Growth Supported by IT
Since our founding in 1994, we have continued to develop our unique business model and achieve groundbreaking growth. In 1998, we became the second fastest company to be listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and, in 2004, we became Japan’s first and only hyper-growth company*.
*Term used in the USA to describe growth businesses that achieve net sales of 1 billion dollars within 10 years of establishment.
I believe one of the major factors contributing to this success has been our innovative fusion of business and IT. Examples of this include our system of batch appraisals (calculation of vehicle value) provided by the main office for used vehicle purchases at all stores nationwide and Dolphinet (a sales system that enables the browsing of vehicles purchased throughout network of stores nationwide). At the time, these were completely new initiatives.
In particular, Dolphinet, which we began using in 1998, became a platform for the growth of our retail sales business (sales to consumers), a greater contributor to profit than the wholesales business (purchase then sell at auction). Registering the detailed information of purchased used vehicles and selling those vehicles nationwide has helped us maintain our policy of completely selling off purchased vehicles within two weeks to minimize inventory risks associated with price drops.
We were using satellite communications when we first launched Dolphinet but we quickly switched over to the internet and made continuous improvements to where now Dolphinet has become the backbone of our business.
Our IT-driven business has been praised as advanced and innovative. This praise includes awards such as the IT Japan Award 2012 (awarded by Nikkei Computer), which recognizes excellence in IT utilization and our selection to the 2nd High Service Japan 300 (2008, sponsored by SPRING, Service Productivity & Innovation for Growth), which recognizes companies conducting initiatives promoting innovation and improvements in productivity.
Achieving New Growth
Our corporate culture promotes the continuous and proactive incorporation of new technology, and we have a history of being early adopters of technology and services that eventually become common throughout the industry. We promote the use of IT in various aspects of our business. Below are examples of some of IDOM’s unique initiatives.
Promoting Projects that Combine IT and Business
IDOM promotes the planning of projects that combine IT and business. Examples of this include NOREL, a fixed-price unlimited ride service that can be reserved completely online, and Gulliver Fle-Ma (Flea Market), a C2C platform that brokers used car sales between individuals. We also have begun the development of an AI-based sales support system.
Improving Productivity and Stimulating Internal Communication
We proactively promote the integration of new technology and services aimed at increasing productivity. For example, our early adoption of cloud servers enables us to build a platform that enables the smooth launching of new services and the expansion of overseas operations. We also are incorporating systems that stimulate and optimize internal communication.
From technological innovations such as autonomous driving and AI to the sharing economy and other changes in user lifestyles, the automobile industry is on the verge of a major transitional period. Strategic IT utilization is a must for us to achieve new growth, and we will continue to proactively promote operations rooted in IT.
Yusuke Hatori, President
IDOM has built an organizational structure propelled jointly by IT and business. Specifically, we have established a specialized department called “IDOM Technology”. Administrative reforms and IT administration, including systems operations, maintenance, and management, are all positioned as a part of this “IDOM Technology”.
“IDOM Technology” also includes the Strategic Management Office (SMO), the organization in charge of drafting, promoting, and evaluating IT strategies, as well as evaluating and reviewing the utilization of the latest technology.
For IT personnel charged with the important task of IT planning, we have launched a validation system that creates a numerical representation of the expertise and skills required to achieve the missions and goals outlined in business plans. We also use this system in our hiring and training planning.
For new IT investment projects, we establish evaluation methods and standards in order to evaluate investment efficacy based on IT-ROI. IT project progress and priority is reported on and evaluated at meetings attended by the president and other senior management, who promote the maximization of investments.
We work to strengthen both our “aggressive IT,” the aggressive promotion of IT utilization in business, and “defensive IT,” responses to diversifying IT risks. We apply our comprehensive understanding of risks such as information leaks and unauthorized access towards outlining optimal measures grounded in regulations related to information management and information security regulations. We also conduct companywide initiatives related to IT control and business continuity plans to prepare us for potential system failures.