I originally joined Hansem in late 2013. One of my first memories of the company was attending the year-end party with all the staff at a banquet hall. Many of the people I met there are still at the company to this day, which I think says a lot about the company, but Hansem has evolved a lot since then. I recently wrote a blog article about my experience at Hansem as a foreigner, so I wanted to write about the company from a broader perspective this time.
For the CEO to start this company with just two people in 1990 and ultimately acquire contracts from companies like Samsung, Canon, and Alibaba is simply astonishing. Several strategies have allowed Hansem to see the level of success it currently enjoys, but the company’s greatest asset has always been its willingness to watch trends and look to the future to stay ahead of the curve.
One of the reasons our company has done so well over the last 30 years is because of our ability to adapt to the changing market. When the company started, paper manuals were still a big thing and Hansem was built around that concept. If you are like me, you remember growing up without the Internet and having a stack of manuals hiding away somewhere in your room. With the advent of smartphones and other mobile devices, the way we access information has changed dramatically. Hansem’s ability to change their business model to account for these technological shifts contributed greatly to our success.
Keeping up with the changing needs of clients and consumers involves innovation, and Hansem has led innovation in the manual development industry. As the need for paper manuals has decreased, Hansem has seized the opportunity to develop digital user manuals. Companies like this option because it decreases costs and makes it easy to update, revise, and even re-use content for other products they release. The company has also expanded its range of services to include interactive apps, training videos, and marketing campaigns.
Hansem has also grown to be about more than just manuals. With the success our manuals created, we also began moving more toward localization to focus not just on translation, but also on appealing to clients’ target audiences. One of the things we now help clients with is sales guides and training videos. These tools help companies deliver their standards to their entire network of employees, making sure that everyone at the company is delivering the same message to customers.
Aside from changing our business to meet the market’s demands, Hansem has also channeled its efforts into improving its qualifications in order to become a TC and language industry leader not just in Korea, but also in all of Asia. In 2014, we were the first company in Asia to acquire ISO 17100 certification for translation services, and we are the only manual developer in Asia that has acquired ISO 9001 certification for quality management systems in the field of manual development. We also acquired other ISO certifications for information security management (ISO 27001) and certification for machine translation post-editing (ISO 18587), an emerging sector of the localization industry. This dedication to making sure our employees are knowledgeable about the latest standards is truly what sets us apart not just from other companies in Korea but throughout the industry.
Lastly, I think expanding Hansem’s global presence has helped the company secure continued success while maintaining relevance. We first opened offices in China, which allowed us to work more closely with the booming Chinese tech industry. Shortly after, we launched an office in Vietnam to focus on translation. With many companies seeking other manufacturing centers in the wake of COVID-19, Vietnam is on the cusp of becoming one of Asia’s largest manufacturing powerhouses. We also launched a sales office in America to be in the same time zone as our American clients. This has made it easier for us to have face-to-face meetings with potential clients, attend more events, and build better relationships with existing clients.
It is hard to say what the future holds for Hansem. We can see how the world has been turned upside down by technology over the last 30 years. We went from having cassette tapes to digitally streaming music on the cloud. It used to be necessary to reference physical books for information; now, everything we know about the universe can be accessed from a device that fits in your pocket. Certainly, the next 30 years will also see similar leaps and make our current technology seem equally antiquated. It is not possible to understand what the world of the next 30 years will look like, but I believe in Hansem’s ability to adapt to change as it has done in the past. On behalf of everyone at Hansem, I hope that we can help each other navigate whatever lies ahead.