February 05, 2021

Communicating with Customers Online: NSK VIRTUAL EXPO

The NSK expo provides us with an opportunity to communicate directly with a wide range of customers about our products and services. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made changes to the way such expos will be held in the future. NSK holds its first online expo, NSK VIRTUAL EXPO, from January 25 to February 26, 2021. We hear from employees in charge of planning this event.


Profile image

Chikara Yamamoto (upper left)
Industrial Machinery Marketing Department 2
Industrial Machinery Division Headquarters
Industrial Machinery Business Division Headquarters

Keisuke Nakamura (upper right)
Machine Tool Technology Department
Industrial Machinery Bearing Technology Center
Industrial Machinery Technology Center
Industrial Machinery Business Division Headquarters

Yoshinori Yano (lower left)
LG Technology Department
Linear Technology Center
Industrial Machinery Technology Center
Industrial Machinery Business Division Headquarters

Keisuke Matsumura (lower right)
Condition Monitoring System Development Center
Technology Development Division Headquarters

NSK Holds First Online Expo

NSK’s main focus for communicating with others in the machine tool industry in 2020 was our booth at JIMTOF 2020 Online - The 30th Japan International Machine Tool Fair (JIMTOF2020 Online). Looking ahead, NSK is preparing its own online expo and series of technology exchange meetings.

Yamamoto    JIMTOF, a biannual machine tool-related trade show, was held as a virtual expo in 2020. One advantage of exhibiting online is the ability to determine the precise number of visitors viewing our products and technical pages, which helped us understand visitor interest. However, this was NSK’s first experience participating in an online expo, and we were unable to get a real sense of what visitors were looking for and how they felt about what they saw. We realized how difficult it can be to engage with visitors at virtual events.

NSK “booth” at JIMTOF2020 Online in November 2020

NSK “booth” at JIMTOF2020 Online in November 2020

Proposing Solutions that Incorporate NSK’s Integrated Technology Capabilities

Yamamoto    Our next step is the NSK VIRTUAL EXPO, an exhibition hosted on our website for one month beginning on January 25. In this exhibition environment, inviting visitors to concentrate on NSK products and technologies exclusively, our aim is to showcase our lineup creatively and create future business opportunities.
As with JIMTOF2020 Online, our display concept for this expo is “More Than Precision - WAZA-ARI.” We will introduce a wide range of advanced products and services that embody NSK’s efforts to set the future in motion. As we prepare for both JIMTOF2020 Online and the NSK VIRTUAL EXPO, we focus our activities on the concept of Cross Technology. This means proposing solutions that take advantage of our integrated technological capabilities from the four essential components of machine tools: precision bearings, ball screws, linear guides, and spindles. At NSK, we are the only manufacturer that produces and develops all four of these products. In order to promote the total value that NSK offers, we formed cross-departmental project teams rather than having individual technology divisions pursue this issue individually. These project teams study and follow trends in the machine tool field to develop products matching these trends.

Nakamura    At past JIMTOF shows, individual technology divisions determined which of their own products would be exhibited. For the upcoming NSK VIRTUAL EXPO, we instead worked with multiple cross-departmental teams, so that from the start we were able to obtain product information beyond those from our own divisions. This resulted in a greatly improved exhibition.

Matsumura    One of the interesting features of this process is that these teams were made up not only of members from the Technology Division, but also from Sales. Our Technology Division has a strong desire to educate customers about our new products. And our Sales Division also wants to appeal to customers, getting them interested in our products, even those that have already been introduced at expos. Therefore, I think it was good that we were able to incorporate the perspective of sales team members that interact closely with customers.
Often in the past we created separate displays for individual products but this time we divided the exhibition into categories based on the value our products provide customers. In this way, we can easily communicate NSK’s integrated strengths.

Products and technologies displayed by value-to-customer

Products and technologies displayed by value-to-customer

Yano    In order to continue our planning in the midst of the pandemic, members from each department met for discussions online. We held a number of meetings, and as we went along, we became accustomed to meeting virtually and, I believe, the planning went smoothly.

Nakamura    Because the NSK VIRTUAL EXPO will be held online, we have a wider range of options, but this also made it more difficult to choose how to best organize it. In the end, we made these decisions by returning again and again to defining the expo’s ultimate aim. As one component of the event, we will hold seminars (available in Japanese) to give people a broad, in-depth understanding of NSK products and technologies. Rather than communicating via impersonal technologies like computer graphics or text, we thought that personal presentations from the engineers themselves would more effectively convey the advantages of our products and how they are developed.

Yano    At in-person exhibitions, conversations with visitors can generate seeds of ideas for new innovations. This is more difficult online, so we’ve designated a fixed period of time for seminar Q&A in real time via online chat. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of feedback we will get from visitors and how many people will watch the expo unfold.

Online seminar introduces technology trends and new NSK product solutions (available in Japanese).

Online seminar introduces technology trends and new NSK product solutions (available in Japanese).

Continuing to Integrate Different Perspectives

Keisuke Matsumura

Tomida    I believe that our mission is to responsibly deliver high quality and highly reliable products to the world. For this reason, when I have a question or concern during my development work, I do not leave it ambiguous, but thoroughly seek out the answer. It feels great to ride on a train equipped with a product I designed, and this motivates me. I will continue to work closely with railway operators to improve the comfort and convenience of passengers. I hope that we can realize a future where highly safe and reliable trains made with NSK products are used in every country.

Horii    Whenever a new employee joins our department, the first thing I tell them is that our products can influence people’s lives. Also, when designing, I tell the members around me to not only look at the surface, but to also look at the underlying reasons.
I believe that the number of our global customers will continue to increase more and more in the future, and I would like to deepen cooperation with our technical centers outside Japan to understand the differences in the market and evolve our technology.

Yoshinori Yano

Nakamura    Even with features like online chats, virtual exhibitions and presentations are still basically one-way modes of communication. In light of this, we worked hard to figure out ways to convey our message in a manner that doesn’t invite misunderstanding or leave out information. I hope in the future we continue to make the most of technology exchange meetings and similar opportunities that allow us present our products directly to customers.

Keisuke Nakamura

Yamamoto    The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work and the way we do business, and I believe that remote work and digital tools will become increasingly important in the post-COVID era. We will take this transformation as an opportunity to embrace digital technology to further expand our sales support tools and customer service tools.
Keeping in mind our goal of proposing new solutions, we’ll work to create more opportunities to listen to and speak with customers and share their feedback with the entire company.

Chikara Yamamoto