Tracing its history back to 1958, Kepner-Tregoe (KT) was founded in the US by two researchers in the areas of decision-making and problem-solving, Charles Kepner and Benjamin Tregoe. Having started its Japan operations in 1973, KT is best known today for working with firms to improve operational outcomes, develop leadership capabilities and formulate strategies.
“We have a number of world-class proprietary methods and tools that we use at different levels of an organisation”, said Kevin Duffy, vice president of KT in Japan.
“We offer technologies that are targeted on solving technical problems in the operations and IT service management areas. These technologies are endorsed by regulatory bodies to improve reliability and customer service”.
The firm also provides leadership techniques and frameworks that are used not only to develop executives, but also to help them make C-level decisions and execute strategies effectively.
“KT’s project management methodology is used to plan and execute capital and operational projects better, as well as in product development and innovation”, said Duffy.
“As for project management, we are, for instance, working with a major chemical company here to help them streamline their decision-making models and new product development cycle times. This is helping the company drive new products from concept to implementation and launch”, he added.
A trained engineer, with a post graduate degree in business, Duffy has steered KT’s transition and growth in Japan since August. Having previously managed manufacturing operations around the world, his work now includes managing the firm’s strategic expansion in Canada and Australia.
He is also responsible for expanding the Tokyo office’s bilingual and diverse human resources, who are supported by a large bank of consultants in the Asia–Pacific region.
“With such talent spread across [the Asia–Pacific], we are able to support clients in Japan and also in the region”, he said.
Tools for the trade
KT in Japan has historically worked with domestic firms in leadership development, operational and project improvement, as well as strategic project portfolio management.
“One of the problems organisations have is translating strategy into action”, Duffy said. “There is no shortage of smart people, money or ideas. What companies need are processes and tools in order to achieve effective implementation—that is, to move from the current to the desired state and to handle issues consistently and effectively”.
However, this does not mean KT tells firms what to do. Rather, according to Duffy, “we bring the methodologies that they can then implement in their own organisations, and which address the issues that they face”.
The firm’s corporate footprint in Japan covers the traditional manufacturing verticals, as well as the technology, finance and banking sectors.
The road ahead
KT sees its growth in Japan as encompassing operations where it has a market-leading position globally, but where opportunities here remain. According to Duffy, examples include IT service management and information technology infrastructure library services.
“These areas will be the focus of our growth over the next 12 months in Japan”, he said.
Over 15mn people around the world have used KT’s products and services since the firm was established. Its expanding Japan office continues to ensure that the illustrious legacy grows, both domestically and in the Asia–Pacific region.
Early in 2016, KT plans to launch the latest version of its iconic problem-solving and decision-making leader development programme in Japanese, with a focus on new digital media and the support tools for its implementation.
“Although we’ve been in Japan for a long time, we see huge opportunity here to extend the services that we provide”, Duffy said. “After all, this is still the world’s third-largest economy, and there are any number of industries that require tools for clear thinking in a complex and global market”.