Asprova, Japanese developer of production scheduler/advanced planning and scheduling (APS) solutions, is eager to break into the US market. The company is curious, however, and perhaps a bit puzzled by the fact that there seems to be hesitation in the US market about buying Japanese-made software. Considering the popularity of Japanese-made consumer electronics and computer accessories, (in 2007, the US imported from Japan $5.4 billion in computer accessories, and a total of $14.4 billion in various consumer electronics), this does seem rather surprising. The US also recognizes the high quality of Japan’s electrical and electronic equipment.
So, what’s causing this hesitation? Or is there even any hesitation on the part of consumers—is it simply that they’re unaware of the Japanese-made solutions that are already available? Does the apparent lack of success thus far have to do with other less visible or obvious factors?
Below are some hypotheses for the difficulties Japanese enterprise software vendors have been experiencing as they try to enter the lucrative US enterprise software market.
1. The traditional/historic process of software development in Japan may have hindered entry into the US market over the past decade or two.
2. Many companies in Japan operate on a particular system or model of distribution called keiretsu that includes banks, manufacturers, distributors, and the Japanese government. The business affiliations of the keirestsu conglomerate affect how Japanese companies enter markets in various industries within Japan, and may influence their thinking about entering foreign markets.
3. Computer software engineering originated in the US (as a side note, several women were key to early software programming), with the single-byte character set (SBCS; one byte is used for each graphic character). Many computer programs and operating systems were already built and perfected while the double-byte character set (DBCS), typically used for programs in Asian languages such as Japanese, was still being developed. So as new software—and new hardware—was developed and entered markets, double-byte software was already behind demand.
4. This next reason is of the snake-chasing-its-own-tail/vicious-circle variety, but it’s arguably still valid: there simply aren’t very many Japanese-made enterprise software applications currently available in the US. If applications aren’t there, then consumers or users can’t buy ’em. A few do have a presence, though:
5. Localization, localization, localization! This has to do with many things, including making the software suitable for the client’s business environment, language, etc., and ensuring that all marketing materials are in the language of the target market, and appeal to it on a number of levels—not just that of the software’s technical/functional ability. And, having an office in the country in which you want to do business can’t hurt, either—with employees that speak the local language… (but doesn’t that go without saying?)
6. The patriotism of the majority of Americans could be at the root of their reluctance to seek and buy Japanese-made software. True—consumer electronics from Japan are popular in the US; but how about cars made by Honda or
Toyota? Perhaps it simply boils down to the fact that Americans will buy products from another country if those products aren’t from an industry that is perceived to be keeping their own economy going. (Or, that used to be keeping their economy going—ouch! Recent stats actually show that Toyota sales are making gains, while GM and the others are slipping…)
But all that being said, Asprova seems to be covering all its bases and doing what it should to become established in the US. The company:
Things Asprova might aim to do (as well as other software vendors based in Japan…):
What do you think? Why is enterprise software made in Japan not selling well in the US? And is there something else Asprova could be doing to improve its chances, or it is just a matter of time before it builds up a solid US client base?
References and other sources: http://www.innovationwatch.com/enterpriseecology/books/bks_0070425833.htm
In pursuance of my opinion still it’s a long way to go…particularly Japanese ERP/business software to penetrate USA and other markets due to the following fact
01. Language barrier
02. Japanese are less aggressive and adaptive to other cross cultural issues and want to play in a matured environment (where there are established payers exist) and not addressing the developing markets.
03. Too much perfectionist business process might not be suitable for other countries due to their nature and way of doing business e.g. still outside Japan there are only few companies who could implement JIT (Just in time) like Dell computer etc.
04. It’s getting really difficult to compete with the existing established leading ERP/business software vendors like SAP, Oracle, Microsoft etc… so unless and until Japanese companies can come up with a better or similar kind of products and services with really cost effective/lucrative/breakthrough pricing model, the market most likely is not going to accept this change.
Deputy Managing Director
Head of Business Development
Spectrum Engineering Consortium Ltd
Thank you for your comment regarding Japanese business software.
I’m CEO of Asprova Corp, a Japanese Production Scheduling Software company based in Tokyo. Asprova has been the best selling Production Scheduling software in Japanese market for the past fifteen years. Now we are expanding China, America, SE Asia, India and European countries. Japanese way of production like Toyota Production Systems is still a leader in the world. Asprova includes Japanese way of production systems and has been used numerous Japanese big manufacturing companies like Sony, Toyota, Panasonic, Canon, Sharp, Hitachi, Nikon, NEC, Fujitsu and +1100 companies. I believe we can give you fresh insight to production scheduling if you look into Asprova. I’m grateful if you would try it out. Free trial version download is available from our web site.
CEO of Asprova Corporation
I like it
Again, this is Kuni Takahashi.
Currently we are looking for companies who would sell and support our production scheduling software in North America and other countries. There is no doubt you will be surprised when you know Asprova. Please contact me from
CEO of Asprova Corporation
Agilidad Empresarial, S.C. is the partnership of ASPROVA Co., for commercialization & implementation consulting services in Mexico and share with Planning & Scheduling Group, Central and South America Market.
ASPROVA APS, has been demonstrate is a #1 & precisian software tool in the market, plus offer a very friendly operation for the end user, making transparent all technical barriers.
Agilidad Empresarial, was implanted in Mexico City, one of the most recently ASPROVA’s Case Study (March 2008), in the Industrial Printing Market;
Agilidad Empresarial offers you our commercialization and consulting services for your needs in Advanced Planning and Scheduling and Lean Manufacturing Techniques.
Very interesting question. As someone who practically has a shrine to Japanese made electronics and two Toyotas in my garage, I’ve always wondered why we didn’t see more software out of Japan. Especially since they pretty much invented lean.
I’m aware of Asprova, but I don’t see them much. Software acceptance in North America has a lot to do with awareness. You have to find a way to be everywhere. Actually, I sometimes think it has much more to do with awareness than quality.
Asprova, gambatte kudasai!