using this information I created these new products by introducing technology from my department with some new elements. For our products in the balance market, we focused development vertically on from products for elemental analysis to products for production lines and additionally, for our existing products on the analytical balance market we aimed at expanding product development horizontally into enclosures and pipettes. In this way we sought to establish new products to awaken latent demand in the research lab market.

Out of the products I developed, the moisture analyzer, even though it was a late comer to the industry, managed to secure a sizable market share in only a few years and was an example of exceptional success. I also made contributions to creating new markets for A&D with the sole domestic electronic pipettes and microbalances in Japan as well as with tuning fork vibro viscometers and rheometers. However, currently balance enclosures, PM2.5 measurement systems, pipette related management tools, environment loggers, and air flow loggers have yet to be widely accepted by the consumer base and our automated scales and exercise measurement devices for mice haven't reached an acceptable level of success either.

If given the opportunity, I would like to continue to write more development stories about the development of new products, but I am nearing 60 and my retirement so it is time for me to put down the pen.

If I only managed to communicate a tiny fragment of the core of product development I have accomplished my goal and am satisfied. Thank you for joining me over the years. I have appreciated your support.

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