Nobutsuna Sasaki, Marketing Department Chief, Housing Promotion Division, Tokyo Head Office, Daiwa House Industry
Over the past half-century, Japan’s urban landscapes have been shaped and reshaped by many forces, from the country’s postwar industrial boom to natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons. These events have inspired the country’s construction industry to build stronger, smarter, and faster.
For Daiwa House Industry, Japan’s largest manufacturer and builder of prefabricated housing, responding to the country’s needs is a social mission, not just a business opportunity. It means continually developing structural and technical innovations that conserve resources and offer greater security. By incorporating iPad into its sales and manufacturing operations, Daiwa House Industry has found new ways to offer safe, comfortable havens to its customers.
“We help our customers make the biggest purchase of their life,” says Takashi Wada, manager of Daiwa House Industry’s Nara production plant. “As the manufacturer, we need to make their dreams come true. Using iPad, our work has become very accurate — and our work time has been reduced, so we can deliver more quickly.”
Daiwa House Industry has a long history of designing products to meet the needs of the community. A monumentally destructive typhoon in 1950 inspired the company’s early “pipe house” design for standard temporary construction. The design was built with a sturdy, economical steel‑pipe framing, emulating the bamboo forests that had weathered the storm. By the end of that decade, Daiwa House Industry was also producing mobile classrooms to accommodate baby‑boom demand — including a prefabricated model that could be erected in just three hours.
Since then, the company has grown into a multinational construction empire that manufactures and builds single- and multi‑family houses, apartments, condominiums, resorts, and commercial buildings. With factories across Japan, Daiwa House Industry is also expanding with new ventures in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the United States.
One of Daiwa House Industry’s most innovative designs is the Smart‑house, which includes an iPad preinstalled in an interior wall running a free app called D‑HEMS. It enables homeowners to remotely monitor integrated systems such as electricity, water, and air conditioning, check their total energy use, and see backup battery status in case of a power outage.
“D‑HEMS was developed to save as much energy as possible,” says Kyoji Kato, Executive Officer and GM of the company’s Information System Division. “We implement technology like this to do business ahead of our customers, so new features can be applied early. Within our industry, we are probably the first to incorporate iPad on a large scale.”
Takashi Wada, Manager, Production Management Section, Nara Plant, Daiwa House Industry
For the 1500+ sales representatives in Daiwa House Industry’s home business, iPad offers a quick, intuitive way to share important sales materials with customers. In fact, the company has replaced laptops entirely with iPad devices for its sales staff.
“With iPad, our efficiency has increased greatly,” says Nobutsuna Sasaki, who heads marketing for the Housing Promotion Division. “Laptops are heavy and take time to boot up. But an iPad powers up instantly, and the information is available right away.”
Sales reps use in‑house, web‑based iPad apps like D‑Browser to display color simulations of interiors, present customized mortgage calculations, and document customer needs through detailed surveys. Another in‑house app, D‑iNet, lets remote staff connect securely with corporate systems for approvals, scheduling, and other office functions.
The sales reps also rely on SYNCNEL, a third‑party file‑sharing service on iPad that allows them to organize and share product details, sales pitches, and other customer‑facing information.
“Having all this stored on iPad makes everything convenient,” Sasaki says. “First impressions are important, and iPad makes us look well‑tuned and efficient. Customers are impressed by a salesperson who is using an innovative device — they associate this with providing an innovative house.”
At Daiwa House Industry, iPad has become as essential on the factory floor as in sales meetings. In the company’s prefabricated housing factories, iPad offers simpler, more reliable methods for tracking parts and changes to product plans.
“We have tens of thousands of products, each with its own technical drawing,” Wada explains. “They all had to be printed, filed, and stored. Typically, these drawings would be revised once a month. So old versions could get manufactured by mistake, leading to production delays.”
To ensure that current specifications are met, Daiwa House Industry now assigns barcodes to each product. Using an iPad equipped with a Bluetooth reader, manufacturing staff simply scan the product code from an instruction sheet to call up the correct drawing in the company’s PLEMIA search system. These drawings are stored as CAD files that can be viewed with the TurboViewer Pro app, available in the App Store.
“We can see detailed information, enlarge fine print, or shrink the entire drawing,” Wada says. “By using iPad, our work is much more accurate. It has helped cut costs related to mistakes and reworks. We have also been successful at reducing our delivery lead time.”
Kyoji Kato, Executive Officer, General Manager, Information System Division, Daiwa House Industry
iPad also benefits the company in less visible ways. With built-in security features such as passcode protection and Remote Wipe, iPad keeps sensitive corporate assets confidential. “iOS is an extremely secure operating system, and this gives us peace of mind,” Kato says. “Maintaining security is crucial, so iOS has a competitive advantage.”
Given the indispensable role the device now plays in the company’s operations, it’s no surprise that iPad is the only approved option in Daiwa House Industry’s planned bring‑your‑own‑device (BYOD) program. “Security on iPad is really good,” says Kato, “and we like how easy it is to set up and use. That’s why we chose iPad.”
From sales to manufacturing, iPad enables Daiwa House Industry to make its operations more productive and responsive to customer needs. “If our iPads were taken away, our jobs would become very difficult,” Wada notes. “iPad allows us to change our work style so we can use our time more effectively. It’s completely part of our business model now.”
With these quality and efficiency improvements, iPad helps the company deliver the most valuable asset of all: a sense of trust.
“When the Japanese people purchase a house, the trust they place in the salesperson is an extremely important factor,” Sasaki says. “iPad is very useful as a tool to gain the trust of customers, provide them with detailed information, and guide them to the perfect house.”
- D‑Browser displays simulations of model interiors, calculates mortgage payments, and captures customer needs via surveys.
- D‑iNet securely connects remote staff with corporate intranet systems for scheduling, reporting, expenses, and approvals.
- SYNCNEL for iOS lets sales reps organize and share files such as product information and customer sales pitches.
- PLEMIA enables manufacturing staff to log, search, and view internal technical drawings on iPad.
- TurboViewer Pro imports and displays detailed 2D and 3D drawings and CAD files on an iOS device, increasing manufacturing speed and accuracy.
- D‑HEMS allows Smart‑house homeowners to monitor energy expenditures, remotely control systems such as air conditioning, and see backup battery status.
- View all consumer apps from Daiwa House