PORT Inc. operates four different businesses: the Vertical Media Business, Recruitment Consulting Business, PORT Medical Business, and Regional Revitalization Business. Rather than "chasing times," the company has a mission of "creating a time" that is indispensable for the society to come. While the major initiative in the work-style reform is gaining attention, PORT Inc. has been a bridge between companies and local governments. With innovative approaches, it has provided support to local governments for attracting companies.
The use of right IT tools is absolutely necessary for professionals based in non-metropolitan areas to carry out tasks on a scale and speed comparable to those based in Tokyo. Today, we interviewed Mr. Tomokazu Ohmura, Head of the Regional Revitalization Support Office, and Ms. Saya Ikeuchi, Associate, to ask about the story behind introducing Taskworld to manage a rapidly growing number of projects and how they currently use the tool.
Two Pillars for the Regional Revitalization Business: "Providing Spaces" and "Bringing In People"
Ms. Saya Ikeuchi （left） and Mr. Tomokazu Ohmura （right）, Revitalization Support Office at PORT Inc.
After graduating college, people find work. The workforce then flows from non-metropolitan areas to Tokyo, which leads to population decline in less urban areas. The Regional Revitalization Business aims to reverse this flow.
Why people move to Tokyo? That's because they can't find jobs locally in the regions they are from," said Mr. Ohmura. In fact, he has found that many prefer working in the regions they are originally from, if they can find jobs there. In order to respond to these needs, the company provides working spaces in non-metropolitan areas and brings in people to work there. In order to promote "U-turn" (return migration for work) and "I-turn"（urban-rural migration for work), both of which move people from Tokyo to less urban areas, it also offers a promotional website that promotes appealing aspects of working in less urban areas.
The company brought in IT companies and established a satellite office in Nichinan City in Miyazaki Prefecture, as the first case in the city, resulting in a model of providing working space
Implementing a Task Management Tool to Manage the Overwhelming Rapid Increase in Number of Projects
The company used to rely solely on spreadsheets to manage tasks when the number of projects were small enough to be manageable that way, according to Mr. Ohmura. As the size of the business expanded rapidly, with more than 30 different separate projects in progress, he realized the limitations of his team’s current task management methods. This prompted him to consider introducing a task management tool.
A task management tool would be totally useless unless actually being used by members. For that reason, he tried a range of specialized tools including Trello. In the end, he found Taskworld to be most user-friendly, which is the major deciding factor for choosing it.
Taskworld is appealing because "it allows us to manage each project in detail," said Ms. Ikeuchi. Although she admits that she has not made full use of it, she realizes the usefulness of the tool, which, among many benefits, allows her to communicate with the staff in the Nichinan satellite office effectively and efficiently and constantly check the progress of tasks. The company, which was still using another tools for managing projects as of the time of this interview, has a plan to expand Taskworld’s usage into many more aspects of its daily business operation.
Checking Unfinished Tasks Using the "Overview" Feature
When he saw the number of projects increasing sharply in a short amount of time, Mr. Ohmura realized the limitations of handling them with the company’s old project management methods without a tool like Taskworld. One of the major improvements after starting to use Taskworld is that the company can now clearly and easily see who is working on what tasks. Notable benefits also include the ability to see the actual availability and resource of each member at a glance, which makes it easier for him to manage his team effectively, without leaving anyone overloaded with tasks.
All members of his team is using Taskworld at least twice a day, in the morning and evening, for about 30 minutes each.
Typically, a team member’s workday begins with checking today's tasks first thing in the morning. In the evening, she checks on unfinished tasks in each project using "Overview", a Taskworld’s core feature that gives the user a comprehensive view of the latest statuses of all projects from various perspectives. By making Taskworld, team members’ main tool for project management, the company is achieving a significant reduction in labor costs while maintaining quality in getting works done, according to Mr. Ohmura.
Public Works Call For A Lot of Paperwork! That Is Why Taskworld Comes In Handy for Checking Unfinished Tasks
Many local regional governments, which are among PORT's main business partners, are interested in bringing in enterprises from more urban areas like Tokyo, Mr. Ohmura explains. PORT provides assistance to such regional governments that do not have specific strategies or know-how for making this happen. Like in the case of the Nichinan project, PORT also provides enterprises from metropolitan cities like Osaka and Fukuoka the grounds for setting up satellite offices in less urban areas across Japan.
The primary mission of PORT's Regional Revitalization Business is to play a role as a bridge between regional governments and companies and assist them in finding a best partnership for both parties.
Mr. Ohmura says that the use of a “right” IT tool has become necessary for smooth and effective business operation, especially for projects that are not confined in just one area. It is especially companies and organizations based in non-metropolitan areas that the use of a tool like Taskworld is highly recommended to, Mr. Ohmura says.