Employee Interview Series: Get to know the Product Success & Sales Team behind HACARUS Check

Employee Interview Series: Get To Know The Product Success & Sales Team Behind HACARUS Check

In this blog three members of the HACARUS Check team shared their passion for product development and delivering solutions to customers – as well as how it actually is working at HACARUS.

Product Manager (Yusuke Fujita) プロダクトマネージャー(藤田)Majored in mechanical engineering at university and engaged in research on thermal mass transfer and systems utilizing fuel cells at graduate school. After graduating, he joined an automotive parts manufacturer and worked as a designer. He joined HACARUS in 2022. Currently leading the team as HACARUS Check Product Manager.

Sales Representative (Takuya Aizawa)営業(相澤) At university, he majored in business administration and focused on corporate analysis. As a new graduate, he joined a company engaged in the manufacture and sale of machine parts. In 2022, he joined HACARUS. He is currently in charge of HACARUS Check business development.

Data Scientist (Ippei Usami)データサイエンティスト(宇佐見) Majored in the information field at university. After graduating, he joined a manufacturer of products for casinos, where he worked in a development position. He then joined HACARUS in 2019. He is currently working on the development of HACARUS Check as a data scientist.

HACARUS Check continually
evolve to cater to a growing customer base’s needs

Today we have two people who are involved in the development and one in the sales of HACARUS Check. First of all, could you tell us about your respective responsibilities?

Ippei: I work as a data scientist on the development of HACARUS Check. At the same time, I am also the group leader, so I work with Fujita, the product manager, to determine the direction of development and manage tasks.

Yusuke: As a product manager, I am broadly responsible for setting development milestones, defining requirements, and managing man-hours. In addition, I am also involved in customer support at trade shows, technical support to customers, and component design.

Takuya: I am the sales leader, and my main responsibilities include not only sales activities but also strategy development and follow-up work with customers.

Please tell us about the development process of HACARUS Check.

Takuya: HACARUS Check is developed by listening to the requests of customers, which vary from company to company. First, we, the sales staff, plan and propose what HACARUS can do, and share the customer’s requests with the development department. If we are not sure whether the customer’s request is feasible or not, we visit the site or receive samples of the inspection objects and discuss it internally before moving on to development.

Ippei: The development department develops products by the delivery date based on the information shared by the sales staff. In doing so, we need to understand what the customer is looking for, so we communicate with the sales side closely.

Yusuke: At HACARUS, we proceed with development in two-week sprints, and every two weeks, we hold a demo event, inviting sales representatives as well, so that anyone, not just developers, can try out the released functions and understood the latest development status. The sales representatives then explain the new features to the customers, and the development is carried out in cooperation between the development and sales sides.

Toward products that meet customers’ needs and can be used safely for a long time

What were some of the challenges or impressions you had during the development process?

Ippei: In the spring of 2023, we started development of HACARUS Check, which is linked to FANUC’s CRX series of cooperative robots, and the scheduled delivery date was within the year, which required speedy development. In addition, our customers in the manufacturing industry continue to produce high quality products on a stable basis, so we had to provide a system that could keep up with them. The development of the new system posed a high hurdle in terms of both performance and speed, but it was very rewarding to develop something that had never existed before.

Yusuke:Of course, the development itself is a challenge, but it is equally difficult to get customers to understand the limits of AI. It is not always possible to achieve everything, as a developer, I try to explain AI in detail so that it can be effectively implemented.

What is important to you in the development process?

Yusuke:Other companies are also working on the development of visual inspection systems. Some of them may have more functions than HACARUS. In contrast, HACARUS is a newcomer in the industry. We have limited resources, so even if we tried to compete head-to-head, it would be difficult to catch up. Therefore, rather than incorporating many features, HACARUS would like to focus on essential functions and ease of use. It is rewarding for us to be able to solve our customers’ needs with pinpoint accuracy and realize things that were not possible before – even by leading products from competing firms.

Ippei: At HACARUS, we develop our own products and create new configurations, so we feel that we are doing something that no one has ever done before. Another important aspect of our development is our focus on quality control and support. Considering that customers will use our products for a long time, we intend to continue to build a strong maintenance system so that our products can be used safely and comfortably.

Takuya: Our products can cost tens of millions of yen. Because it is an expensive product and one that has never existed in the world before, as a sales representative, I listen to the customer’s concerns and issues, and carefully support the introduction of the product. We once had a customer who was troubled by the fact that he had asked another company to help him with a problem, but they no longer responded to his request. It was a difficult issue, but we persistently and led the customer to a solution, and as a result, the customer said, “HACARUS was very attentive to the end and really helped me out”. Every time we get this type of feedback I am glad to be doing this job.

Enthusiastic about development – with a sense of urgency

How easy is it to work at HACARUS?

Ippei: All employees work hark but we are also conscious of not working too late – and the company is flexible when I am not feeling well or when I have to run errands, so it is easy to work here.

Yusuke:Indeed, compared to my previous workplace, my work hours have been reduced by far. I think the cause of staying very late at work is due to the culture in the workplace. In contrast, at HACARUS, there is no atmosphere of conformity to others, and everyone finishes work at their own time. I often leave work early so that I can have dinner with my family. I also work early in the morning to make up for it.

Takuya: I sometimes hear that “it is difficult to get time off at a start-up company,” but that is not the case at HACARUS. When I got married, I was given a week off so I could enjoy my honeymoon without worrying. Even if someone leaves at any time, we have a system in place to follow up with the entire team, so you can rest assured that we will be there for you.
The most important thing is the good personalities of the employees. They respect each other and work together as a team, which makes me feel comfortable working here.

Who do you think is suited for HACARUS?

Ippei: We want people who have the spirit of “just give it a try” in everything they do. In our work, we develop products by repeatedly changing the direction  according to the customer’s needs. I think this job is best suited for people who are not bothered by this and are excited about what will happen if you try it.

Takuya: In addition, we prefer people who enjoy change. If you are not hesitant to venture into new areas and enjoy business development, you are probably suited for this job.

Yusuke: If you feel stagnant in your current job, if you want to try something new, or if you want to work in a more agile way, then probably HACARUS is a good fit!

Further growth of HACARUS Check to expand product development possibilities

Finally, what are your goals for the future?

Yusuke: We would like to build a system that can be easily introduced by customers themselves without any support – our main goal is to promote HACARUS Check as a tool to help future-proof industry.

Ippei: We would also like to develop solutions that further develop the current visual inspection system. For example, with the current system, the location of the part to be inspected must be decided by hand. I would like to take on the challenge of creating a system in which AI can even decide where to take pictures. I would also like to create a system that not only detects abnormalities, but also provides feedback to the manufacturing process to reduce the number of abnormalities themselves!

Takuya: As for sales, we are currently selling directly to our customers, but eventually we would like to create a system that allows our partners to sell our products. My goal is to lay the groundwork for this, and I would like to move forward step by step toward the further growth of HACARUS Check.

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