The economic slump has resulted in rapid growth for a Tokyo-based outsourcing service company that works with a diverse range of clients, including parcel delivery firms, automakers and restaurants.
Fullcast Co., one of the nation’s largest outsourcing service companies, differs from a temporary staffing agency in that it dispatches teams of workers who collectively carry out broad tasks defined by clients.
In terms of parcel delivery, for example, Fullcast can be responsible for handling the whole process, including sorting out, packaging and delivering parcels to designated locations.
Fullcast posted group sales of 37.9 billion yen in the business year that ended in September, up 44.2 percent from the previous year.
“We have been receiving more and more orders from major companies aiming to cut delivery-section costs since last year,” said Tsutomu Okada, the firm’s executive operating officer.
Although the domestic economy is recovering gradually, many manufacturers are still trying to reduce delivery costs as part of restructuring efforts, Okada explained.
Fullcast, which was listed on the second section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in September, is meeting these demands through the activities of its 126 offices across the nation, he stressed.
The company is offering to undercut conventional delivery costs, although these margins depend on factors such as what is being delivered and where it is being taken to, he said.
For its nationwide outsourcing services, Fullcast has thus far recruited some 700,000 workers, including students, part-time workers, and middle-aged or older people who were laid off in corporate restructuring moves.
In 2002 alone, Fullcast attracted 140,000 workers, including about 60,000 women, Okada said. Female workers package and sort parcels, while male workers deliver them, he added.
To upgrade its service, Fullcast carefully monitors its large workforce via computer networks stationed at its headquarters, Okada said.
The company also makes morning calls to each of the workers on its books to avoid absences without notice, he added.
Fullcast also provides registered workers with opportunities to obtain higher pay and earn more decision-making powers in the workplace, Okada stressed.
While enjoying growth in its pillar business, Fullcast is trying to develop new services, including assembling automobiles and operating “izakaya” restaurants.
In April 2001, Fullcast established a joint venture — dubbed Fullcast Central — based in Tokyo, with Central Motor Co., an auto-body maker in Kanagawa Prefecture, and Daisho Industry Co., an auto parts manufacturer also in Kanagawa.
The joint venture has been operating auto-body assembly lines in Shizuoka Prefecture, supplying Toyota Motor Corp.
“It is the first case in the nation that an outsourcing service company is operating assembly lines for auto bodies,” Okada boasted.
Fullcast Central operates the plant with skilled auto workers and with the help of experienced workers sent by its corporate partners, Okada explained.
Fullcast Central posted sales of 2.94 billion yen in the July-September period, up 47 percent from the same period last year.
In another diversification bid, Fullcast currently operates an izakaya in Hacchobori, Tokyo.
Last December, the company was granted approval by Tasco System Corp. to open the eatery as a franchisee of the Hokkaido-based restaurant chain.
Although the company has not disclosed any sales figures for the izakaya, Fullcast has already received offers from other restaurant chains to run outlets, Okada said.
Outsourcing service firms are often perceived as just waiting for orders from clients, Okada said.
“However, we are proposing new services to expand the business by meeting various customer needs,” he said.
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