Message from Top Management
Driving a Large-Scale Shift of Resources into Growth Domains
Moving on, I will explain my thinking with regard to the direction of our future business operations.
Refining Our Future Technological Capabilities Centered around “Electrification”
Utilizing the technologies that we have accumulated, we will work to further accelerate our product development efforts in the growth areas of electrification, automated driving and connected cars. Electrification, in particular, is the area which AISIN Group should fully focus its energies as a business that will support the Group in the medium to long term.
Currently, AISIN Group is engaged in transactions with automotive manufacturers all around the world as the world’s top manufacturer of AT, and further demand is anticipated for the time being. In the future, however, the toughening of regulations on fuel economy and exhaust gas emissions in various countries worldwide will cause a shift away from gasoline-fueled cars and an increase in market shares for electric vehicles (EV) and hybrid vehicles, and it is easy to envisage a decrease in demand for AT as a consequence of this.
For this reason, we are driving the development of technologies such as hybrid transmissions and eAxle (electric-powered drive unit for EV) to support powertrain electrification. In particular, we have dedicated Group resources into the development of motors, inverters and other key electrification technologies. Moving forward, it will be necessary to further expedite the development of these technologies.
We also have various other electric-powered products such as cooperative regenerative brake systems and electric-assisted parking brakes being developed by our Chassis & Vehicle Safety System business and power sliding doors and sunroofs being developed by our Body product business, and further market growth is expected in the future. I would like us to bolster these development efforts and build a solid position for ourselves in the electrification market. In order to accelerate our development efforts, however, I know that we cannot do everything ourselves. We will seek to enhance our business operations with an emphasis on speed, while collaborating with outside partners.
Promoting Scrap and Build with a View to Enhancing Our Competitiveness
In order to achieve sustainable growth for the company, it is necessary to improve the competitiveness of our existing businesses. However, in the midst of intense competition with rivals over development it is difficult to enhance all of our existing business operations equally, and it will therefore be more necessary than ever before to take a scrap and build approach to our businesses. Looking ahead, we will use market growth potential and AISIN Group’s competitiveness as yardsticks to properly determine which businesses and products we should augment and those from which we should withdraw, in some cases making the bold move of scrapping some businesses and products where necessary.
Recently, we have made the decision to begin production of AT at Aisin AI, which was dedicated to the manufacture of manual transmissions (MT). In recent years, the widespread popularization of AT is progressing not only in developed countries but also in newly developed countries, and MT production is declining globally. Because of this, we have decided to reduce the scale of our MT production capabilities in line with the decrease in market demand, and shift those resources into our AT production operations.
Efforts to Increase Productivity
To increase the competitiveness of our products, it is essential for us to increase productivity in the manufacturing workplace.
AISIN Group manufactures the same products at numerous locations around the world. By sharing information and wisdom among fellow employees manufacturing those products, I believe that we can increase productivity in a short period of time. Additionally, we will carry out work style reforms such as the review and overhaul of existing work duties and operations, including the utilization of AI, IoT, RPA* and other digitalization technologies, and the introduction of more flexible working systems. By creating an environment in which employees can work with greater motivation, I believe that this will also lead to further improvements in productivity and achieve a richer work-life balance.
* RPA (Robotic Process Automation): A general term for various initiatives and software robots aimed at automating and streamlining work processes to improve efficiency made possible through the use of rule engines, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other high-performance cognitive technologies
Promoting ESG Management with a View to Achieving Harmony with Society
In recent years, attention is gathering around Environment, society and Governance (ESG) management. AISIN Group is advancing management policies with an awareness of ESG as well. For example, with regard to corporate governance, we have appointed a diverse group of men and women to serve as external directors. These external directors engage in vigorous debates together with the other members of our Board of Directors from a diverse range of perspectives.
In terms of environmental aspects, we are working to develop products that contribute to reducing CO2 emissions, and introducing innovations such as equipment aimed at achieving zero CO2 emissions at our factories, raising the target of zero emissions of CO2 across our entire product lifecycle by 2050.
Moving forward, we will seek to further enhance our efforts from the perspective of resolving social issues through our business operations, and making a conscious contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Sharing a Sense of Crisis throughout the Entire Group and Accelerating Our Transformation
I believe that we can only implement structural reforms if all of AISIN Group’s 110,000 employees share the same sense of crisis and take positive and swift action. The important thing is to affect a change in thinking, and change according to the times, rather than following the common sense and conventional rules that have guided us until now. Looking ahead, we will continue to further accelerate our transformation in order to survive the next 100 years and beyond.
Moving forward, I want the entire Group to come together as one team and work hard to achieve our goals. I hope that all of our stakeholders will continue to expect great things from us in the future.