Accelerate real estate investment development with unparalleled speed in information gathering

Sumitomo Corporation

Celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2019, Sumitomo Corporation is one of Japan's leading general trading companies. Their real estate business is one of the top-class assets held by Japanese trading companies, and they have developed a wide range of businesses from office buildings and condominiums to commercial facilities, logistics warehouses, and real estate fund management. Sumitomo Corporation continues to create new value for real estate on a global scale, taking advantage of the Group's integrated know-how from property development to management, and synergies created through collaboration with other business divisions.

General Manager, Logistics Facilities Business Dept.
Leader of Strategic Business Investment Team, Living Materials & Real Estate Division

Mr. Akito Nakamoto


Real Estate Investment & Development Division
Planning and Development Team 1, Strategic Business Investment Team, General Manager

Mr. Taku Goto


In the real estate business, where information is the key to business success, REMETIS is driving innovation. We interviewed two forefront leaders of Sumitomo Corporation's real estate business who spoke about the power and potential of REMETIS that they and their teams have experienced.


・It takes an enormous amount of time to collect land and related information.
・It's difficult to keep up with the organization of a huge number of property summaries.


・Improvement of business operations by increasing the speed of information collection
・Smooth information sharing by building a database of properties
・Improvement of meeting efficiency and discussion quality
・Improvement of the foundation for new business creation through data visualization

Please tell us about Sumitomo Corporation's real estate business and the characteristics of the division to which you two belong.


Although our company is recognized by many as a general trading company, it is less well known that we were established as a company to create the Osaka North Port area and develop adjacent areas. Assets owned by the real estate business as a whole total approximately 600 billion yen in Japan and overseas. We believe that our enormous assets, which are by far the largest among trading companies, are the result of the spirit of manufacturing as a "real estate business" that we have inherited over the 100 years since our founding. The Logistics Facilities Business Department, of which I am a member, is engaged in the total logistics business, utilizing know-how cultivated over many years, from land acquisition and development, tenant attraction, to the sale of private REIT and listed REIT.


The Real Estate Investment Development Division engages in the development of income-generating properties such as commercial facilities and hotels. We acquire 5 to 6 properties annually, in conjunction with the logistics facility division. Naturally, selecting investment opportunities involves scrutinizing hundreds of properties. Based on information gathered by the team, discussions are thoroughly conducted in collaboration with experts, ultimately leading to the confirmation of the final investment properties.

What were some of the business challenges you faced prior to implementing REMETIS?


There were 2 main challenges. The first was that it took a long time to gather information. In order to narrow down investment projects, project meetings are held on a weekly basis. The person in charge gathers information on the land through on-site surveys and the Internet, analyzes its potential, and considers whether it is feasible to commercialize the project before making a proposal to the meeting. Gathering this information took an enormous amount of time and placed a heavy burden on the person in charge of the project.


Moreover, when sharing the information we painstakingly gathered at project meetings, we sometimes handwrote it on a map called a "blue map". We would make a map by neatly copying and cutting and pasting a residential map, and when a condominium site was identified, for example, we would color in the area and write in the past transaction prices, cap rates, and posted land prices of surrounding condominiums, one by one. It was very frustrating to spend so much time on these tasks, which were not the essence of the project.


The second issue is that we couldn't fully organize the huge number of properties. We receive more than a dozen property summary reports in PDF format per week from brokers. It would've be great if we could have input all of those files into a PC and created a database, but we were so busy gathering information that we could hardly find the time to do so. In such an environment, there were many cases where potential properties were left unnoticed for several years because the information was not organized.

REMETIS makes it easy to register a PDF property description by simply dragging and dropping it

Why did you decide to implement REMETIS to solve this problem?


First of all, in response to the need to reduce the time required to gather diverse information, REMETIS was attractive in that it covered all the information necessary for acquiring and purchasing income-producing real estate. The information we wanted was centralized and easy to search, so we felt a strong response that we could dramatically reduce the time and effort required to gather information. To address the issue of organizing a large number of properties, we were attracted to the fact that we can easily register PDF property summaries by simply dragging and dropping them. Even after registration, we thought we could build a long-awaited database of properties because it is easy to search for and view the information we want to see quickly.

How has the use of REMETIS changed your business?


I feel that the time spent searching for properties and retrieving information has been cut in half. As a result, the time I used to spend collecting data can now be used for discussions and other things.


The time saved by using REMETIS has allowed us to allocate more time to creative work. Currently, Goto and I are working as members of a strategic business investment team that creates new businesses across the real estate unit in parallel with our development work, and REMETIS allows us to allocate even more time to this work.


It cannot be overlooked that not only information gathering but also sharing has become easier, making project meetings smarter and improving their quality. All the materials that used to be presented in different ways, such as on PC or paper, can now be visualized by opening REMETIS on a PC. In addition, a huge number of properties have been organized into a database, which can be referenced quickly and with a map, even during meetings. As a result, even when discussing a single piece of land, it is now possible to have in-depth discussions from multiple perspectives based on the property information visualized in REMETIS, such as focusing on the amount of traffic in front of the property, or considering demographic trends and transaction cases.


Data visualization has also produced additional by-products. Even newcomers and those who have just transferred to a new company can now quickly catch up on ongoing work. When discussions become lively, directive words such as "that property over there" are often used, but inexperienced people are not confused, and communication has become much smoother.

Sumitomo Corporation is actively promoting the use of information through digital transformation (DX). What are your expectations for REMETIS in the future?


In the real estate business, where information sharing and data utilization are extremely important, the realization of DX is a key theme for expanding competitiveness in the future. However, Sumitomo Corporation, which has announced that it will be a pioneer among trading companies in promoting DX, has been lagging behind in the DX implementation in its real estate division. We are looking forward to REMETIS becoming the axis of our DX transformation.


As we have mentioned, we are very satisfied with the functionality and usability of REMETIS and intend to make full use of it in the future. If I had a request, I would be happy if you could help us fill in the gaps between the information that developers have and the information that operators have, since there are shades of gray in different areas. If REMETIS can visualize to some extent the information that has been strong on the operator side, such as area population and estimated sales scale, we believe it will enable us to select and negotiate properties with a higher degree of certainty.