HITOWA's Business Began with Addressing Social Issues
Japanese society faces various issues: a rising number of dual-income households, a declining birth rate, a super-aged society, and a shrinking labor force, together with issues such as climate change, resource and energy depletion, and more.
Since our company was founded in 1997, we have met the increasingly diverse needs of consumers, driven by these social issues. We have done so by operating nursery schools and nursing homes, providing house cleaning and housekeeping services, providing catering services for nursing facilities, and other business activities that contribute to people and lifestyles.
Addressing social issues has always been our job, and our objectives are the same as those ensconced in the SDGs for creating sustainable societies. People are born, grow up, raise families, and live healthy golden years. In each of these stages of life, we support the lives of our customers with a human touch, delivering satisfaction and moving experiences. We believe that this is the purpose of our Group's existence.
Our goal is to create a society in which everyone lives rich, happy lives now, five decades from now, and a century from now. Our Group will continue to address social issues with sincerity, maintaining a strong focus on people and lifestyles as we support a brighter future.
Response to the COVID-19 pandemic
We wish to express our deepest condolences to all who have lost loved ones as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even now, over two years since the pandemic began, COVID-19 unfortunately remains a global threat, and we cannot afford to let down our guard. As operators of childcare and nursing care sites, we are led by a strong resolve to never allow the social infrastructure we provide to be interrupted. We would like to express our profound gratitude to our employees nationwide, who discharge their duties and implement infection countermeasures while themselves being faced with the risk of infection.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact, rapidly changing our society, economy, and daily lives. It has also created new needs. For example, the rising interest in infection prevention has led to more people focusing on living comfortable lives at home, enjoying peace of mind. We recognize the steady rise in the number of customers using our disinfection cleaning services in recent years as being one result of these changes in people's needs. Humanity will likely need to live with COVID-19 for some time, so we will reexamine the roles that our Group should play and work diligently to meet the new needs of people and lifestyles.
Addressing social issues through digital transformation
We are working to improve the quality of our services while raising operational efficiency of our employees and reducing the burdens placed on them by implementing digital transformation (DX) in our Group. We have particularly high expectations for DX in the childcare and nursing care fields, where operations have tended to remain somewhat analog, involving such as preparation of a great deal of handwritten documents.
One example of a specific DX activity being implemented by the Group is our introduction of a supervision system that uses IoT and AI technology to reduce the operational load placed on nighttime nursing staff and provide customers with safe, secure living environments. LIFELENS, which we developed in conjunction with Panasonic, uses sheet sensors on beds to detect body movement, respiration levels, and pulse levels. This system enables 24-hour monitoring of customer conditions and situations, which in the past was only possible through actual room visits. The ability to remotely make decisions regarding care needs and priorities has cut the time taken for nighttime rounds by roughly 90%. The time freed up for staff members is being used to spend more time directly dealing with and providing care to customers.
In nursery schools, parents and guardians, nursery schools, and local governments have been faced with a large amount of complicated tasks. To dramatically reduce this workload, we completely digitized the entry of the notebooks used for communication between nursery school staff and parents, which previously had been filled out entirely by hand. Health records, such as body temperatures, meal information, sleep information, and toilet use information were also completely digitized. We developed "Kids Diary," which provides timely access to this digitized information from smartphones and other devices, and "Kids Connect," a system which integrates various operations performed by nursery schools and local governments, such as billing, screening, and wage calculation. These systems have been well received by a wide range of users.
We will continue to use DX to create services that provide greater satisfaction to all those involved in the childcare and nursing fields.
A company in which each and every employee can thrive
In recent years, sustainability, including the advancement of female employees and the promotion of diversity, has become even more important. Women already account for 70% of the Group's employees and 40% of its management personnel. We are a more woman-centric Group than most companies. Because of that, we have implemented workstyle reforms such as introducing a super-flex system to achieve an ideal work-life balance, ensuring that female employees have time to spend with their families.
Since 2019, we have formulated action plans based on the actual conditions of individual business fields and job positions. These action plans, with their four themes of "personnel development," "health and safety," "culture," and "diversity," are embedded in our medium-term management plans to accelerate our company-wide sustainability management.
Our steady and consistent implementation of these measures has been met with high acclaim. We received Eruboshi certification (level 3) from the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare for our promotion of the advancement of women in the workplace and Kurumin certification for the support we offer to raising the next generation of children. Furthermore, we were recognized as a 2022 Certified Health & Productivity Management Outstanding Organization and certified as a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Excelling in Its Initiatives Related to the Employment of Persons with Disabilities.
The diverse experiences and rich sensibilities of each and every one of our employees is vital for us to continue to provide high quality services that support the lifestyles of customers in every stage of their lives, from childhood to old age. We will continue to strive to be a group that is rewarding to work at, where diverse people can thrive, so that we can achieve our management philosophy of "constantly creating new value that supports families and lifestyles as we provide high levels of satisfaction and moving experiences" and grow sustainably as an organization.
Continuing to support people around the world and their lifestyles, now and for future generations
The problems our group is addressing, such as the graying of society and falling birth rates, are not problems faced by Japan alone. They are social issues that countries around the world are grappling with. In the future, we will use the expertise and insights we have cultivated since our group was founded to take on the challenges of supporting the lives of people around the world.
We are an age of where we are deluged with information. That is why we will continue to cherish the harmony between people, providing them with comprehensive lifestyle support services that they can truly enjoy as we support the lives of people worldwide.
President and Representative Director