Housing Business Initiatives
Sumitomo Forestry provides proposals for ideal home building through continuous communication with information offering.
With spread of the new type of coronavirus disease(COVID-19), information dissemination through digital content has become a mainstay. Sumitomo Forestry is introducing live broadcasts of actual examples via social network, and the "MYHOME PARK" web content, which allows users to view the woodiness that characterizes Sumitomo Forestry homes, as well as information on technology, ZEH, and design capabilities anytime and anywhere they like.
In addition, showrooms, model homes, completed houses and structural sites where visitors can see and touch rich woody materials and other materials are guided with sufficient infection control measures.
In addition, Japanese housing policy is encouraging the standardization of excellent long-term housing and Net Zero Energy Houses (ZEH) to transition to emphasis on the importance of creating high-quality stock which is easy to maintain so that each house can be valued and lived in for a long time. Sumitomo Forestry provides thorough after-sales service to ensure that every owner can sustain comfortable living in the long term. We are able to create opportunities such as consultation and inquiries through ongoing communication at owners events held in each location throughout Japan in addition to sustaining asset value through support for the comfortable living of our customers.
A Dedicated Team to Realize Ideal Home
Sumitomo Forestry has a dedicated team to realize ideal home building for customers.
The team is made up of a person in charge of sales, design, interior design, production and housing exteriors, and meets to discuss everything from the exterior appearance and room plan to the interior and housing exteriors with the customer. At the point of application, each person with expert knowledge inquiries about the requirements for the home such as the budget, family composition, lifestyle and any other areas of emphasis to help achieve the ideal home in all respects.
Home in Line with Various Needs and Lifestyles
Sumitomo Forestry proposes housing to a broad range of customers from first time home buyers to married couples that plan to live with their children in multi-generational homes or who plan to live as a couple after their children are grown.
In April 2022, we began sales of our environmental flagship model, the “life cycle carbon minus housing*”, which makes full use of superior insulation efficiency, high-performance equipment, and energy creation devices such as large-capacity solar power generation systems. Sumitomo Forestry is committed to building houses that contribute to the promotion of decarbonization while taking advantage of the power of wood.
In addition, each of more than 1,000 carefully selected plans in "Forest Selection BF" is a concentrated collection of ideas for living that only Sumitomo Forestry can offer, allowing customers to choose a home that meets their needs and lifestyle from a wide range of options on the website.
Both of these products promote ZEH specifications to provide living spaces that value the lifestyle environment as well as the global environment.
* LCCM (Life Cycle Carbon Minus) housing is housing that reduce CO2 emissions to minus throughout the life of the home, from when it is being built to when it is lived in
Sumitomo Forestry has expanded its model homes to roughly 270 sites and its showrooms to about 80 different locations. Technology housing display centers in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya also specialize in appealing to the technological and performance features of Sumitomo Forestry Homes. Each model home and showroom has taken measures to provide an environment where customers feel safe as the world faces the COVID-19 through comprehensive measure to prevent the spread of the infection. Some of these measures include reservations before visiting a model home and online consultations.
The model homes offer a wide variety of one-, two-, and three-story structures so that customers can experience the appeal of a home that meets their needs.
- High-quality Luxurious Wooden Spaces
Sumitomo Forestry's model homes use an abundance of famous Japanese and world-renowned precious woods for flooring materials, while walls, ceilings, and fittings are also designed with high-quality wood materials, allowing visitors to experience an overwhelmingly woody space. The wooden interior materials, which have been carefully selected and evolved by skilled craftsmen, are known as "PRIME WOOD," and provide a high-quality atmosphere that can only be experienced in the actual space.
Design Proposals Founded in Comfortable Living
The strength of a structure is obviously important in a home, but a room plan, ﬂow planning and storage plan as well as other aspects to provide comfortable lifestyles is also vital to every family living in the home. Visitors to these model homes can see the innovative room plans and ease of cleaning provided by Sumitomo Forestry with their own eyes. For example, families with children can also get a picture about raising their children there, including proposals for ﬂoor plan and children room as well as a study corner perfect to raise children. These families can also get a feel for high quality wood spaces accommodating work at home thanks to workspaces that take advantage of wood properties that help enhance concentration.
Environmentally Conscious Design and the Latest Equipment
Sumitomo Forestry is revolutionizing design with the Ryouonbou design concept. This design concept aims to incorporate the soothing qualities of nature and facilitate a lifestyle which does not rely too much on air-conditioning and heating systems. Everyone can see the actual innovations at our model homes, such as a design to create airﬂow from the south to north of the home with wonderful light via deep eaves. Some model homes are equipped with the latest environmental equipment, such as solar power generation systems, high efficiency water heaters as well as central air-conditioning systems.
Sumitomo Forestry's showrooms allow visitors to experience and check the actual materials and equipment used in each component. The showroom offers a wide variety of water-related equipment such as kitchen systems, bathrooms, and washbasins, as well as curtains, wallpaper, interior materials, furniture, and exterior components such as exterior walls and entrance doors. You can see, touch, and compare them to get a concrete idea of what your home will look like.
- Large Exhibition of a Variety of the Latest Equipment
We exhibit system kitchens from multiple product manufacturers. Design features from the sink tops to the color and texture of doors from different manufactures can be examined while comparing the storage space and convenience. In addition, a large number of bathrooms and washstands are also on display, allowing visitors to check out the water features while envisioning how easy it would be to perform household chores in their daily lives.
Total Coordination of Interiors and Exteriors
To meet a variety of needs, a wealth of floor materials, doors and windows, furniture and more are on display together with curtains and wallpaper with a wide variety of colors and patterns. We also have brought together a broad line-up of exterior materials for entrance doors and external walls to help visitors solidify their exterior images, which can offer coordination for the entire home.
Everyone can get a distinct individual feel with wood that varies in color and look for each tree species. Each person can experience the look and actual feel of these materials from the touch to texture which cannot be felt in catalogs or on websites.
- Exhibition of the Housing Structure and Latest Environmental Devices
Structure of a house is displayed in an easy-to-understand manner. The unique "BF construction method" features a main structural material that is about five times thicker than a typical pillar and is secured with strong metal, providing a high level of earthquake and wind resistance. In addition, we have the latest environmental devices on display, such as solar power generation.
Technology Model Homes
The technology housing display centers are dedicated to promoting technology and performance features of "Sumitomo Forestry homes." These exhibition houses creatively explain excellent competencies of wooden houses and structural features of the Big Frame Construction Method—Sumitomo Forestry's own building method that is Japan's first wooden beam Rahmen structure—so that visitors are able to understand the basic structures of the homes through direct exposure.
Respect for and Application of Customer Feedback
Customers First Initiatives
Sumitomo Forestry has established the Customer Relations Office as a Group-wide customer consultation service. Communicating the opinions and complaints of customers, including neighboring residents, to improve each department as well as management is an important mission for the Customer Service Department in enhancing customer first actions even further. The Customer Relations Office holds periodic meetings and working groups with each business division and Group company as well as shares information on case studies and analysis results to provide high-quality products and services which will bring sensation to our customers, bringing together as specific measures. The measures then are executed throughout the Group, and the Customer Service Department regularly evaluates progress and efficacy of the measures, and undertakes reviews and corrective actions, in line with the PDCA cycle.
In addition, in order to raise employee awareness, we use our internal website to regularly disseminate to the company and Group company information on how to improve customer satisfaction that can be implemented on a daily basis and heartwarming case studies called "Your Kirari" Selection for the "Your Kirari Award" is conducted every year, and the impressions and insights of pleased customers are made public to Group employees. By having employees share their impressions with each other, they accumulate as a shared asset for the entire Group.
Operation of Sumitomo Forestry Call Centers
Sumitomo Forestry established Sumitomo Forestry Call Centers that open 24 hours a day 365 days a year toll free, as a consistent, dedicated helpline (general reception) throughout Japan that allows immediate support to our customers such as an emergency response for lifelines. The telephone number is distributed on magnet cards given to home owners at delivery and shared on owner dedicated websites, in magazines and other mediums so that this helpline will be used broadly by our customers.
Presently the centers are located in Tokyo and Okinawa, and are linked together, shortening wait times for customers who call via the unified national free-dial number. Moreover, in response to the COVID-19, we moved and expanded office space to better the workplace environment for operators. We will continue to strive to improve customer satisfaction by promptly responding to customer requests and consultations.
Sumitomo Forestry Call Center Inquiry Breakdown (Trends)*
* The aggregation period for fiscal 2020 onwards is January to December of each year, and the aggregation period for fiscal 2019 and before is April of each year to March of the following year
At Sumitomo Forestry, in order to provide our customers with even greater satisfaction and service, we conduct questionnaires three times during when residents move into their home and the second and tenth years of moving in, and receive the opinions and impressions of the owners.
The survey questions primarily elicit responses about specifications, design, building materials, systems and fixtures, and the support service provided by the staff. The Company then statistically processes and analyzes these results, and applies any findings to product development and employee training.
We strive to improve customer satisfaction through direct customer contact gained from the comments received in these surveys, which are then shared with all of our relevant departments. Each branch collects and ranks items determined by the people in charge of sales, design, interiors, production, and housing exteriors to judge the level of customer satisfaction. Our headquarters forwards the results of these rankings to each branch every three months. Each branch then aims to improve overall customer satisfaction while doing everything in their power to revise measures accordingly based on the results.
In fiscal 2022, the satisfaction ratio in these surveys was 97.4% in the survey of new owners, and 96.3% in the survey of second-year owners. Furthermore, Sumitomo Forestry has adopted the Net Promoter Score (NPS)* advocated by the housing industry for the purpose of enhancing customer satisfaction. We will continue to provide high-quality products and services which bring sensation to our customers by further leveraging customer feedback through the NPS survey analysis.
* NPS is a new index used to measure customer loyalty (the amount of trust and affinity for the company and brand)
Communicating Information to Customers
Website Operation and Magazine Publication
Sumitomo Forestry operates its clubforest special website for owners of Sumitomo Forestry homes. As of December 2022, about 120,000 owners have become members.
Through a variety of content on the site, we provide information that is useful in helping members get more enjoyment and comfort out of their lives as homeowners. The site offers various contents such as a page where members can see photos of the construction site as its progresses, exclusive sales pages where only owners can purchase Sumitomo Forestry Home products at special discount prices and a 24-hour inquiry that accepts requests for building repairs. On November 21, 2022, the system was redesigned with a new look and additional functions.
Lovely Family is a home and lifestyle magazine published twice a year. It also features details about Group company activities such as renovation and utilization of lands. About 320,000 prints were issued for each issue in fiscal 2022.