Original link: https://hnavi.co.jp/knowledge/interview/fswa_heligate/
Usually, a funeral that is not very familiar. In recent years, funerals that respond to the diverse needs of the deceased and the bereaved have become popular, such as family funerals performed by relatives alone and natural funerals that do not require a grave.
Of course, funeral companies will not be able to handle the traditional menus alone, and customization elements will be required more than ever. Some individuals may think, "Better yet, arrange a hearse, a morgue, a funeral home, etc ... individually."
In response to such a voice, Funeral service workers academy, Inc. (hereinafter Fswa) is developing a new form of funeral service "Fnet". In addition, it is compatible with smartphones and is looking ahead to overseas expansion in the future.
This time, we spoke with Mr. Takayuki Takada, who is the representative of Fswa, who is the system development ordering source of "F-net", and Heligate Representative.
■ Enjoy a bitter experience at a development company introduced by an acquaintance
- What kind of company is Fswa, who provides the funeral arrangement service “Fnet”?
Mr. Fswa Takada: I was originally an air traffic controller, and after that, I traveled to construction companies and airlines. Having worked in the bridal division at an airline company, I am also currently representing the Utsunomiya Funeral Service of the Citizen Funeral Holdings Group. However, while working on the funeral service of the citizens, new challenges for the funeral industry became apparent. With the declining birthrate and aging population, funeral demand will not decline for some time. However, the number of staff responsible for funerals is decreasing. Therefore, we thought it necessary to have a mechanism for sharing resources such as hearse, driver, morgue, funeral hall, etc. between industries. A company that does not have resources can procure when needed, and a company that has resources can operate efficiently. "Fnet" is a system that provides this as a service. Our company was established in 2017 to provide this "Fnet". It can be used not only by this service provider but also by individuals to arrange funerals. It is also possible to choose a hearse, morgue, ceremonial hall, etc., and perform a funeral for the deceased and attendees.
- Is Fswa starting a business in the United States?
Mr. Takayuki Takada, Representative Director of Funeral service workers academy, Inc.
Mr. Takada: Yes. This system was originally intended for global expansion, and we established a company in the United States as the originator. However, currently I am mainly active in Japan. Funerals cannot be expanded to the world with a single way of thinking because the culture, customs and religion of the country are closely related. In order to reach the world, it is necessary to have a flexible service that can meet diverse needs. In this respect, Japan has diverse religions, and the funeral culture and customs vary from region to region, and the specifications and quality required for ceremonies are high, making it one of the most difficult environments in the world. Therefore, I first plan to improve the system in Japan, and from there I am thinking about the world.
- Is that the "Fnet" you requested in the order navigation this time ?
Mr. Takada: Yes. The development of "F-net" started at the same time as the company was established. At first, I asked the development company that was introduced to me by an acquaintance. However, it will never be completed. Only additional requests arrived, and the situation where development did not proceed at all continued. After all, it took a year and a half to complete. Although I canceled the contract, I was in a terrible situation that "high", "slow" and "cannot" due to the loss of nearly 10 million yen. However, I could not give up and I wanted to exhibit at this exhibition (5th Ending Industry Expo: August 20-22, 2019) somehow, so I decided to complete it using the ordering navigation.
■ Focus on development companies doing offshore development!
- Ordering Navi but I was allowed to introduce you about five companies from, will the decisive factor that chose Heligate's from among them was what kind of things do
We met with the representatives of all five companies introduced by Mr. Takada. It's an embarrassing story, but I didn't know anything about "overseas offshore development" until I met each company this time (laughter). However, considering multilingual support, we wanted to leave it to a development company doing offshore development overseas, so we narrowed down to two companies including Mr. Heligate. The decisive factor is the design and the person in charge. The design suggested by Heligate was closer to our image. And from the stage of the meeting Heligate, there was a lot of excitement. Considering that we will have a long relationship in the future, I thought it would be better to leave it to Heligate, who has the member who can communicate and understand the requirement very well.
- It seems that the design image is similar, but was there any model application at the ordering stage?
Mr. Takada: I was thinking about a simple and easy-to-understand UI / UX design with reference to overseas rental car reservation applications. I think the design proposal from Heligate was close to our image.
- What kind of company is Heligate?
Our company has a development base in Vietnam and is engaged in a wide range of development including web applications and mobile applications, as well as software development utilizing AI and blockchain technology. It is often said that “Vietnamese people are diligent”, but that is true, and of course not only technical skills, but there are also staff who are fluent in Japanese, so there is a time lag that does not seem to be overseas development. We are providing high quality development results.
- Ms. Fswa said that you actively chose an overseas offshore development company, but were you particularly worried about overseas development?
Mr. Takada: In the case of our company, a company that is developing in Japan was already in pain, so I was not worried that at least the development base was overseas. In addition, Heligate properly held the regular conference with the local SE at the video conference. This time, for the first time, I learned that there was no such place with previous developers, and such regular meetings are common. The meeting was a Q&A storm at the beginning. "I will ask you in detail", I remember being surprised to hear such a thing.
Heligate Representative: The local staff members are always enthusiastic about "making good things". Therefore, we try to listen to the needs of our customers as much as possible. Especially this time, the subject was a funeral, so there were many cultures and customs that Vietnam does not have, so there may be more questions than usual. It was also helpful that Mr. Takada had a solid image.
Mr. Takada: The enthusiasm of the locals has been transmitted very well. For example, when an issue was raised during a video conference, I was able to pause the conference and see how engineers were seriously talking to each other in the back. In this way, I was able to get a glimpse of the enthusiasm of the site because I asked Heligate to do so. Rather, I think it was good to feel more secure.
■ Now is the first step. We will continue to cooperate in future development
- Are there any areas where you were struggling with the development?
Heligate Representative: Is it the implementation of various payment methods? Aside from credit cards, various payment gateways, and bank transfers, there are some things that we are not familiar with in Vietnam, such as convenience store payments and direct debits, so I think it was a good experience for engineers.
Mr. Takada: This is also one of the reasons why the Japanese version was first developed. There are several payment methods in Japan. I thought that by covering all payment methods in Japan, we could lower the hurdle for overseas expansion of payment.
- Please tell us about the future development of “F-net”.
Mr. Takada: This time, we unveiled at the exhibition the first step. We would like to further enhance the content based on the feedback from inside and outside the industry. Our major goal is to expand overseas, but there are still many things we must do in Japan before that. Currently, for example, we mainly arrange for hearse cars and morgues, but we also need to enhance funeral halls, food arrangements, temples and churches, cemeteries, etc. In the future, we would like to make use of AI to create a system that allows us to choose and propose the optimal plan for our customers.
Heligate Representative: Vietnam's development team has been working on AI-related development so far, and after hearing about it, the morale of the site has increased.
Thanks to Mr. Takada and Heligate Representative, I can finally come here. We would like to keep in touch with you for many years to come. Nice to meet you.
Heligate Representative: Thank you for your support.
- I'm looking forward to future developments. Thank you very much.