About Resonac's DX

Connecting information to business
We will strive to become one of the world's top digital companies by reforming business processes, investing in DX, and fostering human resources

Maine Akashi
General Manager, DX Promotion Department and Digital Training Department, Resonac Corporation

Resonac, whose mission is to "change society through the power of chemistry," understands the importance of creating a foundation for value creation through co-creation that is not bound by corporate or company frameworks.
Maiko Akashi, General Manager of the DX Promotion Department as well as General Manager of the Digital Education & Training Department, explains the digital transformation and human resource development efforts currently being undertaken to establish direct ties with various stakeholders and share information with them.

1. Please tell us about your current duties

I am in charge of both the DX Promotion Department and the Digital Education & Training Department under the supervision of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO). In addition to the DX Promotion Department and the Digital Education & Training Department, the CDO oversees the IT/Digital Strategy Department, the IT Infrastructure Department, the IT Application Department, the Advanced Technology Exploration Department, and the Data Management Department, all of which are engaged in various initiatives that accord with Resonac's IT/digital strategy.

For us to continue contributing to sustainable development as a global company, we must continue creating new value through co-creation with internal and external stakeholders. Our CDO organization is working to build digital infrastructure that supports our business activities by utilizing IT/digital technologies and data and to strengthen and develop digital human resources who will lead our DX activities, so that the entire company can improve its competitiveness, co-create with all stakeholders, and create social value through continuous business improvement and transformation.

2. We recognize that pursuing DX is indispensable for Resonac’s development. What are your specific medium- to long-term goals?

We believe that initiatives in the IT/digital field are indispensable to solving the three key sustainability issues (materialities) identified from the perspective of both our own growth and our contribution to society: strengthening competitiveness and creating social value through innovation, gaining credibility through responsible business management, and developing autonomous, creative, and active human resources and culture.

We recognize that promoting digital infrastructure is an essential element to support business activities, while at the same time we acknowledge the need to foster autonomous professionals with the ability to utilize digital technology in order to support Resonac’s future development.

Our CDO organization has identified the following medium- to long-term topics and goals in the IT/digital field, and has set out as targets for 2025 indicators to measure progress that serve as guideposts to ensure that the efforts being undertaken are effective and moving forward in the same direction.

IT/digital sector targets for key sustainability issues (materialities)

Key item 2025 targets 2022 performance
Data-driven management
  • Our data standardization initiative has been completed and company-wide standardized data analysis infrastructure is in place
  • Methodologies and processes are in place to verify the accuracy of ESG data sources, required data, and analytical methods
  • Promoted the use of visualization and analysis software in the Electronics Business Unit and other organizations
  • Established a system to unify definitions of terms, standardize and systematize business processes, and promote data structuring
Promotion of DX and development of digital professionals through CoE system Business unit members work in pairs in the CoE organization to implement projects
  • Started optimization of CXO/business unit crosscutting measures on DX investments and measures, with the DX Promotion Department as the hub
  • Recruited human resources with knowledge and skills, especially from outside the company, to bolster our digital and DX promotion human resources
IT/digital literacy improvement Digital experience and education is provided to all employees Promoted the use of Tableau data visualization and analysis software, and supported efforts to quickly visualize the current status of business and management

3. You said that the key measures for 2023 are unifying the definition of terms, standardizing and systematizing business processes, and structuring data. These activities seem to differ somewhat from what I would imagine as “DX promotion”.

Resonac started out as a company in January 2023. We recognize the need to integrate the technologies and services developed by the former Showa Denko and the former Hitachi Chemical to create synergies and improve the value we provide to society.

The two companies have been operating with different procedures and using different systems and data throughout their long histories. In order to operate efficiently as Resonac and create synergy, the two companies need to integrate their similar business processes as "the optimal standard processes for Resonac," and to automate and streamline these standardized processes by utilizing IT/digital technologies. To aggregate and analyze data stored in different systems across Resonac as a whole, data with the same definition (meaning) must be systematically organized and stored in the same location.
To this end, we have launched initiatives to unify definitions of terms commonly used at Resonac, standardize and systematize business processes, and structure data. We call this initiative the "Resonac Way Transformation" and we have begun working on it together with the CXO organization.

Going forward, we will be teaming up with business units to expand this activity throughout the company to create an environment in which efficient operations can be conducted.

4. What are your future plans for creating a ripple effect throughout the company’s businesses and organizations?

With the startup of Resonac, some of the necessary systems are now operational, but integrating all systems is not something that can be accomplished overnight. To ensure smooth system switchover and integration without interrupting our business operations, we will draw up medium- to long-term plans and prioritize our efforts. We will proceed by discarding legacy systems, task-specific systems that are difficult to upgrade, and high-cost customized applications and integrating our systems into more efficient and easier-to-update systems.

In addition, the CDO organization has launched a cross-sectional initiative to support IT/digitalization in business units and the CXO organization under the overall control of the CDO organization in order to optimize system investment throughout Resonac. In 2023, we will be working to consolidate systemization activities in areas where business units have invested in systems, e.g., the manufacturing execution system MES and the product lifecycle management system PLM. This year we will also be starting "program management" activities to link similar measures so that measures being pursued by a single business are not confined to a specific business or organization, the aim being to create a ripple effect across multiple businesses and organizations.

5. How are you educating and training digital human resources to achieve world-class digital utilization?

I believe that personnel who understand business processes, systems, and data and can connect information/digital technologies and business can be classified as digital human resources. To make the people who understand these three aspects and who are capable of contributing to our businesses as well as their knowledge assets of Resonac, we believe it is necessary to continuously develop digital human resources within the company. The CDO organization has been hiring people with work-ready skills from outside the company since 2022, and members with various IT/digital and business innovation skills and knowledge are beginning to lead its activities. In January 2023, a new Digital Education & Training Department will be formed to embark on employee education programs to improve IT/digital literacy. First, the department will provide educational content to improve IT/digital skills for employees in Japan by job level, managing attendance and monitoring results. In addition to existing activities that support the use of Tableau and Microsoft applications (Teams, Forms, Planner, etc.), a new AI study group is being planned. We will continue providing support for the use of IT/digital tools as well as tips on the use of IT/digital tools suited to particular business operations. We will also work to improve IT/digital literacy by expanding the educational content that employees actively use.

6. What are your thoughts on improving Resonac's ability to utilize digital technology?

Information (data) is undoubtedly one of the most important elements that support business. I believe that the role of the departments involved in DX is to connect the flow of this information (data) without stagnation, eliminate operational waste, and create an environment that enables rapid decision-making, thereby driving the transformation of the company into an entity capable of competing on a global scale. There are many organizations within the company and each organization performs different tasks, but tasks duplicated across organizations can be eliminated by linking up the information within those organizations and the potential for noticing issues and values hitherto unnoticed can be expanded by arranging information across multiple organizations. As a member of the CDO organization, I would like to contribute to the sustainable development of Resonac’s business by working with all business units and the CXO organization to create an environment in which the information needed for operations reaches the right people at the right time, enabling these operations and the company’s business itself to move ahead more efficiently.