YKK AP is working to foster the company's proposal capabilities, just as it does with product appeal. Including vinyl windows, architectural products have seen a rapid move toward increased functionality in recent years. In this context, more than ever we need the sales and proposal capabilities to communicate the product benefits brought to the whole house, such as health and energy savings.
Showrooms across the country enable customers to see, touch, and experience our products
We have established showrooms across the country to enable customers in every part of Japan to actually see, touch, and experience our products. The showrooms are more than just product displays. Rather, customers can feel for themselves the actual performance and effects of the products, and this communicates how important it is to carefully select a window and the functionality it provides. Specialized advisors propose the best product to meet the customers’ needs and problems,
and thus help customers build their home and create a better lifestyle. With the cooperation of Toto Ltd. and DAIKEN Corporation*, we operate 13 collaboration showrooms across the country, which are one-stop showrooms for plumbing, flooring, and window products. As well, we have established the YKK AP Experience Showroom in Shinagawa, Tokyo, for construction business professionals. The showroom includes a thermal insulation experience room located inside a chilled warehouse space cooled to 0 to 5°, typical winter temperatures. The room contains five spaces with different windows and thermal insulation specifications, and helps deepen understanding of YKK AP window performance through direct experience. In addition, we have exhibition facilities such as P-STAGE and presentation rooms, which offer points of contact for a large number of regional customers. * Some showrooms are jointly operated with TOTO Ltd.
* Some showrooms are jointly operated with TOTO Ltd.
Top: Showroom Okayama (TOTO, YKK AP Okayama Collaboration Showroom), opened in March 2020 Bottom: Showroom Sapporo experience exhibition
We host a range of forums for professional users
In order to let more people know about the role our products can play in solving social issues and promoting healthy comfortable lifestyles, we have to first deepen understanding of our products amongst the professional users who are our business partners. To this end, we organize a range of forums for professional users. Our APW Forum and Presentation (since FY 2012) series further promotes and popularizes vinyl windows with high thermal insulation performance. In FY 2019, APW Forum and Presentation events for builders and architectural offices were held in 11 major city venues. As well, Renovation Forums (since FY 2015), which aim to further popularize performance-improved renovations of single family homes, were held in six major city venues. Finally, 35 APW Forum and Renovation Seminars were jointly held for the first time in FY 2019. In total, we ran events at 52 locations for 5,444 companies and 9,303 individuals. As well as the above, we host Exterior Forums (since FY 2019) for exteriors contractors etc, and ARCHITECTURE MEETS... (since FY 2017) for general contractors, construction offices, and similar, as well as other events to disseminate information to partners in various businesses. In FY 2020, we have to suspend such group events due to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Under these circumstances, we instead ran Web-based promotions under the title YKK AP RELATIONS NEXT, with the idea of taking business partner and customer relations to the next stage. One of these promotions is our Web-based Live Stream Forum series, which began in June 2020. The series targets professional users involved in home building and renovation, and provides live streams of talks by experts in fields such as new construction, used housing, real estate markets, disaster countermeasures, and exteriors. In the future, we will disseminate information helpful for new lifestyle and housing.
Top: October 2019 ARCHITECTURE MEETS... (Tokyo) Bottom: Screenshot from the June 2020 Live Stream Forum
SE (Sales Engineers)
We provide customers with optimized proposals with simulations including thermal insulation, air flow, and sunlight
One of our company's strengths is our sales engineers. Posted around the country, they work as salespeople who can provide technology proposals. Our 51 sales engineers belong to the Product Development, Residential Business, Research & Development, and are located in 14 locations around the country. To make technology proposals, these engineers must understand the importance of windows not just in terms of window performance, but also in the context of the entire residence. The engineers conduct air flow simulations to determine how air flows through the house and what kinds of windows and window positions will most effectively improve that flow. They also use thermal insulation simulations and sunlight simulations to propose thermal insulation products and the optimal layouts for that particular customer. In recent years, the engineers have begun to focus on exterior products as well. We also conduct employee training to enable our sales representatives, and not just sales engineers, to make technology proposals. We encourage our sales representatives to acquire Energy Saving Architecture Consultant certification, and so far 934 employees have been certified.