Ninjas and Business Cultures: What we can learn from Japan

Today (22/2) is National Ninja Day in Japan (it’s a word play thing – ‘two’ in Japanese translates to ‘ni’). So to celebrate, I thought I’d do a blog which includes both ninjas, and Japan!

Not long ago, TSG came up with the idea of representing TSG’s SystemCare team as Ninjas. It makes sense because the SystemCare team are able to spot things no one else can, and use powers beyond the limits of most human capacity to protect and enhance our customers’ IT environments.

If you haven’t seen the TSG Ninjas (bearing in mind that Ninjas should be invisible, but for the purpose of this video you’ll need to keep a sense of disbelief), give this clip a watch:

I’ve always had a special interest in Japan for many reasons – its role in the development of technology being top of the list. Japan has revolutionised some of the world’s business practices such as the ‘Just in Time’ concept, which was derived from the Toyota production system.

JIT is a strategy which companies use to increase efficiency and decrease waste, and has now evolved into an approach that a lot of industries have adopted. Dell are one of the most recognizable tech brands to take on JIT.

As well as this, many companies in Japan use a practice (or perhaps we should call it a ‘workplace culture’) called the ‘Five Ss’.

The Japanese Five Ss is a system for introducing high productivity levels and overall cleanliness in the workplace. The ‘Ss’ stand for Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke.

These Ss can be translated in English into: Sort, Streamline, Shine, Standardise, and Sustain.

  • Seiri means sorting through the workplace (desk, equipment, devices, etc.), and removing any unnecessary items.
  • Seiton is the next step where the items which are most used are organized in an easy to reach space – the main goal behind Seiton is to make workflow smooth and easy.
  • Then, Seiso, or ‘Shining’, reflects the importance of a safe, clean, and harm-free environment.
  • The forth S, Seiketsu, or ‘Standardize’ relates to operational processes, and aims to standardise best practice. It’s also about maintaining high standards at all times, and how that can be reflected on the daily operations.
  • Finally, Sustain (Shitsuke) is the part where the loop is closed. It establishes the benefits of transforming tasks into habits (like ‘muscle memory’) and maintains the importance of regular audits. Interestingly, it also translates into ‘Do without being told…’

Let’s see what this has to do with our TSG SystemCare and its Ninjas.

If you ever have chance to visit one of TSG’s offices and walk through our technical support facilities, you will notice that these Ss are implemented in all of our support functions (sometimes people do it without even realising) – this is for our logistics team, installation team, and repair workshops.

When it comes to the SystemCare Ninjas, the main element in their daily life is our SystemCare intelligent monitoring and reporting technology. Following our new partnership with Autotask, our SystemCare service just got even better – allowing more advanced reporting and monitoring capabilities which keeps our customers’ IT networks in a great shape to facilitate their business operations.

The new features added to SystemCare system allow TSG’s Ninjas to have easy access (Seiton) to all the information they need to make this happen.

Each customer’s network details can be reviewed and audited via instant access dashboards that helps sorting (Seiri) different elements of the network and ensuring that harmful software is removed, which keeps the network tidy, clean (Seiso) and functioning as fast as it can. All of this follows a standardised approach based on ITIL framework.

Finally, as SystemCare is a proactive monitoring system, our customers know that our level of service is sustained, and that the Ninjas will do their bit without even being asked (Shitsuke).

I’d like to conclude this blog with a salute to TSG’s Ninjas who show an enormous amount of patience and skill to ensure that our customers IT networks are always available for them.

To them I say ‘Happy Ninja Day!’