寄付・募金・ボランティアのセーブ・ザ・チルドレン・ジャパン

Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami Emergency response and recovery program

Let’s Sell the Products We Have Developed!: Management and Marketing Lessons at Soma Agricultural High School (September 13, 2013)

We now often see “farmer’s stores,” “roadside stations” and “marches,” where we can easily purchase delicious and safe agricultural products, or items that are derived from farm products. The agricultural industry, which deals with food that is a source of our lives, is indeed one of the most important industries. In Fukushima Prefecture, which boasts a large agricultural industry, Save the Children Japan (SCJ) are supporting lessons for high school students studying agriculture to encourage them to think about the future of the industry. In these lessons students discussed, “How shall we sell our agricultural products?”, “Let’s develop new items using farm products,” and “Let’s price hot-selling products.” These lessons were provided in cooperation with Accenture Japan Ltd., a consulting firm that gives advice on corporate management and marketing.

 High school students learning marketing and sales

Students of the Food Distribution Course at Soma Agricultural High School. Since April 2013, Accenture Japan Ltd. in cooperation with SCJ have been conducting a human resource development assistance project for high school students studying agriculture.

 

As many people know, due to the Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear power plant accidents, the Tohoku region including Minamisoma City received massive damage to their primary industries of agriculture and fisheries. Understanding this, Accenture Japan Ltd. and SCJ have cooperated to provide management and marketing lessons to the 12 students of Soma Agricultural High School (Food Science and Distribution course) in Fukushima. The purpose of these lessons is to nurture high school students who will take the lead in the recovery of their primary industries and carry the future of agriculture that has been damaged by the disasters resulting from the earthquake. This program runs throughout the year, with a goal of selling new products that the students have developed on their own. As their sales practical training, they sell their products at the “Sounou Shop” in October at Soma Agricultural High School. By learning the flow of product planning to business planning, sales, and financial closing, students can understand management and marketing more deeply. We are very much looking forward to seeing their new products!

In this report we would like to share with you the lessons provided during the first term.

 

Product planning

The first lesson started with grouping students by four. Each group acts as a “company,” in which the members will cooperate to develop and sell their products. As a result of their discussions, three new companies named “Amosimanim,” “Bands” and “Quadrofoglio” were born. In each company, the president, financial director, merchandise director and sales director were selected. From that point on, the students call each other by their job title, such as, “President!”

 

Then they began to develop their products. By referring to various popular items already sold in the market, they tried to come up with as many ideas as possible to produce distinct original items. They created a number of unique and exciting ideas, such as “cookie furikake” (furikake is a seasoned powder for sprinkling over rice), “French red bean bread” and “grape jam for putting over rice.”

Discussion with class mates   Marketing class

When students have a problem they receive advice from the lecturers or school teachers.

 

In marketing, it is very important to ask the question, “What products do customers want to purchase?” So in the second lesson, students discussed what types of products sell better. They reviewed the products that had sold well in the Sounou Shop over the past years, and examined data about their customers. They found the following points:

 

“Red bean bread sells well, so let’s create something similar!”

“Some customers come with their children, so let’s add a play element in our product to attract children!”

“Our customers belong to an older age group. Why don’t we add vegetables to our products so that health-conscious people will buy them!”

 

In the Sounou Shop itself, which they hadn’t paid particular attention to, they made many new discoveries! Based on these discoveries, the students decided upon the “sales point” of their products, and finally started to plan their production and sales.

 Smiles at the discussion

Students think of a sales point to better sell their products.

 

Business planning

To make your products, you not only have to pay for the raw materials, but also for other expenses such as personnel and the cost of testing to improve your product. In the third and fourth lessons, students calculated the costs that they will need to cover for the production and sales of their products. By adding value to the resulting calculation (the initial cost), they put a price on each product.

Marketing calss 2

“How much would customers pay for this?” They put a price on their product by discussing with other members, and referring to the prices of similar products and the questionnaires distributed by the Sounou Shop in previous years.

 

How to create documents that convey your messages / How to keep accounts

Up to this stage, students had worked hard to create a plan for the production and sales of their products. In September, in the lesson for plan announcement, each company gave a presentation in front of everyone on their product. The students had put so much effort into the production plan that they really wanted to tell people about their products in an easy to understand way. In the fifth lesson, therefore, they learned how to create documents that clearly conveyed their messages.

Using graph on discussion

First they prepared paper materials. It is surprisingly difficult to create documents that are easy to understand! Afterwards, they learned how to create Power Point documents.

 

In the sixth and final lesson of the first term, students learned how to set up a plan for the summer vacation and how to keep accounts for managing their expenditure. This was to prepare for the test production that was to be conducted over the summer vacation.

On October 24, each company will sell their new products at the Sounou Shop. Each product name is so appealing and makes us look forward to the completion of their products!

 

Amosimanim: Carrot Cookies

Bands: Pumpkin Manju (buns)

Quadrofoglio: Handmade Zunda Bread with Chestnuts (zunda is a paste made from edamame or soybeans)

 

The program will continue through the second term at Soma Agricultural High School with plan announcements in September, the sale of new products in October and financial closing in November. We will keep you informed of the activities conducted by the students of the Food Science and Distribution Course.