The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Kevin Duffy, vice president of KT in Japan

Kevin Duffy, vice president of KT in Japan

Tracing its history back to 1958, Kepner-Tregoe (KT) was founded in the United States by two researchers in the areas of decision-making and problem-solving, Charles Kepner and Benjamin Tregoe.

The company, which started its Japan operations in 1973, is best known today as an organization that works with companies to improve operational outcomes, develop leadership capabilities, and formulate strategies.

“We have a number of world-class proprietary methods and tools, which we use at different levels of an organization,” says Kevin Duffy, vice president of KT in Japan.

“We offer problem-solving technologies that are targeted on solving technical problems in the operations and IT service management areas. These technologies are endorsed by regulatory bodies to improve reliability and customer service.

“We also provide leadership techniques and frame works that are used not only to develop executives, but also to help them make C-level decisions and execute strategies effectively.”
“KT’s project management methodology is used to plan and execute capital and operational projects better, as well as in product development and innovation.

“As for project management,” Duffy continues, “we are, for instance, working with a major chemical company here to help them streamline their decision-making models and new product development cycle times.

“This is helping the company drive new products from concept to implementation and launch,” Duffy explains.

Duffy, an engineer by training with a post graduate degree in business, has steered KT’s transition and growth in Japan since August.

Having previously managed manufacturing operations around the world, his range of responsibilities at KT includes managing the company’s strategic expansion aims in Canada and Australia.

In Japan, Duffy is responsible for expanding the human resources of the Tokyo office—the company’s bilingual and diverse staff are supported by a large bank of consultants in the Asia–Pacific region.

“With such talent spread across [the Asia–Pacific], we are able to support clients in Japan and also in the region,” Duffy adds.

KT in Japan has historically worked with domestic companies in leadership development, operational and project improvement, as well as strategic project portfolio management.
“One of the problems organizations have is translating strategy into action,” Duffy explains. ”There is no shortage of smart people, money or ideas.”

“What companies need are processes as well as tools in order to achieve effective implementation—that is, to move from the current to the desired state and to handle issues consistently and effectively.”

However, this does not mean KT tells companies what to do. Rather, “We bring the methodologies that they can then implement in their own organizations, and which address the issues that they face.”

The company’s corporate footprint in Japan covers the traditional manufacturing verticals, as well as the technology, finance, and banking sectors.

Moreover, KT sees its growth in Japan as encompassing operations where it has a market-leading position globally, but where opportunities here remain open.
IT Service Management and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) services are examples, Duffy says.

“These areas will be the focus of our growth over the next 12 months in Japan,” he adds.

Over 15 million people around the world have used KT’s products and services since the company was established, Duffy reveals. The company’s Japan office—which is expanding—continues to ensure that the illustrious legacy grows, both domestically and in the Asia–Pacific region.

Early in 2016, KT plans to launch the latest version of its iconic problem-solving and decision-making leader development program in Japanese—with a focus on new digital media and the support tools for its implementation.

“Although we’ve been in Japan for a long time,” Duffy says, “we see huge opportunity here to extend the services that we provide.”

“After all, this is still the world’s third-largest economy, and there are any number of industries that require tools for clear thinking in a complex and global market.”