Message from Top Management
My Mission as President
My name is Kiyotaka Ise, and I was appointed president of Aisin Seiki in June 2018. It is a momentous occasion for me to be charged with such a major role, and I aim to work to the very best of my abilities in order to answer to and exceed the expectations of our stakeholders.
So far in my career, I have worked at Toyota Motor Corporation, where I was mainly involved in technology development, before moving on later to various positions of responsibility for Lexus and for the Advanced Technology Development Division. In particular, during my time as general manager of the Lexus Development Center, although sales had slumped greatly due to the impact of the financial crisis triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, I was able to experience the dynamism of transformation when corporate officers and employees all came together with a shared sense of crisis to break through and overcome this difficult situation.
I believe that my mission as president is to help us ride out the waves of the so-called once-in-acentury transformational period that is currently upon the automotive industry, and to build a foundation for our company that will enable us to grow for the next 50 to 100 years. In order to achieve this, I would like to make effective use of my experience thus far in advancing structural reforms across the entire AISIN Group.
The Current State of the Automotive Industry and the AISIN Group:
A Once-in-a-Century Transformational Period
Currently, the automotive industry is said to be in the midst of a once-in-a-century transformational period. The shift toward electrification (i.e., electric vehicles) is progressing at a rapid pace against the backdrop of increasingly tough regulations on fuel economy and exhaust gas emissions in various countries around the world. So is automated driving, boosted by technological advances in areas such as computing, image processing and artificial intelligence. Moreover, competition is also intensifying due to the entry of a steady stream of companies from other industries into the automotive industry. The waves of technological innovation have even begun to influence the values of the general public, and a shift in awareness is beginning to take place, with cars being regarded less as things to be “owned” but rather “used.”
Amid these changes, AISIN Group is enjoying a growth in demand for mainstay products, such as automatic transmissions (AT), and is displaying a strong business performance. However, during this major transformational period, steadily increasing business results are not something that can be expected to continue in the long term, and with the progressive shift toward powertrain electrification, there is a risk that demand for AT may disappear altogether. We cannot hope to survive unless we advance the development of technologies for the future at a speedy pace. Additionally, if we examine AISIN Group’s current revenue structure, we can see that our earning power is still weak in comparison with other mega suppliers, and we need to direct significant business resources to maximize our competitive advantage and earning potential.
Our environment is changing greatly. We, too, must take advantage of our current situation with our strong business performance to adapt to these changes, to change ourselves and to build a foundation for sustainable growth.
Formulating a Management Policy for Sharing a Sense of Crisis
It is important that we don’t become content with our current situation and strong performance because we must continually maintain a sense of urgency as we look to the future. We must also be able to adapt to the changes taking place in the automotive industry. It is also crucial for all of us—not only certain members of top-level management but all employees including top management—to share this sense of crisis, and the strong sentiment that we must change. We have incorporated these kinds of ideas into the Group Management Policy that we formulated in March 2018.
Below, I will introduce the three Action Guidelines that I conveyed to all employees in the Group Management Policy.
Action Guideline 1: Independent and Speedy
We must not adopt a passive attitude and simply wait for things to happen. We cannot survive among our rivals and competitors unless we work actively ourselves. The keyword here is “we.” As employees, I want us to think and act for ourselves, and to increase the speed with which we do so.
Action Guideline 2: Scrap and Build (Workwise, Nothing is Sacred)
Starting something new requires new resources which are often limited. Sometimes starting a new business means that we must carefully evaluate our existing businesses. Even if a business has contributed to the advancement of AISIN Group in the past, if it begins to lose competitiveness with the flow of the times, and further market growth cannot be anticipated, then we must be prepared to scrap that business with good grace, and to shift those resources into new business operations. I want to implement a scrap and build policy that fits with our organizational structure, with we as corporate officers evaluating and eliminating certain business operations and products, allowing employees to abandon wasteful meetings and the preparation of needless documentation and materials, and allowing all of us to concentrate on the work at hand.
Action Guideline 3: Break Down Walls
Unless we break down the barriers between our various departments and Group companies, and work together within the Group, we cannot hope to enhance the competitiveness of our products, or to improve productivity as a group. The policy that AISIN Group has implemented is advantageous in that it offers good maneuverability and enables speedy decision making, and it has supported the growth and advancement of the Group for a long time. But on the reverse side, it is also a fact that this policy has resulted in a lack of collaboration within the Group, and overlapping of management departments. Our Virtual Company (VC) System, which we launched in April 2017, is one mechanism for resolving these kinds of issues. Moving forward, it will be necessary for us to further energize our efforts toward breaking down barriers such as these.
For more details regarding the Virtual Company System, please refer to Business Report for Fiscal 2018.