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Pass the knowledge with only one hand, ‘Casualness’ is the key to success.

Introduction Purpose

To build an environment that is suitable for creating a practical manual in free time.

Issue

Creating a manual requires you to sit and do the work carefully.

Result

Able to lay a foundation to pass on the knowledge by ‘one hand’.

Company Profile

Hototo corporation

Website

http://hototo.jp/

Address

1010 Makioka-chō, Somaguchi, Yamanashi-shi, Yamanashi

Staffs

10 – 50 staffs

Business type

Agricultural business

Details

Farming, Farming knowledge sharing community

Usage method

Farming report, Operation and System manual

 

Mr. Atsushi Mizukami, Hototo Agricultural Production Corp.’s representative, was a front-runner in the construction industry of New York since he was young. After he experienced the construction boom period in Dubai, he followed his ‘soul compass’ and came back home to take over his family business in agriculture. 

“Teachme biz’s charm is the ‘middle ground’ between ‘too strict’ and ‘too loose'”. Mr. Mizukami told us about the ‘middle ground,’ the reasons and the use of Teachme Biz.

Because we do ‘everything’, we need to make the most of our time.

In Yamanashi, a town surrounded by mountains, the clouds cannot get past the mountains. Thus, it is one of the provinces that have the most extended daylight in the country. As a result, agriculture in this province is blooming, especially for fruits. The province’s production of grapes and peaches is at the top level of the whole country.
Mr. Mizukami’s Hototo Corp. uses his vineyard ‘Tsuji to Jitsu’ as the hub for various businesses, from agricultural school that offers small hands-on agriculture class for children to a hotel to agricultural business consulting. The company is developing a wide range of ‘agricultural’ businesses. 

“The word ‘Hyakusho’ (a Japanese word for farmer) means a hundred of skills. For example, a house that would cost hundreds of million yens, if we (the farmers) do it by ourselves would cost only hundreds of thousand yens. Even with the limited budget, if we have time and workforce, we can do it. So, I always remind myself that I have to make the most of my time”. (Mr. Mizukami)
“IT is the best way to work effectively”, said Mr. Mizukami. From using Dropbox to share photos with his employees, to creating a Facebook group to share their information, to using Mind Map to plan events and restaurant planning, he is utilizing the technology to the best. Because a ‘Hyakusho’ has a lot of work that needs to be done by himself, he always uses many website services to increase the efficiency in agriculture.

Moving with the ‘Future’

They were making Strawberry Jam from ripe strawberries while we were interviewing. The instruction was, of course, done by using Teachme Biz. 

Mr. Mizukami told his employees before to “take a lot of photos while working”. Because the photos that took with a smartphone would already have date and time stamped in Exif file, then by putting together the images sequentially, he will be able to follow the growth of the plants. So, if there is something wrong with the growth of the plants, he can look at the color or size from the recorded growth history to determine the cause of the problem such as heat or humidity. 

Mr. Mizukami got to know Teachme Biz by a manager of a seafood restaurant’s recommendation. The restaurant was searching for an order/cashier system to use with a smartphone because he did not want to use the complicated and not-user-friendly POS system. The manager said that he stumbled upon Teachme Biz while he was searching for a smartphone device. 

“Agriculture is something anybody can do. That is why we have to preserve and pass on one’s experiences to our future staff. If we use Teachme Biz, we can use the photos we collected to create a manual. Most importantly, we don’t have to sit and focus on creating the manual. That was why we decided to bring in the program”. (Mr. Mizukami)  

‘The big advantage is you can do it with one hand’

By bringing in Teachme Biz, the staff is using a smartphone to snap photos in one hand then, if necessary, add in some comments on the spot. This ‘one-handed’ feature is a big advantage according to Mr. Mizukami. 

“With Teachme Biz, you don’t have to sit in front of the computer but rather making the manual while working in the field. If any of the staff faces any problem in the field, they can change the manual right there. Because the manual can be collected and made from a smartphone, we can create a foundation to pass on the knowledge with only ‘one hand'”. (Mr. Mizukami) 

Just arrange the photos chronologically, delete the images which are unnecessary, write comments if the picture needs explanations and complete the manual. Mr. Mizukami will check and collect the manuals that the staff made from his smartphone in his free time.

Hototo’s service includes the agriculture school which gives the customers hands-on experience in the field. Many of the employees are temporary staff, and some of the teams are not familiar with agriculture. Previously, the job will be explained by words, but after bringing in Teachme Biz, the manual’s URL will be sent by e-mail before starting work. This way, even without explaining in detail, the staff will have some ideas about the job and can provide agriculture service immediately. 

Be a ‘Hyakusho’ means you have to know ‘how to lay the floor’ too.

The ‘Strawberry Jam’ manual which was being created during the interview.

One of the appealing features of Teachme Biz is that ‘you can casually make the manual while working’.

Because most of the manuals are made from photos, the staff in the field can quickly decide which grapes should be cut down due to insects or disease.

Being able to communicate what ‘Moderation’ is, is the charm.

Mr. Mizukami said that the significant advantage of Teachme Biz is ‘casualness’. The staff does not need to be ‘prepared to make the manual!’ but can take some photos that are ‘passable’ while working and create a manual. “This level of casualness is right for us” he confirmed.
“The most important thing in a manual is to get the message across. Teachme Biz is neither just texts nor just photos. It is something ‘comfortably’ sit in between the strictness and looseness of the manual. In my opinion, Teachme Biz’s charming point is that even when doing it ‘casually,’ we can still get the message across”. 

“This casualness also has other merits” Mr. Mizukami continued. Only one employee does not entirely make the manual. Each employee will do their part of the job and pass on to the next person in charge of the next task. Because the manual is circulated through many employees, it becomes more refined.

“You don’t have to remember the working process. What is more important in agriculture is to draw out the power of imagination” Mr. Mizukami said. As he said before, agriculture is a work anyone can do if they can remember the task and know the norms but ‘the power of imagination’ cannot pass on but rather draw out from one’s ability.
Mr. Mizukami insisted that by using Teachme Biz, the manual making fundamental will be passed on. And by increasing the ‘ready-to-be effective workforce’ and drawing out the staff ‘power of imagination,’ Hototo will surely light up the ‘agriculture’ world.

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