Accenture forms joint venture with Japanese food firm Ajinomoto

08 November 2019 Consultancy.asia

Accenture will establish a joint venture with Japanese food and biotech firm Ajinomoto – which is aiming to transform its business functions.

Global consulting giant Accenture is set to team up with Japanese food and biotechnology firm Ajinomoto on a new joint venture designed to fast-track the company’s operational transformation via a digital overhaul. The new entity, Ajinomoto Digital Business Partners (to be one-third owned by Accenture) will from April next year oversee its majority parent’s human resources, office management and procurement operations.

According to data from the Forbes Global 2000 list, Ajinomoto – which alongside diversified food products such as seasonings, sweeteners, cooking oils and frozen goods also produces amino acids and pharmaceuticals – last year raked in revenues in excess of $10 billion, but has at the same time been experiencing drastically plummeting profits; from ~$720 million circa 2013 to a loss of approximately $100 million over its last financial year.

“Ajinomoto remains focused on priority product domains and improving employee productivity to realise sustainable growth,” said Ajinomoto senior vice president and board member Masaya Tochio. “The joint venture with Accenture will foster the next generation of talent that focuses on higher value-added work to provide competitive services and help Ajinomoto perform a pivot to the operating model that consistently delivers greater customer value.”Accenture forms joint venture with Japanese food firm Ajinomoto According to the two firms, Ajinomoto Digital Business Partners will apply emergent technologies such as robotics process automation (RPA), analytics and artificial intelligence among other business process solutions to enhance the functionality and efficiency of Ajinomoto’s corporate functions, with Accenture to leverage its expertise in digital transformation in the consumer goods and services industry.

“For organisations to drive transformation by improving productivity and creating new value, they need to incorporate digital technologies into every process through cooperation with external partners,” said Atsushi Egawa, Accenture's country managing director for Japan. “Using our global experience and expertise in digital transformation and our industrialised processes, we will serve as Ajinomoto’s partner throughout their transformation journey.”

In a frank self-assessment, the 1909-founded Ajinomoto Group, which is headquartered in Tokyo and has a headcount of close to 35,000 employees spread across 35 countries worldwide, felt that instituting the digital and innovative technologies required to transform its business functions were beyond its own capabilities, thus its agreement to form the joint venture with Accenture. As per the deal, Ajinomoto will hold a 67 percent share in the new entity, which will have approximately 300 employees.