LIXIL Co. Ltd., hereinafter LIXIL, whose corporate message is “Link to Good Living” is the major lifestyle company making building materials and home appliance fixtures. On April 1st, 2011, Tostem Co. Ltd., INAX Co. Ltd., Shin Nikkei Co. Ltd., Sun Wave Co. Ltd. and Toyo Exterior Co. Ltd. merged to form LIXIL.
As a result of the LIXIL merger, it became apparent that there was redundancy in the product support operations for responding to the retail and sales outlets of each company amongst 300 different contact points. In order to optimize costs it was decided to consolidate these contact points.
In order to consolidate product support operations, it was necessary to encompass the thousands of items that were handled by each company. Furthermore, in order to respond to the specific requests of those retail and sales outlets handling the products on a daily basis, it was necessary to know more than just basic information, but detailed specifications, characteristics and even assembly.
LIXIL considered attempting these efforts on its own, but it was decided that in order to bring about a consolidation of contact points, cost reductions, and a guarantee in quality that the use of an outside vendor would be necessary. It was decided that these operations should be outsourced to transcosmos, an organization with a rich service track record.
transcosmos employed a two step plan for continuing operations based on product categories and taking into account the large number of products as well as the level of specificity of requests. The first phase was sash/sliding doors and living room building materials, and an analysis of the current status of these operations was undertaken.
During this analysis, the scope of operations was made clear, various manuals were compiled, and a product database for use in communicating with clients was developed. Next, contact numbers were estimated based on an analysis of past contact information, and an operational model based on volume was developed. A training curriculum was developed for contacts occurring with greater frequency and training for personnel based on actual operations was implemented. LIXIL’s new contact point, the “General Product Information Support Center” was established at transcosmos’ Kumamoto BPO Center. By dividing the 43,000 retail and sales outlets into three distinct groups and consolidating contact operations in a managed format, a smooth launch was achieved.
For the second phase, exteriors and faucets, the same format was followed and was based on a careful analysis of the preceding sash/sliding door, living room building materials implementation. Because of this, it was possible to consolidate over three hundred product contact points across the country and reduce operational costs by 30%.
transcosmos has continued to implement periodic training sessions for personnel aimed at skills development, even after beginning operations. transcosmos has prevented randomness in response quality by strengthening the follow-up process for personnel who have had difficulty with post training tests. transcosmos is also actively working to improve operations by analyzing contact logs for long response times, improving various manuals and expanding use of FAQ.
LIXIL is implementing quality improvement activities using “six sigma” which analyzes and improves on each contact process in order to pursue retail and sales outlet’s satisfaction. transcosmos wishes to continue its engagement in improving the quality of contact by actively proposing improvements on the ground as well as by giving form to those initiatives decided upon by LIXIL.