For the past 3 volumes, we have been covering the ACSL story from the overview, technology & R&D as well as their technology applications and potentials. In this final series, we are going to share further about how ACSL is expanding globally and exciting team development in the company and how you could be part of the ACSL team! To share further about this topic, we continued with interviewing Ms. Shiori Fujita, Specialist, Strategy Advancement Department, ACSL Ltd.
The Team That Envisioned the Future With Autonomous Drone
It was in 2013 when Prof. Dr. Kenzo Nonami from Advance Control System Lab, Chiba University started up Autonomous Control System Laboratory Ltd as the first steps to commercialise the advanced Autonomous Control system technology that he developed in the lab together with his lab members. As the company grew, they wanted to raise some funds at the stage of Series A in 2016. One concern from the investors was the team that they had were mostly researchers and didn’t have necessary know-how in business development. The leading investors, The University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners Co., Ltd. (UTEC), saw the big potential of the company and were willing to provide full support to the team. This is when UTEC introduced Dr. Hiroaki Ohta, who during that time was at McKinsey & Company, an international management consulting firm. Dr. Ohta was very impressed with the technology that Prof. Nonami and team have developed and visioned that the company can be the next “Apple” in the Drone Industry. He then accepted the offer and joined as the Chief of Operating Officer (COO) of ACSL. Not long after Dr. Ohta joined, Mr. Satoshi Washiya, also from McKinsey joined ACSL to strengthen the business team to expand the company further. With both of them leading the management team, ACSL was able to strategically market their core technology and exponentially expanded which led to the big success of listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Mother Market in 2018. Since the establishment, ACSL always recruits people who share the same vision and would like to pursue the vision together. As Dr. Ohta and Mr. Washiya shared the same vision with ACSL but through recruiting people with the same vision, they were able to develop a strong team that not only had very strong capabilities in research but also had a great business perspective.
Bringing the Global Talents On Board
Currently, ACSL has more than 80 members which half of them are in R&D division. The members are from 16 nationalities including Singapore, Indonesia, US, Germany, France, Switzerland, China and others. This colourful team was a manifestation of the open minded culture that ACSL has. This is the kind of direction that was set by Mr.Washiya and Dr. Christ Raabe, the CTO that joined ACSL in 2017 where both are very open minded. ACSL is now expanding their business to the global market after successfully positioning themselves as number 1 drone manufacturer in Japan. In India, they established ACSL India Private Limited, a joint venture with Aeroarc Private Limited, a local Drone Services company to deliver their cutting-edge solutions to the Indian market related to surveillance, inspection, mapping and others. Besides India, ACSL is also exploring ASEAN market starting from Singapore. They have been doing market research and some recruiting activities in Singapore including a series of Career Talk with Singapore’s universities, resulting in hiring of several students from there. Their activities were a bit interrupted due to Covid-19 but they are very optimistic to accelerate back all the expansion activities in 2022. In order to expand to foreign markets, ACSL sees some challenges especially to understand and comply with local regulations which are sometimes written in local language. Besides that, they also would like to identify local clients including local drone services and gain access to the government.
Comment from ACSL Members :
Division: R&D – Solutions Team
After having joined ACSL for more than 2 years, it has been fascinating to see ACSL grow from a small to medium-sized enterprise, where one can have great impact in steering the company’s direction. As the most technologically advanced drone company in Japan, I feel that ACSL is different from any typical Japanese company; flat hierarchy, performance based, dynamic and where you can also achieve a healthy balance between work and your personal life. With a strong, open minded, multidisciplinary-, international team, we are also expanding globally to India and Singapore. I am happy to be part of ACSL!
Comment from ACSL Members:
Division: R&D – Mechatronics Team
I joined ACSL right before the pandemic hit worldwide – 2022 marks my 2nd year in ACSL. It has been eye-opening seeing how ACSL navigated through the crisis, developing contingency plans, prioritising the safety of her workforce, and adopting a virtual-first workplace model. It might not be business as usual but from executive leadership down, every member of the team played their part in ensuring a smooth transition. Am glad to be part of this flexible and diverse team.
Exciting Journey Awaited at ACSL
To support this global expansion, ACSL plans to gather more members in each country that could help them to overcome the challenges. “We are looking for talents who could share and appreciate our vision, mission and core values. Not only that, the members also need to enjoy changes and learn from their mistakes to improve themselves and their work. They need to grasp the true essences of everything and not be constrained by the titles or position given.”, said Ms. Fujita. ACSL is not a typical Japanese company; they are a very flat organisation which practises their own core values including “Principle over Rules”. This value allowed the members to tolerate and appreciate each other’s uniqueness and cultures blended together. At ACSL, the new members will undergo training programs in order for them to embrace the company’s mindset, knowledge and necessary skills. Each new member will also have a mentor through the Mentor-Mentee program which will expedite the learning process and allow the new members to quickly adapt to the working culture. Even though they have mentors, the members also need to be independent and design their own work without any workflow given. This environment is very important to encourage each member to take leadership and challenge themselves to give the best in their work.
It was a wonderful journey of ACSL since its foundation and the company continues to gather passionate members to expand their vision and solutions to more people in the world. Throughout the past 4 series of ACSL articles, we hope readers could appreciate the big vision and contribution that ACSL has brought to the society, understanding their cutting edge solutions and maybe would like to be part of the amazing team. If you are interested to know more about ACSL and the opportunities available, please feel free to visit their website : https://www.acsl.co.jp/.
Writer : Abdul Hakim Sahidi
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