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My Pigeon Way Story

All our employees are fully aware of the Pigeon Way when they perform their duties each day. We have the opportunities to share what we have achieved in our Pigeon Way initiatives with the rest of the organization. Here are some of the essays contributed by our employees entitled “My Pigeon Way Story” that characterize their passion and commitment.

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[My Pigeon Way Story_2018]
“The Spread of Enthusiasm”

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I would like to report one experience related to our sales activities in India which our salespeople and I had.

We had recognized an untapped sales potential in one of the states in India, but we had been unable to capture the market. This was because we had been struggling to find a suitable and reliable distributor to be in charge of the area. One day, a sales manager introduced me to a potential distributor. They were not a modernized company by any standard - they had built their business through their good personalities and a lot of legwork. They understood our strategies and suggested they would be committed to the sales of our core products (e.g. nursing bottles, nipples, breast pumps), so we decided to do business with them.

Immediately after starting to work together, I had an opportunity to talk with the owner and president of the distributor. During the meeting, I enthusiastically explained our desire to help change child-rearing in India through our products. The staff at the distributor embraced our goal, and the two parties firmly agreed to work together to expand the business. After that, the distributor was as passionate about success as we were, and they soon started showing solid results, achieving one promised sales goal after another.

This, in turn, stimulated our salespeople in a positive way. Despite their past struggles in the area, they started, as if by magic, getting orders. They told me that after listening to the conversation between the owner of the distributor and me during the meeting, they decided that they would focus on doing whatever they could do to help us achieve success. As a result, both the distributor and our salespeople achieved remarkable results in the fiscal year, and both were commended for their outstanding work. It is also true that many distributors in India are merely interested in making profits through selling products in large quantities and at low prices, and when their activities are no longer profitable, they quickly stop. However, this distributor’s focus on long-term success and their responding to passion with passion were very encouraging. Experiences like this serve as opportunities to boost the motivation of our salespeople and of distributors in the other states.

[My Pigeon Way Story_2018]
“Participating in the Acquisition of a Joint Venture”

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From March through October 2017, as a legal staff member, I was part of the process of the acquisition of a joint venture by a subsidiary. To be more precise, I verified agreements and legal documents such as stock purchase agreements, joint venture agreements, and articles of incorporation. At that time, I did not have a lot of experience in corporate reorganization. Furthermore, this was an international acquisition. Therefore, I was a bit anxious about working on the project. During the project, I always reminded myself to act with integrity. I knew that I would need to support the entire procedure of the corporate reorganization without causing any delays or making any mistakes. I often felt at a loss, as I was not familiar with the laws of the country where the company was located or with long agreements written in English. In addition, I came across unfamiliar terms related to stock trading schemes. Whenever encountering such a setback, I overcame it by taking the following measures: 1. I went over documentation such as agreements repeatedly. 2. I looked up and tried to clarify anything that was unclear to me by myself. 3. In the case where I was unable to figure it out by myself, I humbly sought the assistance of the employees of the subsidiary, the staff in Pigeon’s accounting and finance division, and Pigeon’s corporate lawyer.

As the negotiations I was involved in were for a very important contract related to corporate reorganization, there were times when they did not proceed smoothly. When difficulties arose, I first talked to employees of the subsidiary and clarified what was non-negotiable for them. I then presented proposals to the person in charge of the negotiations with the other party involved in the joint venture. I focused on coming up with ideas that could logically convince the other party they would end up with a “win-win” situation, allowing for a return to smooth negotiations. I felt very relieved to hear from the person in charge that the process was successfully completed in October. I believe that this acquisition process was an opportunity for me to embody, as a legal staff member, one of the Action Principles of the Pigeon Way: “Global collaboration among competent individuals.”

[My Pigeon Way Story_2017]
First Encounters at Corporate Information Seminars Held at Universities

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As part of annual hiring activities for new university graduates, I participate in on-campus seminars at about 30 universities. I have the opportunity to meet with more than 1,000 students. These activities are extremely important for having students become interested in Pigeon and apply for employment at our company.

At these on-campus seminars, I always focus on "talking with students for as long as necessary to provide satisfaction." I believe that this approach embodies the "Integrity" which is one of the fundamental values of the Pigeon Way.

Around December, after finishing one such on-campus seminar, I received a question from a female university student. It seems that the young woman had developed an interest in Pigeon after listening to the corporate information session held on that day. While talking, the young woman began discussing the uneasiness that she felt during her job search. "Pigeon is a global corporation, so I assume that English is a required skill," she said. "I'm not very good at English..." Upon talking more with the young woman, I learned that she puts great effort into her research and club activities. I explained that Pigeon does not focus exclusively on foreign language ability when screening candidates; rather, our company strives to evaluate the character of each individual. Finally, since she lacked confidence in her language ability, I advised the young woman not to engage in vain attempts to impress corporations which only consider language ability or place excessive focus on language ability when screening candidates. Instead, I recommended that she apply to corporations that would recognize her outstanding qualities and achievements. All of the sudden, the young woman's eyes were filled with tears. It seems that she had been overwhelmed with uneasiness upon starting her job search, and that my advice had given her great courage. I left the venue filled with the hope that the young woman would find satisfaction in her search for employment.

Four months later, I was approached by a female student after finishing a corporate information session. I recognized that student as the young woman whom I had met at the on-campus seminar conducted the previous December.
"When I spoke with you at the on-campus seminar, I was confused about how I should proceed with my job search," she said. "But, thanks to your advice, I found my own direction for seeking employment and gained confidence. Even if I don't make the final screening for Pigeon, I just wanted the opportunity to express my gratitude face-to-face. That's why I participated in today's session."
Unlike last time, it was now me who was on the verge of tears. I managed to suppress my emotions and thank the young woman. At that moment, I felt a great sense of accomplishment and pride at how my working in hiring brought courage to another person.

[My Pigeon Way Story_2016]
Drafting the Product Design Guidelines

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In the Central Laboratory Design Group, we started drafting the Product Design Guideline in 2015. Through this project, I experienced one of the Action Principles of the Pigeon Way firsthand: “Global collaboration among competent individuals.”

As Pigeon aspires to become the Global Number One manufacturer of baby products, the main goal of this project is attempting to improve the design aspects of Pigeon products, and involved the collaboration of the Central Laboratory Package Group, the Pigeon Shanghai product design team, and my post, the Central Laboratory Design Group, in the guideline drafting process. We are working to visualize the ideal form for Pigeon products, grasp the current conditions of product packaging in various countries and stations, and give each location the freedom to create their own designs while maintaining common rules for all staff to follow. Creating an environment where we can achieve this ideal was an incredibly challenging task.

In preparation for the comprehensive launch of the updated design strategy, we compiled the guidelines in the first half of 2016. Although all the members could describe a common ideal format in the outlining stages, when we moved on to creating specific rules, the differences between the various markets and our brand’s position within them stood out in sharp relief, and reaching a conclusion was difficult. To understand each other’s unique situations such as language barriers, cultural differences, differing work content, and differing product lines, we had numerous video conferences, e-mail exchanges and department meetings. We are designers, so when we had language difficulties, we expressed ourselves with illustrations and designs, and made efforts to understand each other’s feelings and opinions. After all of this, we finally completed the new “Product Design Guidelines.”

In preparation for the comprehensive launch of the updated design strategy, we compiled the guidelines in the first half of 2016. Although all the members could describe a common ideal format in the outlining stages, when we moved on to creating specific rules, the differences between the various markets and our brand’s position within them stood out in sharp relief, and reaching a conclusion was difficult. To understand each other’s unique situations such as language barriers, cultural differences, differing work content, and differing product lines, we had numerous video conferences, e-mail exchanges and department meetings. We are designers, so when we had language difficulties, we expressed ourselves with illustratio Mr. O and Mr. J were the most active members in the Design Group, and Mr. H from the Package Group, Mr. SH and Mr. S from Pigeon Shanghai Sales team, and Mr. Y from the Development Promotion Department, who served in a summarizing capacity, all took part in the project. Each team member had a unique perspective and set of experiences, and we all had strong opinions about the project. As a result, discussions were never one-sided, and we were able to consider things from a broad range of viewpoints. If even one member of the project team had not taken part, we would never have been able to create the same guideline content.

In my work on this project, I worked with other staff to improve Pigeon’s product line from our shared perspective of design, and by consolidating my efforts with theirs, I experienced “Global collaboration with strong-minded individuals” firsthand.

[My Pigeon Way Story_2016]
Launch of our new product "Akachan-no-Puchi-Aisu" (Baby's Little Ice Cream)

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The following is the story of how, in 2016, I was involved in launching the new product “Akachan no Puchi Aisu” (Baby’s Petit Ice Cream) as the marketer of baby food category. I utilized one of the Pigeon Way’s set Values, “Passion” and the Action Principle “Agility.”

I took over the baby food category right when a seismic change was about to occur in the baby snacks products in the spring of 2017. There were plans to reorganize the product lineups for the “Genki up Calcium” series and also “Tedukuri Oyatsu” series.

In the plans, it included an idea of releasing a product that was related to “ice cream.” Not only was there no precedent at Pigeon for an ice cream product for babies, nothing of the sort could be found on the market. Not only were there serious doubts about our ability to even sell this product, we were running around busily trying to meet the launch deadline that was only 10 months away.

Although there were many challenges to overcome, I enjoyed starting something from scratch and I was confident that this product promised to make quite a stir on the market. So I committed myself to working side by side with Mr. A in Product Development and Mr. O in Packaging. First, we set out to determine a concept. We thought about how this completely new product could be introduced in way that is easy to understand to customers, and how it could be mass produced successfully. We were not able to come up with one concept and, after several rejections, our plan stalled. However, without giving up, the three of us came up with a revised plan that was finally approved afterthe fourth attempt.

This made us rapidly regain our strengths. We had much to do; selecting flavors, verifying tastes and textures, and designing a package, but since we had already settled on a solid, fundamental concept, we were able to complete the product by the deadline, despite a series of trials and errors. We then met with stakeholders repeatedly for tastings and package verifications at the product building stage.

When it finally came time to unveil the product to the public, we held a series of sales branch briefings called "Snack Festival 2017," where we directly explained the details of our new product to all sales personnel. This unique product was the one I had the highest expectation for success in all of my 3 years' experience in the marketing group. In November, we invited logistics service providers to the product presentation meeting and they showered us with praise saying that it would definitely sell and could be immediately introduced in the value chain. This reinforced our confidence for the product. We didn't stop at presentations but went ahead with meetings to discuss how we could collaborate with sales to introduce and promote the product and drafted proposals that were to be used commonly by all staff members at sales meetings throughout the country.

Even now, the number of stores to introduce the product is increasing and we can anticipate exciting sales results going forward. This plan brought Pigeon's food product lineup to a whole new level.

[My Pigeon Way Story_2016]
A design session with foreign staff

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In December 2016, we held a design session with a group of package and product design staff. I took part in this session and conducted myself in accordance with the Values of Communication, Consent, and Trust, and also applied one of the Action Principles of the Pigeon Way: “Global collaboration among competent individuals.”

This session was held for the second time, and is an initiative that was started in 2015. The goal is to improve the quality of our product and package design through mutual understanding and information exchange among design supervisors from various countries. Although a total of 5 employees from 2 countries (China and Korea) took part in the session last time, this time there were 13 participants from 5 different countries (China, Korea, Singapore, India, and Thailand) . People who had exchanged emails but never met in person and people who had met but never had the chance to really talk and get to know each other gathered together for this event and exchanged opinions about design for two whole days. Of course this was a wonderful opportunity for me personally, but in addition to that, my job was to promote communication among the participants by providing a space for them to interact. I also entertained the participants from overseas so they could enjoy the experience during their stay in Japan.

At dinner time, the staff from India asked me twice, “Why did you ask so many questions about the package proposal for India?” I found it strange that they asked me that, but as I talked to them about it, I realized that they had the feeling of, “India has already decided the design, so it’s a hassle having to field all these questions and suggestions from Japan.” Personally, there were a lot of noticeable areas for improvement in the design India had provided, but as I talked with the staff, I realized that because I have no knowledge of the culture and background of the country, it was wrong for me to force my perspective on them. Therefore I asked many questions to get a full picture of the background from the Indian staff and think of a better proposal that would fit their situation. As I struggled to understand their unfamiliar Indian accents and express myself in my clumsy English, we understood that deep down in our hearts, we all shared the same desire to make Pigeon’s package design better. Through this interaction, I feel confident that we will be able to make proposals and have discussions more smoothly in the future. The mutual understanding we achieved was a result of face-to-face communication, spending time together, and getting to know each other’s personalities.

I learned from other participants that many of them also had experiences similar to mine through the event. The design supervisors from Singapore and China proactively reviewed each other’s proposals, and the staff from our manufacturing subsidiary in Thailand deepened their understanding of design, which in turn led to improved reproduction of the detailed elements of the designs in actual manufacturing processes. Design is created by humanity, and humans can become both organic and inorganic in communication. I’m pleased that I could develop these kinds of positive and open relationships between design supervisors.

[My Pigeon Way Story_2016]
Supporting the sales of the Premige stroller

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I am currently in my first year with the company, and put the Values of “Passion” and one of the Action Principles “Keep sight of consumers” of the Pigeon Way into practice in support of the sales of the baby stroller, Premige.

I love the baby strollers our company produces. There are two reasons for this. First, Premige is the first product that I was able to contribute to improved sales after joining the company. The way my heart raced when customers said, “I’ll take this stroller” is still fresh in my mind. Secondly, the product is well-made to the point customers feel satisfied about their buying decision. Whenever I go out somewhere and see someone using our stroller, it always makes me happy and I wonder what they liked about it that convinced them to purchase it.

However, right after I joined the company, it was incredibly tough for me to sell a stroller to customers. This was because when I first started working in sales support, it was impossible for me to think from the customer’s perspective, and I ended up just explaining the product features in a monologue, so I was unable to make sales.

At that time, I decided to try going for a walk and to push Premige around out on an actual road to try to get a better understanding of customers’ feelings. Although most strollers are noisy and jostle around, our baby strollers; Premige and Runfee ef use large-diameter single tires. This feature makes the strollers move more quietly, and I was surprised to find out that even if you put your hand on the seat, you can hardly feel any vibration.

I also observed other strollers, and I noticed that the babies riding in them were being bounced around quite a bit on uneven road surfaces. Also when they could not go over the small bumps, it looked like the baby might fall out.

When I focused on the mothers, I noticed they were often wearing heavy-looking backpacks, perhaps full of things for their babies. Not only that, because the width is narrower in a standard double tire stroller, the mothers were unconsciously bending over to keep from kicking the tires as they walked. I also saw some mothers stretching at traffic lights to try to relieve the stress on their lower backs. When I saw that, I thought, “With the wide radius of Pigeon’s single tires, the reduced vibration and stumbling makes things more comfortable for your baby, and the design also allows mothers to keep their backs straight for a more comfortable walking posture.”

I brought these ideas back with me to the store, and shared them with customers and other staff members. Some customers responded kindly, “I was thinking that a lightweight stroller would be good, but it’s for the best if the baby is comfortable while riding in it. I’ll take the Runfee ef with the reduced vibration feature.” One of the other staff members sold a Runfee Lino’n as well. Because the wider base makes it easier to walk with, these strollers are now popular with mothers dealing with back pain, and I helped achieve this result.

In all of my future activities, I will continue to make efforts to uncover customers’ problems and the things they wish for, to be an employee who can speak from the customer’s perspective.

[My Pigeon Way Story_2016]
Drafting Packaging Design Guidelines

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Starting in 2015, I spent about two years working on deciding the Package Design Guidelines. The goal of this project was to draft package design guidelines that strengthen and elevate the Pigeon brand by developing a universal image for the company to achieve a global presence. Throughout this initiative, I implemented the Values of the Pigeon Way in the form of “Passion”, as well as the Action Principle of “Global collaboration among competent individuals.”

First of all, although creating a universal image for global transmission seems like a simple thing, the actual process is not easy at all. The reason for this is that there was a discrepancy between people’s perception of the Pigeon brand in Japan and overseas. Also, Pigeon manufactures a wide variety of products, and the guidelines we drafted needed to be applicable to packaging for all of them. At this point, we started by analyzing current conditions and identifying issues, then extracting trends. Specifically, we analyzed the package designs for global companies with a strong presence worldwide for hints, compared brand perception inside and outside of Japan, and decided on elements that should be included in the guideline. It was a continuous trial and error process, but we set about our work with passion, and through repeated information gathering, analysis, and verifications using a diverse range of perspectives, the ideal format for Pigeon’s package design gradually came into focus.

Afterward, we created a design prototype and considered whether it properly expressed our brand keywords and whether the design would be able to compete with other products in the markets of various countries. In this way, the project members worked together and repeatedly carried out guideline verifications. The debate during the process of determining the main color to be used in our package designs was especially heated. Colors have a major effect on both the impression products give customers and the image of the brand as a whole. In addition, we realized that the way colors are interpreted varies due to differences in culture and thinking between countries. For this reason, we sent out questionnaires and conducted interviews related to the perception of colors in various countries, and applied the results to our designs. Through this process, we were able to develop Package Design Guideline that can be used in any country.

Through this initiative, I learned about the ways of thinking for both the Japanese market and overseas markets, which gave me the opportunity to think about Pigeon’s future from a global perspective. In the future, these guidelines will be put into practice, and I hope to proactively continue making efforts to help strengthen the Pigeon brand and achieve our goal of becoming the Global Number One manufacturer of baby products.

[My Pigeon Way Story_2015]
The 55th anniversary of the establishment of Nursery School

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In July 2015, I received a request from a national hospital in Okayama Prefecture, asking me to give a speech at celebration marking the 55th anniversary of the establishment of Tanpopo Nursery School (operated by Pigeon on consignment). Although it is quite a distance from Tokyo, I decided to accept, regarding it as a good opportunity to communicate with the people who support our childcare business on a day-to-day basis.

It was a big event attended by more than 150 people, including hospital employees and nursery staff, as well as current and former nursery children and their parents. The hospital director, who more than 20 years ago served concurrently as assistant director and head of Tanpopo Nursery School, said words of praise, touching on the challenges of nursery operations in those days. He also gave a heartfelt thanks to Pigeon for its efforts over the 12 years since the company was entrusted with management of the nursery.

After the ceremony ended, I was spoken directly to by the hospital director, who had only positive comments: “I would like to express my gratitude to all those, without whose support we would not have been able to celebrate the 55th anniversary of our establishment. I am certain that we could not have reached this milestone with our efforts alone. Pigeon has handled management for more than 10 years. During that time, Tanpopo has grown from a daycare center that simply minds children to an impressive childcare facility that has own distinctive personality. I’m told that our services are getting richer and more varied day by day, giving an ever higher degree of satisfaction to both children in our care and their parents. We truly appreciate the efforts of Pigeon and request your cooperation in making the center even better in the future.”

By participating in the ceremony, I was able to hear words of praise directly from the hospital director, and once again realized the importance of thinking and acting for oneself. Proactive communication at the field and direct recognition of each other’s feelings leads to a deeper sense of conviction and helps build trust. Since childcare is an endeavor that starts and ends with people, the event made me feel the importance of building such a virtuous cycle.

Our mission is to provide highly satisfactory childcare services, not only to hospitals (our clients) but also to children (consumers and users of our services) and their parents. I will keep this at the forefront of my mind as I approach our childcare center management business in the future.

[My Pigeon Way Story_2015]
The first exchange meeting of Pigeon Scholarship Foundation

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Below is summary of conversations at an exchange meeting with students seeking to work in the obstetrics, pediatrics, and/or neonatal fields. The meeting was held at the Pigeon Scholarship Foundation, which I am in charge of, in July 2015.

The aim of establishing the Foundation was to provide educational grants to students aspiring to become doctors in the obstetrics, pediatrics, and neonatal fields, where there is a shortage of physicians, as well as to provide an environment allowing students to pursue their academic activities with passion.

The first class of scholarships was presented to 36 students in June 2015. Due to lack of opportunities for direct interaction with scholars, however, we felt that our understanding of the personalities of scholars was limited to applications forms, email, and business-like exchanges.

So we decided to host an exchange meeting, which consisted of two parts. The first part consisted of talks by councilors and directors of the Pigeon Foundation, as well as the showing of corporate videos, while the second part was a social gathering. We sought to build an atmosphere enabling scholars to feel relaxed even though it was their first exchange. Upon reflection, perhaps we could have provided more extensive content, but we were glad to have held the exchange at an early stage despite limited preparation time. By communicating directly at the exchange meeting, we were able to appreciate the passionate feelings of scholars in a way that would not get across in letters or emails.

In the second part of the exchange, everyone participated in frank discussions in a relaxed atmosphere. Those with a strong desire to follow the path into medicine, while still only students, conveyed heart-moving expressions and language and spoke with great passion about their own future medical aspirations. At the same time, students are young, so are also concerned with various matters, such as hobbies, part-time job, and love. They seemed to have fulfilling student lives as well as the academic aspect. At the same time, I heard them express their gratitude to the Foundation.

At the exchange meeting I was reminded of something: “If one loses the ability to embrace goals, learn, work, and enjoy the environments provided for them, he/she will not feel motivated.” The importance of this statement is easy to forget in our busy daily activities, but by engaging in the exchange meeting with a true sense of belonging I felt a sense of fulfillment and, looking back, can say with utmost confidence that this occasion was a truly invaluable experience for me.

As we move forward in our jobs, we will encounter multiple new challenges, and the same is true for management of the Foundation. Through the exchange meeting, we identified a full range of issues, but in the future we will make improvements in order to further raise the Foundation’s significance. As a representative, this is my role and my hope.

[My Pigeon Way Story_2015]
The experience of Customer Service Center after maternity leave

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Three months have passed since I was assigned to the Customer Service Center, having returned to work after taking maternity leave. I am not yet fully acquainted with the job, but I always keep in mind an Action Principle of the Pigeon Way: “Keep sight of customers.”

I’ve gone through pregnancy and childbirth, and my son is now 18 months old. From Pigeon’s standpoint, I am the epitome of a customer. As a mother raising a child, and as a customer, I understand this sentiment, and I want be a person that becomes close to the customer. Each and every child-rearing environment is different, so I cannot at all times draw on my own experience. On such occasions, I first try to understand the customer’s situation by taking their words to heart.

Many customers who call the Customer Service Center are seeking advice on fundamental nursing-related matters, such as the size of the nipples on our nursing bottles and the speed at which babies drink milk. In my case, there was an anxious time soon after birth when my child wasn’t drinking enough milk, so I sought advice from a public health center and maternity clinics. Now I hear such statements as: “It’s probably nothing to worry about, but I want a third-party opinion,” “I want to know if it’s okay as viewed from another person,” and “As for me, I’m fine, but I’m concerned about by child soon after birth.” I endeavor sincerely to absorb the feelings of these customers and draw close to them.

Some callers are pregnant women thinking about purchasing Pigeon products or requesting a catalog. First of all, I say “congratulations” to them and express how happy I was to receive kindness when I was pregnant. I take care to convey these feelings to customers.

I am still not fully settled in my new position, having only limited experience since returning from maternity leave. When an inquiry is ending, however, I often receive words of true appreciation for my respectful advice. This is the result of my emphasis on the Action Principle of the Pigeon Way: “Keep sight of customers.”

In my previous position, I was involved in consumer surveys. From that experience, I came to realize that many people desire Pigeon-brand products, and I understand how high their expectations are.

Going forward, I will strive to gain a better understanding of baby and maternity products made by Pigeon while working hard to get closer to our customers.