Nanophoton has established a five-year plan to achieve a significant increase in sales volume and is promoting various initiatives. The policy of doubling the number of employees is part of this plan. In addition to simply increasing the number of employees, in order to attract talented people, the company plans to introduce a system that allows employees to choose a pay-for-performance salary system, doubling the average salary.
So what kind of people does Nanophoton look for and what are the rewards of working at Nanophoton? We asked these questions to Kengo Fujiwara, Senior Managing Director, and others. To give you a sense of the atmosphere at the R&D Center (Minoh City, Osaka Prefecture), we took some photos of a day in late September (we even asked them to take off their masks).
Work location: Osaka or Tokyo. For employment inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. (E-mail Newsletter editor-in-chief / freelance writer Takeshi Nemoto)
Recruitment in five departments: Development, Sales, Service, Application, and Administration.
—What are the types of jobs you are recruiting for?
Executive Director Fujiwara The five divisions are development, sales, service, applications, and administration. Since we have outsourced manufacturing, these five divisions cover almost all of Nanophoton’s operations.
—You plan to double the number of employees.
Fujiwara I feel firsthand that the market for Raman microscopes, which we manufacture and sell, is expanding further in various fields including semiconductors. Now is the time to step on the gas pedal. In order to achieve a significant increase in sales volume as soon as possible, we have decided to strengthen recruitment and secure human resources. However, the basic idea of a small, elite group remains unchanged. In parallel with hiring employees, we are also working on collaborating with outside professionals (outsourcing partners) in various departments.
—What kind of people do you want to come?
Fujiwara It has been more than 18 years since Nanophoton was founded as a venture company from Osaka University, and I would like to see people with a venture mindset come to work for us.
Sales is also about creating a system to increase sales volume.
—For each position, what kind of work is it and what kind of people are you looking for? First of all, what about sales?
Fujiwara Sales is to find customers who want to use Raman microscope to measure something, explain the product to them, and make a sale. There are some people who do not know much about what Raman microscopes can do, so another important role is to tell them that Raman microscopes are most suitable for the analysis they are looking for. In addition, Nanophoton now needs to create a system to increase the sales volume. We are looking for people who can not only sell by themselves but also build a sales network through outsourcing partners and distributors.
Application engineer demonstrating effectiveness with demo measurements
—I’m in charge of making sure that the application understands the performance of the product.
Fujiwara Yes, you can. There are two roles for application engineers. The first is to show that Raman microscope can be used in various fields such as semiconductors, secondary batteries, pharmaceuticals, and foods. We show the measurement results of Raman microscopy on our website. The other role is to actually measure the customer’s samples and show the results. We invite customers to come to our Tokyo or Osaka showrooms to perform demonstration measurements on their samples. There, they can actually experience the advantages of our products such as high spatial resolution and measurement speed.
—What kind of people are you looking for in an application engineer?
Fujiwara I prefer people who are interested in fields other than their own specialty. Also, in order to expand sales of Raman Microscopes, I need to create a system that makes it easy for distributors to sell the product and build human relationships with them, so I hope to meet someone who can do those things.
Development is the core of Nanophoton
—I would like to ask Minoru Kobayashi, Director in charge of technology, about development, which is the core of Nanophoton.
Kobayashi Developing new products is the biggest part of my job. We also add new functions to existing products. When we have an idea for a new product or measurement principle, we discuss it at a development meeting and verify the principle to see if it is actually viable. As a result, if we feel that the idea is feasible, we plan what the product will look like. After planning, I am in charge of prototyping, and once I know that the product will work, I am in charge of putting together the assembly procedures, setting up the adjustment and inspection methods, and so on.
Kobayashi Sometimes the initial idea comes from the development team members, and sometimes it starts with an idea from sales or marketing, “If we had a device like this, it would sell.
—Nanophoton mainly manufactures and sells laser Raman microscopes, but are your ideas for new products limited to this?
Kobayashi No, it is not limited to laser Raman microscopy. However, there are some technical fields in which we excel. It is a device that can make use of the technology of laser microscopy.
—What kind of people are you looking for?
Kobayashi I am experienced in optical measurement, laser spectroscopy, and analytical instrument development. For example, there must be a good number of people who have developed or researched spectroscopic or laser instruments at universities. Nanophoton is a good place to work if you want to put those skills to use. Even if you don’t have experience in optical experiments, you are welcome to join us if you have experience in making equipment
—What are the benefits of working at Nanophoton?
Kobayashi At Nanophoton, I can be involved in a wide range of aspects of equipment development. In a large company, you may only be able to work on one part of the project. I would like to see people who find it beneficial to be able to work while understanding the whole picture. You can become an expert in the development of analytical instruments.
Service representative responsible for installation and inspection of equipment
—For more information about service, please contact Yusuke Shiozaki, General Manager (GM), Manufacturing and Service. What kind of work is service?
Shiozaki There are several tasks that I am responsible for. First of all, I deliver the equipment to the customer who bought it, install it, and explain how to use it. After delivery, I am in charge of periodic inspections, and if there are any problems, I replace or repair the new equipment. In addition, we are also available to upgrade the equipment. We also have a subsidiary in South Korea, which has one service engineer, and we provide support to him. I also give my opinion from the customer’s point of view in product development.
Shiozaki Nanophoton has been in business for more than 18 years and the number of devices we are responsible for is increasing. Therefore, we need more manpower. However, we are considering outsourcing tasks that can be done outside the company, such as deliveries and regular inspections, and focusing on handling problems and upgrading equipment within the company.
Fujiwara The number of units shipped so far has reached about 150.
—What kind of people do you want to come?
Shiozaki You will be required to have a deep understanding of the equipment, perform high-level work such as repairs and upgrades, and even create manuals for outsourcing, so I think that people who are interested in a variety of things would be a good fit. If you have the mindset of just doing what you’re told, then you probably won’t fit in with the direction the company is looking for.
Fujiwara Communication after the sale is important, so I would like to have people who can maintain a connection with customers.
—Mr. Shiozaki, how do you feel about working at Nanophoton?
Shiozaki I’m mainly in charge of manufacturing and services now, but before that I was involved in various fields such as application engineering, sales, and advertising. Since we are a small organization, I can learn a lot of things and see the whole company.
Shiozaki I believe that Nanophoton is now in a transitional period where Chairman Kawada has been directly involved in the management of the company, concurrently serving as president for the past four years. I feel that we are starting to move toward the next Nanophoton. Since we are in such a situation, I think that the company as a whole will improve further if we can work with people who want to do new things together.
—The administrative department is a function that supports the company organization.
Fujiwara Yes, it is. This department combines the functions of human resources, general affairs, accounting, finance, and legal affairs with the functions of corporate planning.
What are the advantages of working at Nanophoton?
—What are some of the benefits of joining Nanophoton?
Fujiwara Nanophoton is responsible for these functions with about 20 people. Many people are surprised to learn that we have so few people working on this project. You may be surprised. Nanophoton employees can see all the functions in front of them and know their role in them. They can see the company as a whole and grow it by themselves. Therefore, I think it will be tough for those who only want to do what they are given. However, if you have the mindset that you want to help the company grow and grow yourself, then it will be worthwhile. We would like to work with people who find such things interesting.