interview no.02 General Manager Shinya Makinodan

01 The doctor-like specialist of the energy field

As the engineer responsible for energy saving agency operations, I hold overall responsibility for directing the on-site work of our engineering staff. My other main duty is pursuing engineering work to solve a full spectrum of client issues.

Most companies lack the specialized departments or sophisticated capabilities that the highly specialized energy-management field requires. That is the niche we fill. Our role – or what we like to think – is that of a doctor-like specialist of the energy field.

I'm proud to support our clients in a suite of specialized fields, including consulting on equipment installation, planning energy saving tuning, development of energy saving equipment, store design and development, engineering, and notification to stakeholders.

02 The products we sell are specialized knowledge and technology

The products FINALGATE sells are not tangible goods but knowledge and technology. That's what sets us apart from most other companies.

In terms of installing equipment, the purpose tends to be "installing in-house products" to save energy, rather than "saving energy" itself. However, at FINALGATE, improving effectiveness is our objective so our approach to improvement is fundamentally different.

Drawing on our professional expertise, we link the available technical knowledge to the specific circumstances of the site to realize the best possible solution for the client. We bear all expenses ourselves, so clients need not worry about mismatch in our improvement plan or poor cost-effectiveness. We simply focus on providing optimal energy saving results. And that means gathering technical information from a diverse array of sources.

03 Recognizing the importance of personal relationships

I make a point of getting to know my clients, trying to view the world from their perspective. I want our clients to feel more than just satisfaction in business terms – I want them to be happy on a personal level. Nothing makes me happier than to hear a client say a heartfelt "thank you".

As a company that sells knowledge and technology rather than tangible goods, we recognize the importance of personal relationships. As a doctor-like specialist of the energy field, we know that clients won't listen to us if we don't have their trust.

I believe that gradually building trust is both more important and more difficult than mastering the complicated of energy theories.

04 The joy of a direct connection with one's work

In a previous job I was involved in the construction of electrical generating stations. The scale of these constructions were generally large, but I can't say the technical challenges were great or the sense of achievement was particularly high.
Today I apply my own skill set to solve clients' concerns, managing engineering teams and projects on behalf of clients. I find these responsibilities to be not only more technically challenging and difficult, but also far more satisfying than my previous work in terms of the feeling of achievement.

I also find, as I deal directly with clients, that I can sense their reactions directly. I've never felt so palpably that my skills are benefiting the client and serving the needs of society as a whole. That realization was a surprise to me. It was the feeling I'd always sought as an engineer.

05 My thoughts as an engineer

In my career I've encountered numerous equipment manufacturers and construction companies. I can proudly say that FINALGATE stands out as a team of professionals who are truthful, straightforward and genuine. In the past we may have inconvenienced our clients by being a bit blunt, but I think we are really exceptional in focusing closely on what the client needs.

Japan is blessed with an abundance of superb engineers. We're not a publicity-hungry profession by nature, but I do wish society gave engineers a bit more recognition. I think if there were more credit was given to companies that succeeded through engineering excellence, as FINALGATE does, people's appreciation of engineers would naturally improve.

Interviewer/Writer: Atsushi Tanaka Photographer: Koji Hirata Posted: October 2014

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