When Yasumasa Kurioka joined PPD-SNBL as general manager in 2015, one of his first orders of business was to schedule meetings with key clients based in Japan and internationally. He wanted to hear—directly from the client—what mattered most to them. He also wanted to share his vision for a different kind of operational business model in Japan to gauge their reactions. These early discussions validated three of his core tenets:
- In Japan, relationships are highly prized and nurtured.
- Clients value local accountability and decision-making authority.
- Locally honed processes attuned to Japanese customs and regulations vs global processes are preferred.
Yasu had previously worked as a country head of clinical operations in Japan for another CRO and had seen firsthand the frustration that could build up—both on the CRO side and the client side—when the organizational chart dictated that decisions be thrown over the wall to be made by a manager in a different country. Too often, this resulted in long delays and decisions that may or may not align with local needs.
The business model developed for PPD-SNBL took a different approach. The joint venture leverages the global power of PPD’s vast resources, expertise and capabilities, but accountability and decision-making stays in Japan. Specifically, all functional leaders in Japan report directly to Yasu as a singular head.
We listened to the customer voice, and as a direct result, our model differs fundamentally compared to how other global CROs operate in Japan. In the end, this has proven to be a winning strategy.Yasumasa Kurioka