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Large projector purchase helps new firm hit the ground running

How Takeda Pharmaceuticals America was built from the ground up in less than a year

Imagine yourself faced with the challenge of creating a nationwide marketing firm from scratch in just a few short months. With nothing but a basic blueprint in front of you, and the promise of an important product waiting in the wings, you must begin hiring, training and equipping a team of new employees with just the right qualities to make your new company a success.

Though the situation may sound familiar to many entrepreneurs, there was a major difference at Takeda Pharmaceuticals America. The new firm was being started by the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan. The scale, and the quality, of the venture was far beyond anything the typical entrepreneur could dream of.

In the fall of 1998, Takeda Chemical Industries of Japan decided to create an independent marketing firm here in the U.S. to handle its new diabetes drug ACTOS.TM Takeda expected Food and Drug Administration approval by the following fall, and its managers wanted to be ready to launch into action the day that approval was granted.

Getting started

Diane Ulrich, assistant to Takeda Pharmaceuticals America President Saburo Hamanaka, was the fifth employee to join Takeda in 1998. Since her "pioneer" days, she has seen the number of employees swell to more than 700.

During her first few months on the job Takeda moved three times, as it awaited construction of a new five story high rise in Lincolnshire. But even as they broke ground for the new headquarters, Takeda’s new managers were busy interviewing and hiring on a daily basis. Interviews began almost immediately for everything from secretaries to finance officers. Training was an obvious and large-scale need, and the new training staff quickly set up shop in area hotels as they waited for their own classrooms to be built.

Many of the company’s new employees are sales representatives who are hitting the road to talk to physicians and other healthcare providers about ACTOS. The product is a groundbreaking insulin sensitizer for individuals with Type II diabetes. "As we began to recruit the ‘best of the best’ potential employees, we knew that we wanted to offer them state-of-the-art equipment to help them and the company succeed," says Ulrich. She brought in United Visual to outfit the new company with presentation equipment.

Takeda was searching for just the right technology to meet a number of specific needs: appropriately outfitting permanent spaces like the executive boardroom and employee training rooms, as well as selecting portable equipment that would allow a travelling sales force to make high-quality presentations on the road.

Finding the right tools

Takeda worked with United Visual’s Doug Carnell to equip the company’s executive boardroom. They chose a ceiling mounted Sharp LCD projector and fully-equipped rack system, along with a remote that lowers the wall screen, the lights and closes the window shades at the push of a button. The system ensures that internal meetings, client presentations and videoconferences all come off with maximum impact.

United’s Mike Maturo stepped into the picture to guide Takeda on selecting the right technology for the new company’s training and sales programs. Ultimately, Maturo furnished the two training rooms at the Lincolnshire headquarters with ceiling mounted Sharp XG-E3500 projectors, screens and sound systems. With Maturo’s help, camcorders, wireless microphones, monitors and other technology were carefully chosen and crossed off Takeda’s shopping list.

"I told United what our needs and concerns were, and they worked closely with me to find exactly the right fit," says Ulrich.

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For example, window light was a concern in the company’s three smaller conference rooms, as it would be for sales representatives making presentations in all sorts of conditions out on the road. Maturo brought in several projectors and Ulrich ultimately chose Epson PowerLite 7500 portables - 13 for use at Takeda’s headquarters and 51 more for the nationwide sales force.

On the road with the PowerLite

Setting up the PowerLite is easy and fast, and at just under 10 pounds it’s ideal for sales representatives who need to travel light. The unit’s brightness and high image quality is critical to a sales force that must project technological know-how as well as product savvy.

Each of Takeda’s sales representatives has gone through intense training that gives them an intimate knowledge of ACTOS and what it can do for Type II diabetes patients. Now the sales representatives are taking that knowledge on the road in high-quality presentations.

The sales representatives design their own PowerPoint presentations on their laptops, and then use the PowerLite projectors to make their presentations. Using the laptop allows last minute changes and fast customization of professional-looking presentations—an important consideration for the on-the-go Takeda sales force.

Off and running

The Food and Drug Administration approved ACTOS in mid July, and the fast pace at Takeda Pharmaceuticals America moved into hyperdrive.

"Everything is running like clockwork," says Ulrich. "We’ve got the perfect combination of wonderful people, a great product and the right tools that will help establish Takeda Pharmaceuticals America as a premier diabetes-care company."